N o . 11
THE MAGIC IS IN YOU
hot nude firefighters
an adventful calendar
the booger the better
12-11-23 10:44 PM
46 issue N o . 11
CAPILANO Courier TABLE OF contents news
The Staff 4
of this stupendous university newspaper
Invisible magic cloaks
8 JJ Brewis Editor-in-Chief
Giles' dad is magic
Giles Roy Managing Editor
Samantha Thompson Copy Editor
Charlie Black's magic
Cirque du Soleil brings magic to Vancouver
Lindsay Howe News Editor
Natalie Corbo Features Editor
Celina Kurz Arts Editor
50ish days of magic
Leah Scheitel Opinions Editor
Scott Moraes Caboose Editor
Ricky Bao Business Manager
The magic of boogers
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Draco's magical serpent Katie So Art Director
Connor Thorpe Staff Writer
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Stefan Tosheff Production Manager
The Capilano Courier is an autonomous, democratically run student newspaper. Literary and visual submissions are welcomed. All submissions are subject to editing for brevity, taste, and legality. The Capilano Courier will not publish material deemed by the collective to exhibit sexism, racism or homophobia. The views expressed by the contributing writers are not necessarily those of the Capilano Courier Publishing Society.
Shannon Elliott Web Editor
Colin Spensley Distribution Manager
Leanne Kriz Ads & Events Manager
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× Letter from the editor ×
THE MAGIC NEVER STOPS Shannon Elliott Aparently one time Shannon broke a dude’s boner. Pretty badass right? Shannonelliott.com
Miles Chic does “as little as humanly possible” in his downtime. Fair enough, as he’s a pretty busy guy most of the time, working at a “small design firm with some people from the IDEA program. We sit in a room and talk, design and fart all day.” An IDEA graduate, Miles also does his share of graphic and illustrative freelance work as well as moonlighting as the drummer for Vancouver “emo grind indie math pop” group, Yes Bear. “I’m really proud of the new EP that’s coming out soon,” he says. Miles is a fan of podcasts, Vietnamese subs, and the TV show Justified. “It makes me want to eat BBQ and arrest small-time drug dealers,” he says. But Miles, are you qualified? “Yesterday, I dropped my cell phone into a toilet I had just peed into.” See more of Miles’ artistic work at Mileschic.com.
THE VOICE BOX
Featuring: giles Roy
The Voicebox gives you the chance to have your opinion heard, no matter how irrelevant or uninformed. Just send a text message to (778) 235-7835 to anonymously “voice” your “thoughts” on any “subject.” Then, as long as it’s not too offensive, we’ll publish it when we return in January! It’s a win-win-win, unless you’re a loser.
halls and looked around, and it is really nice. I see people laughing on the way to their next class, and I wonder where they’re going, where their education is taking them, and how hard their work is. Yes.” Aw, thanks. “Ay bitch where is that maze on the back of the paper, I’ve been practicing for two weeks now.”
Yes, you are, but so is everyone else on the planet. I’ve never seen anyone actually indulge these people.
Wow, “ay bitch?” Sorry, we forgot. Here’s a maze: –_\|–|___/\/\/\-|–__. Good luck!
“The article with No Doubt being racist douchebags was interesting. But Stefani dating a POC is definitely an example of ‘I can’t be racist, I have a black friend’ bullshitery.”
“I hate when you take a big poop and then suddenly you’re hungry.”
“I would like to say that I really enjoy reading the Capilano Courier. Whenever I do, it gives me the feeling that everyone that goes to Cap is part of one big, happy, silly, educated family, and it makes me wish I could have made it there. Even in high school, I had a hard time spelling, and I’m no good at math, and I’m always embarrassed to sign up for any kind of program. I have walked the
I’d like to take this opportunity to once again remind our readers again that they are, in fact, paying for the Capilano Courier. When you pay the school at the beginning of each term, there is an included “Student Newspaper Fee,” which is almost four dollars per course. If you’re uncomfortable with where your money’s going, the best way to remedy that is by contributing to the Courier itself - we remain one of the few student newspapers in the province that pays its writers. Our first story meeting of 2013 will be at noon on Jan. 15, in our office, Maple 122.
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No mercy! Nevertheless, maybe we should stop being so concerned with precisely how racist the band is and just write them off as embarrassingly sketchy idiots. Done.
“I hate those charity collectors that harass you on the sidewalk. Just ran into two of them. Am I a bad person because of this? They fucking suck.”
Welcome to the Courier’s magic issue. I must admit, I had a hard time deciding what to write about for an editorial that ties into the theme. Not because of the lack of magic in the world, more because it was hard to pin down exactly how I feel about magic. I am essentially an adult child. I love Christmas, Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, and a plethora of things items that could all be associated with youth. But like many of my interests, the common denominator associated with these cultural cornerstones is magic. And while we may not be bringing brooms to life or dueling with nose-less warlocks, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t believe in magic in one form of another. But I’m going to tell you a different type of magic story today. Not one about wizards or wands, but about the magic that exists within all of us. A few weeks ago, I was heading downtown to see a concert on a Saturday night. I might have had a little too much to drink, but I have lived in Vancouver for 10 years, long enough to feel a little too safe here, probably. I took the SkyTrain to Stadium, and walked to the Media Club through the same parking lot I walk in three or four times a week when I’m headed to work. “Fucking faggot,” I heard as two men walked past me. Without hesitation, I turned around and said, “Excuse me?” before continuing my trek. I’m a bit of a loud mouth in my adulthood, no longer the meek sitin-the-corner-and-let-you-call-me-gay-slurs person of years past. In my younger years, I would have carried on with my journey, but in my adult life I’ve become the guy who tells racist people on the bus to shut their mouth, or asks people sitting next to me in class if they would kindly not misuse the words “gay,” “retarded,” etc. It’s just this lil’ thing called human rights. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. So I called them out for their stupid word choice. And then it hit me, quite literally. A swift fist slammed into the back of my head before I even had a chance to react. My phone fell to the ground and shattered. I fell, too, and was soon covered in a barrage of kicks, and coated in a marinade of spit and beer. While the physical pain was brutal, it was more the shock and bitter realization that hit me before I’d even picked myself up off the ground. Hate crimes have declined in recent years, according to Statistics Canada. But stats are only including the cases where people report what happened to them (obviously). And while I did ultimately decide not to pursue this case with the police (I never saw the attackers’ faces, I was intoxicated and don’t remember much physical evidence), it may be worth mentioning something now, given that the stats are based on the number of cases that have been reported. I know exactly what all of you are thinking: “What in the hell does this have to do with magic?” Well, it’s likely these men didn’t even realize that I’m actually gay,
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Katherine Gillard may be one of the Courier’s busiest contributors, partially attributed to a unique passion. “I like writing essays,” she laughs. “Reading and writing essays make me pretty happy.” A fan of Prince and shows like Dexter and Girls, Katherine is also a frequent concert-goer who spends her spare time knitting and collecting silver jewelry. “I will spend money on it even though I’m a broke student.” Katherine also works as a barista, and majors in English here at Capilano, with plans to become an English teacher. Katherine volunteers for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian Cancer Society. “I’m really proud because I think that it’s important to support organizations that might one day be able to help me or a loved one,” she says. In the meantime, Katherine, a self-proclaimed English nerd, will spend her time traveling. “I love art and travel. Paris and Barcelona are probably the best places I’ve been to because of their art.“ Follow Katherine on Twitter @KatGillard.
and were just walking around using random slurs, looking for trouble and violence. But regardless of their intent or the outcome, I’m proud of sticking up for myself. In calling them out for their vocal slur, I essentially performed the Muggle equivalent of deflecting a Cruciatus Curse. I used my vocal wand to tell them that it wasn’t fucking cool to say that to me. And while I might have broken a phone and ripped my jeans and got a scrape on my knee (shockingly the only lasting physical damage), I still feel like I did the right thing. I used the magic inside of me to stand up for myself. The beat up 16-year-old version of me with the thorns stuck in his face is proud. What’s not important to me is this event happening. While it has certainly rearranged my thoughts and decision-making over the last couple of weeks, it’s been more the aftermath that has stuck with me. Slowly I’ve told people in my social circle about the occurrence of events. It’s somehow harder to tell people than I imagined. While I’m definitely not embarrassed, I can’t help but feel defeated and a bit careless in my own behaviour. My way of dealing with the fact that my dad passed away when I was 16 is something I often laugh off. I deal with pain differently than most people, usually with humour. After this event, I tweeted “#babysfirstgaybashing,” not realizing my mom reads my Twitter account. When she questioned me about it, I still didn’t really want to talk about it. I understand there is absolutely nothing funny about what happened to me. And Mom, I’m sorry that that’s how you had to find out. As awful as that was to go through, it’s the moments like these that really show you how wonderful the world, as a whole, is. I could easily focus on the event of that unfortunate Saturday night, but I’m choosing to stick with the fact that every single important person in my life has responded to these events with an immeasurable amount of care and support. All of the friends I’ve told the story to have endlessly checked up with me, ensuring that I am, in fact, okay. (I am guys, I’ve got a bottomless supply of Mandarin oranges and three weeks’ worth of The Voice to catch up on.) For this week’s issue, I interviewed How to Dress Well’s Tom Krell. My interview with Tom was originally scheduled the day after this incident. In keeping up with my candor, I emailed the publicist and explained to him what had happened, asking to postpone the interview. When I did speak with Tom a few days later, he bookended the interview with heartfelt apologies. “People think Vancouver is so progressive,” he said. “I’m so sorry this happened to you. Take care of yourself.” People’s kindness really comes out in moments where you need it most. “I love you a lot, and I’m sorry you had to go through this,” one friend wrote. “I’m sorry I only say things like this when bad stuff happens, but I always care.” The world we live in is fucking magical. And like Hogwarts, or Disney World, or any of those other places where magic resides, the magic is within all of us. We just need to remember that it’s there.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” - Roald Dahl
× ON the Cover ×
By JJ Brewis
12-11-23 10:44 PM
News Editor ×
Lindsay Howe × n e w s @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
PASSING THROUGH THE BARRIER New study paves the way for real-life invisibility cloak Samantha Thompson The generation that grew up with Harry Potter spent their childhood dreaming of joining the young boy’s world. They’d join in anyway possible – letters from Hogwarts, trips to Diagon Alley, or lazy afternoons spent in Hagrid’s hut. But now, thanks to recent scientific developments, it looks like those dreams might become a reality. Professor David Smith and his colleague Nathan Landy, both from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, may have finally perfected a true “invisibility cloak.” “This to our knowledge is the first cloak that really addresses getting the transformation exactly right to get you that perfect invisibility,” Smith told BBC News. The project is built on research that was done in 2006, with Smith a part of the original team. The study, which also included John Pendry of Imperial College London and David Schurig, also of Duke University, laid out the theory of “transformation optics.” These optics use microwaves, because their wavelengths are longer than can be seen with the human eye. The biggest difference between the 2006 study and this one is the lack of reflection. The cloak would grant the wearer almost perfect invisibility, because someone looking right at the cloaked object would see the scene behind it, slightly darker than its surroundings. “In order to create the first cloaks, many approximations had to be made in order to fabricate the intricate meta-materials used in the device,” said Landy in a release. He is a graduate student working in the laboratory of Smith, who is the senior investigator of the research project. “One issue, which we were fully aware of, was loss of the waves due to reflections at the boundaries of the device,” Landy said. He explained that it was much like reflections seen on clear glass. The viewer can see through the glass just fine, but at the same time the viewer is aware the glass is present due to light reflected from the surface of the glass. “Since the goal was to demonstrate the basic principles of cloaking, we didn’t worry about these reflections.” Smith and Landy needed to make it so that the light would pass around the cloak without any sort of reflection. They found their answer in a diamond-shaped cloak, which effectively moves light around an object. Its biggest downfall, however, is that it only works from one direction – when viewed from a direction that isn’t in line with the cloak, the item is no longer invisible.
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× Copy Editor
×× dave mcansH
“It’s like the card people in Alice in Wonderland,” Smith explained to BBC News. “If they turn on their sides you can’t see them but they’re obviously visible if you look from the other direction.” While these developments are exciting for the world of science, access to invisibility cloaks have a significant impact on society, most notably in the world of warfare. The study was partially funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and the Army Research Office. Alamir Novin, a science-journalism researcher, says that the relationship between invisibility and military research is nothing new. “The topic of invisibility often broke into journalism in relation to military research. Just looking at the last centuries of journalism there was discourse of camouflaging military weapons such as torpedo-boats in the late 1800s to the Stealth bomber’s invisibility to radars around the 1980s and today’s drones,” he says. “With the discovery of the invisibility cloak, we’re seeing the characteristics of invisibility that we reserve for science-fiction now appear in journalism. Characteristics such as transparency to the naked eye are now written about.”
BATTLESHIPS The world of invisibility has been changing rapidly over the past month. Shortly after Landy released his research in Nature Materials, Reza Alam, an assistant professor at the University of California, said he believes the variation of density in ocean water can be used in another cloak of invisibility, this time used for floating objects like ships, to protect them from surface waves. While other attempts at invisibility use optic-based theory, Alam is interested in the cloaking of different waves. Stratified waves have internal waves that move between the two layers of water, but at a much slower speed than the external waves. The ocean floor impacts both, as they can “feel” it. This causes an energy transfer, and by using computer simulators, Alam can alter the wavelengths in front of the floating object so that that part of the ocean floor, as far as the surface wave is concerned, is no longer there. The surface wave will then become an internal wave, passing beneath the object, turning back into a surface wave on the other side. “Cloaking in seas by modifying the floor may play a role in protecting near-shore or offshore structures and in creating shelter for fishermen during storms,” said Alam in News Track India. “In reverse, it can cause the disappearance and reappearance of surface waves in areas where sandbars or any other appreciable bottom variations exist.”
This research could greatly benefit those working in the unforgivable climates of marine work, and there could be long-term impacts as a result of these possible obsessions with perfecting the art of invisibility.
WIZARD WARS It’s no secret that having access to invisibility would hugely benefit a country’s military. In 2007, the British military announced they had made a tank invisible with the assistance of silicon. There has also been a plethora of other studies where researchers have experimented with different methods of invisibility: cloaks using augmentedreality technology, techniques using similar lightbending technologies, and many others. Militaries, perhaps more so than any other body, have a particular interest in invisibility technology. According to How Stuff Works, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was given $15 million over three years to investigate urban obfuscants – through which soldiers would be given a shield in urban combat situations. Their hope is that the shield would open quickly, protect the soldier from enemy fire, turn the soldier invisible, and repair itself if a bullet somehow went through the cloak. However, Novin points out, the approach to invisibility has changed to expand beyond simply being used for military purposes. “The fact that the discourse is about a cloak and not an expensive military weapon has also shifted,” says Novin. “The discourse about the military use of invisibility may share newspaper space with the possible personal uses of invisibility.” There have been many developments as of late, but the journey isn’t over yet. Landy and Smith next plan to apply the principles they learned in the latest experiments to three dimensions – which will open up a much bigger world for the realm of invisibility, and the morals within. With greater advances in invisibility, there runs the risk of a new, super-weapon that could cause significant destruction in conflict. As the technology advances, the morality of invisibility will have to be established. “What’s interesting is that when we think of the moral responsibilities with invisibility, the topic originates back to Greek philosophy, with Plato’s Republic and the story on the Ring of Gyges,” says Novin. “Socrates discusses whether a person would be immoral to exploit the powers of invisibility or naive not to use it. As the invisible cloak is increasingly written about in journalism, it will be interesting to see whether the story continues to be referenced, or which side of the debate the discussion moves towards.”
What’s new with the CSU?
Lindsay Howe × News Editor The last meeting for the Board of Directors of the Capilano Students’ Union occurred on Nov. 21. There were many items discussed at the meeting. The Educational Issues Committee will be putting on an event for students before they enter exam time, that will teach students about their individual learning styles. The workshop hopes to assist students in realizing what their personal learning style is, and give students strategies to study better and more effectively. The event takes place in the CSU Library Lounge on Nov. 28 at 1 p.m., and food and snacks will be provided. Brittany Barnes, the Educational Issues Coordinator, and Alyssa Lalani, the Women’s Liaison, attended the Ashoka Changemakers presentation last week. The presentation touched on how vital communication is between students, instructors and different faculties at a school. Barnes and Lalani left the presentation being interested in co-hosting another open dialogue presentation between instructors and students. Capilano University’s president, Kris Bulcroft, was also present at the event. The event will be hosted in January, with the exact date to be announced, and is unique as the CSU and the University rarely host events together.
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UNDER PRESSURE Antidepressant use on the rise amongst students Connor Thorpe × Staff Writer As a cumulative result of the stresses faced by Canadian university students, the use of antidepressants to treat mental health conditions amongst that demographic is sharply on the rise. A CBC article documented the increase in students being prescribed antidepressants by using the University of Ottawa as an example. Antidepressants are the second most commonly prescribed medication to students at that institution – only slightly behind birth control pills, while eclipsing the number of prescriptions for behavioral disorders, acne and other skin conditions, and antibiotics, combined. Depression and other mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and dysthymic disorder, often first manifest themselves in childhood and adolescence – the age group that houses the first occurrences of 70 per cent of all mental illnesses. The causes of depression vary from individual to individual, but it is generally recognized that
genetics and stress levels play a part in the development of an initial depressive episode. Those who experience that first episode are more likely than not to experience subsequent episodes. Ann-Marie Roy, of the University of Ottawa’s student federation communications department, told CBC that financial concerns are the primary seed of the increase. “I think financial stress is a big reason for students relying on antidepressants a little bit more over the last few years. Students are working several part-time jobs while going to school and sometimes it’s not enough,” she said. “It’s evident that financial stress is the root cause of a lot of the stress students face.” As it has been well documented that periods of intense stress and turmoil carry a significant risk factor in the development of depression. University and the emotional toll it can take on students – combined with the average age for initial incidences – could be particularly conducive to the development of mental illness. Capilano University student Seth Watt agrees that the already fragile financial situation of many students is a large contributor in seeking out
medication for depression and anxiety. He says that the economic downturn of recent years has only worsened, and added to the stress already faced by students. “[The] economic climate forces more students to work more hours than they may have in previous decades, adding more work responsibilities to their already busy study schedule,” he says. “[And] for many students, the prospect of graduating with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt is a major source of anxiety.” In addition to the impact of the economy on the financial situations of students, tuition for Canadian universities has risen in recent decades. A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives suggests that tuition at Canadian universities has risen 6.2 per cent annually since 1990. According to Statistics Canada, the result is a heavier reliance on student loans in larger amounts. Between 1995 and 2005, the amount of graduating students with debt rose by eight per cent, while the average dollar amount of debt increased by $3600. “Although there is still some tendency in society at-large to see students as living an easy life, the pressures on students can be huge and deeply felt. The need for higher education and more credentials has increased significantly and keeps going up,” says Daniel Frankel, a counsellor at Capilano University. “To make it even more complex, it’s not just these realities, but students’ perceptions and fears about these realities – which may blow them up to terrifying proportions – that cause stress. There are so many other common sources of students stress it’s impossible to cite them all – isolation among students living away from their families for the first time, or who’ve moved from small towns to the big city, or who’ve come here from another country to study. Financial pressures, relationships and sexuality, substance use issues, career indecision…the list goes on.” Frankel explains that the “depression” and “anxiety” are umbrella terms that can encompass a myriad of situations that are
specific to the individual. “My colleagues and I still see many students who, despite knowing intellectually that these are common psychological challenges and it’s okay to get help, frequently battle with feelings of being ‘weak’, ‘sick’ or ‘weird,’” he continues. “‘Depression’ and ‘anxiety’ (or more often, ‘anxiety disorder’) have become catch-all labels to categorize a wide and diverse range of experiences…in-depth exploration often reveals a reality far more complex than the labels.” Watt feels that the casual attitude towards prescribing medication for mental health issues is damaging to the way the diseases are perceived, leading to an increased, rather than decreased, stigmatization of mental health disorders. “Health care providers are much more lenient when it comes to prescribing medication for symptoms of depression or anxiety that, in previous decades, would be treated through counselling or behavior therapy,” Watt explains. “Patients who do not have a clinical diagnosis, but exhibit symptoms of depression or anxiety due to various circumstances in their lives, being put on pharmaceuticals undermines the disease and leads people to view clinical depression or anxiety as a result of weak will or lack of motivation.” Access to mental health resources can be part of the issue. A report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health delineates the substandard access to mental health resources in Canada, explaining that only one-third of those who require mental health resources will be able to access them, and that despite mental health illnesses accounting for 15 per cent of disease in the country, only 5.5 per cent of health care funds are allocated to them. Watt notes that there is difficulty in finding help in an off-campus setting. “In general, I find you have to do some leg work to find good, affordable – or free – counselling.”
×× peter pawlowskI
OH, CHRISTMAS TREE annual festival gears up for another year of fighting homelessness Katherine Gillard
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For more information about the Dundarave Festival of Lights visit Dundaravefestival.com.
All nights of the event help raise money, although the trees are the largest part of the donations. The night of tree decorating is fun for all attendees because of the beautiful lights and entertainment available. The trees light up like a magical forest, surrounding children and adults alike, and building a sense of community while also supporting a good cause. This year is West Vancouver’s centennial, making the event even more exciting for tree decorators. When asked who purchases the trees, Markwick explains, “Businesses extending greeting out to the community, families honouring loved ones, [and] the faculty of Communications at Capilano has a tree.” The price of a tree has decreased since previous years and purchasers receive a tax receipt. The North Shore Shelter appreciates the help received from the Dundarave Festival of Lights, Newberry comments, “We are grateful for raising awareness of an important issue, and making a concrete difference.”
The Dundarave Festival of Lights sets off this year on Dec. 1 with its annual Christmas tree decorating celebration. Anyone is able to sponsor a tree on Dundarave beach and decorate it as their own for $110, plus an optional $250 or better donation. The festival donates its profits to the North Shore Shelter to help end homelessness. Last year, the festival raised $30,351.50 through their donations from their concerts, trees and events. The festival holds four events over the month of December that includes free concerts, tree decorating and a bonfire. All events are family friendly and go from noon until dusk. The last Saturday, Dec. 22, begins at 2 p.m. for a bonfire on the beach. The event includes different types of music, dancers, and food all within the festival’s large tented version of a longhouse. All events are weather-ready and wheelchair accessible. One of the organizers of the event, Michael Markwick, comments, “I love seeing how accessible it is, people in wheelchairs, people you don’t see
cut two years ago by the government. They are being run entirely on community donations, and the festival has helped basically double their staff. Newberry added, “As of September this year, 11 people have successfully transitioned, which is more than in the previous years and we contribute that to second tendency support.” The shelter currently has 25 operation units in Vancouver that feature a kitchen and are created with hopes of helping set up jobs, and create a positive future for the people transitioning. The radical increase of help available is another reason why so many people choose to donate to the cause. The issue of homelessness is often overlooked on the North Shore but there are stories that prove the issue. Markwick explains, “They are staying in places hard to find. We hear stories about an 80-year-old woman sleeping on Ambleside Beach in the winter or the man suffocated to death by the trains in North Van from keeping his kerosene lamp at night.” There are people coming to the shelters that are both elderly and those in their 20s. Markwick mentions that although some of the younger people in the shelters have jobs, they are unable to pay for their own homes, making the transitional homes an ideal situation.
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out. People in almost hospital beds with IV drips come out.” The event is very community-themed, and also has two main objectives - being free and to present people with entertainment that show the season unlike they’ve seen it before. The festival features ancient forms of dance and traditions. Markwick experienced one of these ancient traditions last year when he was “beheaded” as part of a Morris tradition, saying “People enjoyed seeing me be beheaded. They used wooden swords, and told me to close my eyes so I wouldn’t get splinters in them. Kids love it.” Aside from beheadings, the show also features local artists such as Dogwood and Dahlia, David Newberry and other artists that are still to be announced. David Newberry, community liaison for the North Shore Shelter explains, “I go every year, it’s really impressive, they’ve shown how to end homelessness beautifully. It harnesses community power with fun. Thousands of people walk by every day, every year. There are touring performers and children’s choirs, it’s a magical setting.” The donations go towards hiring second tendency support for the shelter. The shelter’s operational funding for the transition homes was
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News Editor ×
Lindsay Howe × n e w s @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
SOMETHING FISHY ABOUT OMEGA-3 Natural food sources said to be superior to nutritional supplements Lindsay Howe × News Editor There once was a time when human beings were able to obtain the nutrients we needed the natural way, through healthful food sources like fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. But nowadays, living in a world of convenience, more and more people are turning towards nutritional supplements to obtain their recommended daily value of nutrients. From all-in-one multivitamins, to separate capsules that contain trace amounts of a particular vitamin or mineral, the supplement
and fortification market has taken off in the past few years, and (according to the CBC) is worth an estimated $25 billion globally. But with yet another study recently released that provocatively questions the benefits of the popular supplement omega-3 fatty acids, found in supplements like fish oil, more concern arises among what kind of benefits actually exist to those who religiously pop a pill in lieu of eating their leafy greens. Oily fish including trout, salmon and herring have long been thought to be some of the healthiest food choices a person could opt for, as these types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, or “good fats,” that are believed to have
×× peter pawlowskI
heart-protecting powers. However, a recent study from investigators in the United States that consisted of 1,516 patients awaiting cardiac surgery in the U.S., Italy and Argentina leaned towards the fortification of omega-3 fish oil not being as beneficial as eating the fish itself. The patients, half who were given a fish oil capsule that contained at least 846 milligrams of the so-called heart protector, and half who received a placebo containing olive oil both before and after their cardiac surgery, did not differ in their post-operative state, a result the researchers hoped would not be the case. The desired result the researchers were hoping for was for the patients who received the omega-3 fatty acid to be less likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that is common in the post-operative stage of patients who have undergone a certain type of cardiac surgery. According to the CBC, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard School of Public Health commented on the study in the journal of the American Medical Association that, “Our findings provide no evidence that short-term omega-3 [polyunsaturated fatty acids] supplementation provides clinically relevant antiarrhythmic effects in the acute setting of cardiac surgery.” As this is the latest study to question the benefits of fortification and supplements, queries are arising as to the health and safety of such products, and to whether or not supplements are ever the right choice. In an interview with CBC, Dr. Andreas Wielgosz, an Ottawa cardiologist explained, “It may be
something else that’s in the fish that’s providing the benefits, because fish have all sorts of minerals and other ingredients that are healthy. It may be that when you eat fish you eat less saturated foods. The exact answer isn’t known but what we can say is natural source is better than supplements.” The professional opinion surrounding nutritional supplements remains consistent when bringing the conversation to the West Coast. Dr. Karina Wickland, a naturopathic doctor and nutrition professor at the Boucher Insititute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminister, B.C., agrees with the idea that natural food sources are generally the best route to go, explaining, “For general nutrition it is better to get vitamins and minerals from food sources. You can get vitamin C from a pill, or you can get it from a berry, where it is combined with fibre and phytonutrients like flavonoids that have antioxidant properties of their own.” Wickland is quick to mention that although she does not endorse taking vitamins in lieu of obtaining nutrients through a diet of healthful foods, she believes there are definitely some circumstances where taking these supplements are crucial, saying, “Supplements absolutely have a role to play in cases where you are trying to get a therapeutic dose that is hard to get from food alone. A common example of this would be vitamin D – not a lot of great food sources [contain it] and our bodies cannot make vitamin D from the sun in the winter months, making supplementation important.”
The Proof is in the Federal Review Labour Federation challenges the temporary foreign workers program Christina Lamanes
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46 issue N o . 11
There’s a storm on the horizon for B.C.’s labour practices. This time there is concern surrounding unsavoury labour practices involving temporary foreign workers. Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in conjunction with Service Canada and the Canada Border Protection Agency, conducts the management and delivery of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which helps fill temporary job vacancies in the event that employers cannot find qualified Canadian workers. According to the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) website, “Every year, Canadian employers hire thousands of foreign workers to fill immediate skills and labour shortages. HRSDC and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) work to ensure that the employment of foreign workers supports economic growth and helps create more opportunities for all Canadians.” The federal government made the decision to process a review of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, more specifically, mining workers in northeast B.C. The B.C. Federation of Labour pushed for the review and is requesting that the federal government allow the review to be transparent and available for all Canadians to see. In an email from the B.C. Federation of Labour,
President Jim Sinclair said, “This program is not about immigration and nation building, but rather about exploiting workers who have almost no rights because they are temporary and can be sent home on a moment’s notice.” The B.C. Federation of Labour requested the review after a case involving HD Mining advertising jobs with the ability to speak Mandarin as a requirement. This eliminated over 300 applicants from Canada that did not have the proper “qualifications,” according to the mining company. Somewhat contrasting to this, HRSDC stated that, “Employers hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents from under-represented groups before applying to hire temporary foreign workers.” It was also revealed that it was costing miners from China approximately $12,000 to come mine in B.C. The issues for foreign workers, as previously stated by Sinclair, are that these workers have no rights and no sense of permanency or guarantee of being able to stay. The B.C. Federation of Labour argues that instead of creating more jobs, the Temporary Foreign Workers Program takes away jobs, but also leads to a decrease in wages. Some foreign workers are getting paid as much as 15 per cent less than that of Canadian employees. HRSDC however states that temporary foreign workers do have the same rights as Canadian workers, though there are variances between provinces and territories. This is due to the fact that only 10 per cent of occupations are federally regulated under the Can-
ada Labour Code, and the other 90 per cent is regulated provincially. Sinclair addresses the importance of immigration to the work force because of the impending turnover due to retirements and other circumstances. But in an emailed press release Sinclair says, “Let’s invest in real immigration programs that allow prospective citizens the same rights as all Canadian workers. It’s how we built Canada and how we should continue to build Canada.” The issue here is not only getting temporary foreign workers equal rights as Canadian workers, but also to continue to employ Canadian citizens to tackle the nation’s unemployment rate. There is however another issue that was raised in a Globe and Mail article that tells of both positive and negative outcomes of using foreign workers or “guest workers” as they were known in Germany after they were able to aid in rebuilding. In France, however, they ignited race riots because of the status and conditions of the “ghettoization” of foreign workers. Looking south to the U.S., there has been anger towards foreign workers, which has sparked numerous and ongoing battles over immigration and illegal citizens. The B.C. Federation of Labour’s goal of making the review of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program transparent is to expose the injustices of the program with the hopes of getting foreign workers equal rights as there local counterparts. Today there are approximately 70,000 temporary foreign workers in B.C., through the federal program.
×× Miles Chic
12-11-23 10:44 PM
work for the capilano courier story meetings every tuesday maple 122
capilanocourier.com come visit & we will dance and larp.
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46 issue N o . 11
12-11-23 10:44 PM
Columns Editor ×
JJ Brewis × E d i t o r @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
TALES OF THE TOXICALLY SINGLE FINDING FAIRIES IN MOUSTACHES
×× Kira campbelL
Andy Charles has a moustache that even Tom Selleck would envy. It just sits there on his upper lip, silently mocking any other attempts at facial hair. It’s thick and bushy enough that a fairy village could populate in it. Ask any of my friends – they’ll tell you that I love guys with moustaches. Little did he know that I grew up continually searching for fairy villages. Andy has a lot of things going for him: charm, confidence and hair. He has the right amount of body hair for a man, and it’s beautiful – brown, bushy ringlets tuck perfectly behind his ears. He’s the kind of guy a mother would hate until his charm turns her into mush. He likes women – almost as much as I like men. But the difference between us is that girls like him back. As he leaves a battlefield of broken hearts behind him, I leave a trail of slight regret and a vodka stench.
I met him around a bonfire in the early hours of a summer’s morning. As the night’s party dwindled, we were two of the last people up around the fire, watching the sunrise. As I was sitting quietly watching sparks shoot out from the coals, he looked down at me, and stroked my hair. “You’re the new girl,” he said, “You have very pretty eyes.” “Why, thank you,” I said, trying not to gush, “And that is one monster moustache you have. Are there fairies growing in there?” He laughed, and then I gushed. I adore anyone that laughs at my jokes. I went to bed alone that night. I had gone camping with the intention of getting over another guy, and wasn’t ready to invite anyone into my tent. I was very proud of my ability to go to bed alone while being intoxicated; indulging in sloppy makeouts is a major benefit of single life. But the sexual tension grew between us to a boiling point, and by the next evening, the only thing I cared about was finding a way into his tent. He admitted that he had the same intention. The morning after, while demanding to be the little spoon he asked,“So you’re not going to fall in love with me, are you?” “Excuse me?” “Well, I sleep with girls, and they end up crushing hard. All I really want is to be solo right now, just to drink beers on the beach with my boys. I don’t want to break another girl’s heart.” “Don’t worry about my heart,” I replied, “It has endured worse.” Obviously, Andy didn’t know me well enough.
I’ve fallen in love after enough one-night stands that my heart has grown callous to it. My string of bad decisions and regrettable guys taught me not to fall for another just because he kissed me back. “How many guys have you slept with?” he inquired, and it spawned a conversation that is normally reserved for my best friends and bottles of wine. “It’s not the amount of guys I’ve had sex with that’s bothering. It’s the fact that I have only slept with five of those guys more than twice. I’ve had over 40 one-night stands. My problem is not getting guys, it’s getting guys to stay for breakfast.” I paused, wanting to stop myself, but it was too late. “When I daydream about Seth Meyers, my most ideal man, I don’t picture having sex with him. I picture lazing around and doing the Sunday afternoon crossword puzzle with him. My porn is a smart man and a game of Scrabble.” That was it. That was the secret that I had kept hidden behind a series of one-night stands and heartaches, and I had just told Andy Charles all of it. It was the most vulnerable I had been. “Is that too much?” I asked meekly. “Oh, I get it. Random sex becomes what you know. It becomes easy.” “Exactly.” After that morning, Andy and I had different ideas of how to be friends. I wanted to never sleep with him again, as it seems that the guys I sleep with are more eager to leave my life. I liked my new friend Andy, and wanted to not fuck it up. So by default, I had to not fuck him.
HE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE
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46 issue N o . 11
INTERVIEW WITH THE DAD-PIRE
When you’re a kid, what your parents do for a living is a frequent topic of conversation. At least, it’s something that you get asked a lot by adults and peers alike. “My dad is a fireman!” “My dad is a lawyer!” “My dad could beat up your dad!” And so on. My answer was always an ace in the hole, even if it was also profoundly incorrect: “My dad builds robots that play basketball!” This, stemming from both his casual love of basketball and the fact that I had once found a robotic arm in our basement (an inexplicable discarded relic of his employment), was all I ever cared to understand about my dad’s career. I thusly spent my entire childhood sincerely believing that he was crafting a new generation of cybernetic NBA athletes, and I went ahead and let other people to believe it too. It wasn’t until young adulthood that I decided that the lie couldn’t continue. I asked my dad what exactly TRIUMF (where he worked) was. He said it was a particle accelerator at the University of British Columbia. When I asked what a particle accelerator was, he gave me an answer so complicated that I mentally blocked it out and decided to just stick with the basketball thing. You’d think that some of his brainiac DNA would have been passed on to me. Nope. But now I’ve grown into a full-fledged failure of a man, and Sweden’s Large Hadron Collider has steadily been making headlines since its activation four years ago. I figured that I was overdue for another conversation with my dad. I mean, this is
one of the most important scientific developments of the past 30 years. Understanding it probably couldn’t hurt. “You realize I was just the janitor, right?” says my dad, when I ask if I can interview him. Classic Dalton. For half an hour, he explains to me the ins and outs of particle acceleration, and I’m proud to report that only about half of it goes over my head. It turns out that if you just sort of disregard the etymology, the actual process is surprisingly simple. “Those vacuum tubes that they have in old radios? Those are all particle accelerators,” he says. “What they do is they strip an atom of its electrons and accelerate the electrons across the tube from an anode to a cathode.” As I transcribe this, by the way, I’m amazed that spell check isn’t catching anything, but I digress. “This process is a sort of acceleration. They do that by charging the anode positively and charging the cathode negatively, and the negative electron gets attracted from one side to the other. It gets repelled by the negative charge and attracted by the positive.” I don’t ask how that magically makes sound come out of thin air, but his point stands. Modern particle acceleration technology is as old as modern technology itself. The process has also always been present in television (logically) and x-rays, which actually “shoot” particles through you in order to “take a picture” of your “insides.” “The whole thing about those is that they’re
Anna L. Beedes
And he wanted to have sex at least two more times, so he could be one of six people that I slept with more than twice. “I want to be part of that club,” he said. “It sounds really exclusive and fun.” “Oh, to be a part of that club is such a high honour,” I said with oozing sarcasm. “It would be.” My confession to Andy slightly mended my heart, as I finally met someone who understood the toxically single life. He understood my mistakes, laughed at his own, and kept making them, just like I did. Usually, slut collisions cause broken condom babies, STI worries and at least one heartache. Our slut collision had the reverse effect. It created a bond, only strengthened with confessions about what we really wanted out of sex and love. I want someone to play Scrabble with, and he wants girls to stop falling in love with him so he doesn’t feel like an asshole when he doesn’t call them back. And yes, he did become a part of the three-time club. It gets cold at night, and I wanted to find fairies in his moustache. Anna L. Beedes was born with a heart of gold, which is now nestled in a tree of terrible and awkward eggs, also known as the male population. She examines the intricacies within the world of sex and love, hoping to find answers to some of her heart and her loins’ greatest queries.
Giles Roy × Columnist
dedicated machines – they have a purpose. With particle accelerators, they have a purpose as well, but there’s nothing immediately as concrete,” says my dad. In other words, the purpose of a particle accelerator is to observe the behavior of the particle itself. There are three main types of accelerators in existence right now, and all of them essentially perform the aforementioned radio-tube process on a grander scale. The same polar (negative and positive) properties are still present, but are used to control a proton’s measurable speed. Linear accelerators (the oldest type) are about two miles long and use magnetic energy to kick a proton’s speed up at regular intervals before colliding it with various things to measure the outcome. Cyclotrons (like TRIUMF) do the same thing but in a neat space-saving spiral vacuum. Synchrotrons (like Sweden’s famous Large Hadron Collider) have a diameter of about 25 kilometres, and consist of two huge tunnels. The tunnels contain tubes that accelerate two particles in opposite directions until they collide with each other (hence the name) at 99 per cent the speed of light. “Is that dangerous?” I ask. “Well, it does create radiation, but that’s true of everything, including x-ray machines. There’s no danger of it, uh, exploding,” my dad replies. My next question, naturally, is why do we do this, but it turns out I already sort of know. Because one such collision proved the presence of the sub-atomic Higgs boson – the so-called
“God particle” theorized in the ‘60s, which is, as of Sept. 10 of this year, accepted as a real thing that exists. The discovery of the particle means all sorts of goofy shit – mainly, that we’re getting very close to determining what everything in the universe is made of. “Everyone has theories on what the building blocks of matter in the universe are,” says my dad. “At one point the building blocks were Earth, wind, fire, and water. Then the Greeks introduced the idea of the atom – which was the smallest building block they could possibly observe. Then the atom was discovered to be made up of even smaller things and we went from there.” Essentially, “nobody’s sure how small it goes.” So we keep going. The main implication of the Higgs boson revelation is the beginning of a new, long-lost chapter in the big book of nuclear physics – which is certainly reason enough to continue with exercises like particle acceleration. But the best reason to keep going, as always, is also the simplest: because why the fuck not. My words, not my dad’s. Giles Roy is trying his best to put modern scientific developments into laymen’s terms for you, the nonscience-care-about-er. This makes sense because Giles is about as “lay” as it gets. If you’re a real scientist, cringing at every sentence in this column, he’s dreadfully sorry.
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Cover to Cover
Brian Pascual × Columnist
Music geeks and the books they read When I was younger and interning at a music magazine, the managing editor put a book in my hands and said something to me that I remember very clearly to this day: “It’s the book every music geek wishes they wrote.” There was something about how matter-of-factly he spoke. He had conceded defeat but wasn’t upset about it. Like when an opponent beats you so absolutely but with such grace and style that it’s actually beautiful, and you can’t help but be completely okay with it. That was the sound in his voice. I remember looking down at the book and instantly falling in love with its title: High Fidelity. It spoke to some sense of musical neo-classicism, being old school while feeling oddly futuristic at the same time. Being young and naïve, I’d already decided I would love that book, before even cracking its spine. The book lived up to its expectations, because its author, Nick Hornby, had done exactly what my managing editor had proclaimed he had done. He’d beaten every journalist/writer who loves music to the ultimate prize by writing the perfect novel about someone whose life revolves around music, and how that obsession manifests itself in that person’s everyday life. With his protagonist Rob Fleming, Hornby presented someone that every music geek would not only relate to, but also actually feel was based on them. Since then I’ve searched high and low for more books that could marry my two loves – music and literature – as sublimely as Hornby was able to do. The search has been disappointing because
with Fidelity, Hornby simultaneously marked the niche, and probably to some extent unknowingly beginning and end of the music fiction genre. In acknowledged the fact that it was a pretty limited one masterstroke he set the bar at a near impos- genre to explore. sible height for anyone to match. Which isn’t to The futile search for more books about music say there haven’t been attempts. geeks supported that conclusion, and instead led The closest I’ve come across has been Powder me to non-fiction titles written by music geeks. (1999) by British author, Kevin Sampson, about Even though you might read every issue of Magnet a fictitious rock band that comes oh-so close to and the NME, bookmark 50 different music blogs sniffing stardom, only on your browser and to blow their chance (gasp!) check out on sex, drugs and rock Pitchfork’s daily al‘n’ roll (hello, Stone bum reviews, if you Roses!). While a fun like books and music read, it ultimately fell you can’t stop yourshort because even a self from wanting to music fan doesn’t want read more. So if the to read what is essenfiction world is lettially a band profile in a ting you down, you novel. We basically read almost have to settle ×× Mustaali RaJ those things everyday for more non-fiction. whenever we open up a music publication or troll For the music-obsessed, the 33 1/3 book series a music blog, so we don’t need more of them. And is something that might sate your craving to degiven that many music geeks moonlight as music vour more information. Now boasting 86 titles writers we’ve even written a ton of those profiles in the series, each book is about a specific “great” ourselves, so a natural reaction is to think, “I could album of the past 50 years. The usual suspects are write a way better story and I’ll base it on…The represented (The Beatles, Dylan, The Who), but Smiths!” This is what made Hornby’s Fidelity so also included are A Tribe Called Quest, My Bloody sly; it snuck in there and told a story from the Valentine, and Celine Dion, among others, just to point of view of a music fan about a music fan. No keep you on your toes. The bonus piece is that the one was going to try and follow that lead because books – while mostly written by music journalthere was simply no point. ists – are sometimes penned by musicians as well. It should be noted that Hornby himself didn’t The most recent 33 1/3 release from earlier this try to write a Fidelity sequel or another book like it. year is about Talking Heads’ Fear of Music (writI think he knew he’d made his masterpiece in this ten by Jonathan Lethem), which is interesting to
IN DA HOUSE
note because the much revered band’s leader has been busy with his creative output these days. Aside from recording and touring a quirky but weirdly inviting pop album with St. Vincent (this year’s Love This Giant), David Byrne also published his latest book, How Music Works, an ambitious, sprawling, odds-and-sods collection of pieces that come together as something part-Music History 101, autobiography, DIY manifesto, art piece, economics textbook and sage wise man foretelling the future of music, all rolled into one. Any Talking Heads fan should already own this, but music geeks in general should always pay attention whenever someone this supremely talented puts anything out. The man is a genius and it’s fun to watch – and read – about him stretching that sensibility to lengths beyond the music format. The search for fiction about music lovers – and specifically, rock and pop music – may have been a frustrating and disappointing one since High Fidelity set the bar almost 20 years ago, but maybe that’s the whole point. It might have been cool to read about a character that reminded us so much of ourselves, but Rob Fleming was also a neurotic, self-centered narcissist. And given that sudden realization, maybe it was best to leave that character and genre exactly where it was. Brian Pascual learned to read before he learned to tie his shoes. An avid cultural enthusiast, he finds the themes of books and films as correlation to the day-to-day fables that consume us all. A storyteller at heart, Brian is presently working on his first novel.
Samantha Thompson × Columnist
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION
Ridings are huge. It is virtually impossible for one MP to represent the thousands of people in their riding, but they can try. The problem is, a lot of them don’t. They assume that their belief system is the belief system of their constituents. Stephen Woodworth, creator of the bill that would’ve seen the abortion debate re-opened in Canada, is one such example: he is pro-life, and therefore seems to be assuming that all of his constituents are as well. Here he is, submitting a bill on a contentious topic, but he doesn’t even have the support
Part of being an elected MP is communicating with your constituents, and engaging with them on issues that aren’t merely political issues, but Canadian issues as well. When you have MPs who have been elected without the majority in their riding supporting them, they need to work extra hard to prove that they have a right to represent these Canadians. Although MPs are constantly trying to do things to get them more votes by the next election (this is politics, after all), it is important that they facilitate discussion and attend
A CALL FOR CHANGE To my knowledge, my MP doesn’t do stuff like this. There are no events held unless they are fundraisers for the Conservatives, and the events she attends are ones that would happen regardless, where it would be in poor form for the MP to not make a brief appearance (see: Diwali, Remembrance Day, etc.). The only interaction I’ve had with my MP is through the paper flyers she puts in my mailbox every once in awhile, which tell me that supposedly she is doing things in Parliament like advocating for immigrants, or something. Each time they receive a similar fate as the first piece
Samantha Thompson is the most politically savvy member of the Courier staff. When not swooning over various MPs, she also enjoys teen pop stars, Disney films, and the wizarding world of British novels.
46 issue N o . 11
of propaganda I received from her (I have a lot of pent-up rage, this seems to help a little). But is this productive? No. She gets to continue on her merry little way, thinking she’s representing my neighbourhood in Parliament, and I continue to be angry that she isn’t making more of an effort. But here’s the thing: it’s a two-way street. If you want your MP to know that they’re not representing you on an issue, you have to tell them. I can be as angry as I want at Wai Young, but it doesn’t make a difference unless I actually tell her that I want her to vote for her constituents, and that I want to see her at more events. It doesn’t matter that you’re one of a hundred thousand voters – every MP knows that one disgruntled person is representative of many more constituents who are like me, angrily ripping up brochures in my home rather than talking to them directly. I’ve spent a lot of time this semester talking about how important it is to pay attention to Canadian politics. I know that not everyone has the time to dedicate each week to sitting around watching Question Period (but if you ever do, I highly recommend it – it’s more nail biting than a Survivor marathon). I do know, however, that each of us cares about something – even if it’s just one issue. So if you do nothing else in the realm of Canadian politics, at least tell your MP how you feel about that issue – be it the environment, healthcare, homelessness, or the economy – give them a chance to prove to you that they do want to represent you in Parliament, and that they deserve to get your vote in the next election.
events for other purposes as well. Take, for example, MPs like Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre). For International Women’s Day earlier this year, Fry organized an event that brought together women from various communities in Vancouver to hold a forum about the status of women and women’s rights. Many citizens of Vancouver attended the event, and the event allowed for an honest, informal discussion on women’s rights and how they need to progress for the future. It allowed Fry to connect with her constituents, and also gave them the opportunity to speak to her about what issues matter most to them when it comes to the status of women. Basically, it allowed constituents to connect with their MP. Peter Julian (who received 49.7 per cent of the vote), the MP for Burnaby New Westminster, also engages with his constituents on a regular basis. He attends community events regularly, engages with constituents in-person and via Twitter, and he was the most active MP from Western Canada in the 40th Parliament. The Georgia Straight called him “one of the region’s most hardworking Members of Parliament.”
of many of his constituents. He isn’t representing the people who he is supposed to be representing. This lack of representation is especially a problem because of the way Canada’s electoral system is set up. Voters mark a ballot for one candidate, and one candidate only. Whereas other systems use a ranking system (with the argument that “no vote is wasted,” because if your top candidate gets the least number of votes, your vote then goes to your second candidate, and so on), Canada’s system makes it so that if your candidate gets the least number of votes, your vote ends there. The reason this system is flawed, is because you’ll have a candidate like Wai Young get elected not because she received the majority of the votes of all the constituents in her riding (she received 43.3 per cent of the vote) but rather, because she received more votes than any of the other candidates. When you combine the number of votes these candidates received, you have a number bigger than what Wai Young received – which means, less than half of the approximately 123,000 people she supposedly now represents actually voted for her. And she’s not alone: 15 of the 35 MPs in B.C. received less than half of their constituents’ votes.
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Prior to the 2011 election, I was perfectly happy with my MP. He was from a party whose policies I supported, he advocated for issues that I agreed with, and one time he even sent me a Christmas card. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but he was better than any of the alternatives. Then the 2011 election came around, he lost, and a new person was elected. The first time I heard of my new MP, Wai Young, was when she put a little brochure in my mailbox that pictured her in front of my high school. It made me so mad that I ripped it up, yelled at the shreds of paper, and then threw them into the recycling. “You don’t support education!” I yelled at her photocopied face. “Did you even ask permission before you associated yourself with my school?” Yeah, I might have some problems. When I calmed down, I thought maybe I’d give her a chance. But as the months went by, she continued voting with her party, the Conservatives, instead of how I wanted her to vote. Feeling satisfied that I was right in my original assessment of her, I came to the conclusion that she did not represent me.
12-11-23 10:44 PM
Columns Editor ×
JJ Brewis × E d i t o r @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
Jillian Aquino × Columnist
Alone with The Fishes While browsing through upcoming art shows I notice an unusual note of instruction at the bottom of one flyer – “See Pulpfiction Books for keys and directions.” I’m intrigued. So, on a rainy day in Mount Pleasant my friend and I make our way over to Pulpfiction Books. I inquire at the desk with the bookstore clerk if we might see it and he obliges, asking for a piece of photo ID to keep as collateral. In return he presents me with two keys and directions. Following the directions we take a right outside of Pulpfiction and walk until we reach a door opening up to a set of stairs that leads to a hallway filled with artist studios. When we see the CSA Space sign we unlock the door and turn the lights on. CSA Space is a small, windowless room with wooden floors and white walls. Closing the door behind us I’m immediately struck by how personal the experience is – it is simply us and the art, no gallery attendants and no other gallery-goers. The show currently on display is The Fishes, with works by Laeh Glenn and Owen Kydd, curated by Aaron Peck. Right away I notice the sound of some trickling water and my friend checks to see if there are speakers in the room but there aren’t any – the sound of water echoes from a drain pipe and the pouring rain outside, a chance coincidence with the show’s theme. The room displays
five paintings by Los Angeles artist Laeh Glenn – all-black canvas displayed above another probable three are placed on the wall, one is displayed on a coincidence, a remnant from the building’s earlier stool and the other lies on the floor. The paintings days – a non-functioning faucet installed in the are simple enough individually but become espe- wall that has been painted over in white. On the floor, already turned on, is a flat screen cially complimentary when seen in a group. They seem connected by colour and the watery theme, monitor leaning against the wall displaying one of Owen Kydd’s video stilldefinitely intended to lifes. Kydd’s piece focuses on be viewed as a colleca cracked concrete parking tion. The vivid blue in lot stall that has been sprayan abstract blue and painted with white and black line painting on bright blue paint, echoing the wall, that my friend the bright hues in Glenn’s says reminds him of a paintings. Though Kydd, “1930’s jazz painting” a Simon Fraser graduate, is is then seen on a canvas now based in Los Angeles, covered with that same this piece has a distinct Vanbright cobalt, lying on Courtesy Laeh Glenn & Owen Kydd & CSA Space the floor. My friend wonders if the painting has couver feel to it. At times the work seems still but fallen and we check the wall for signs of a hanging then the water puddles gently ripple and in the nail but there is nothing – we speculate that the reflection of a grey-looking sky, the shadow of a painting is on the floor because it forces you to person walking by or a dark bird flying overhead look downward at it as if it were water. Another reminds us that we are watching a moment passing painting positioned on a stool is a black on ivory in time instead of a static image. Before we leave, we shut off the lights in the outline of a jug filled with water. Next to that piece on the centre wall of the room is Three Fish, room and Kydd’s video work becomes even more a painting of exactly that – three representations of prominent, illuminating an otherwise mundane identical fish rendered in black, white, ivory and a image that would likely go unnoticed if we passed pale blue. Finally, black flower blooms form on an it walking by on the street. Kydd uses his work to
challenge our traditional notions of photography and video, instead creating what he calls durational photographs. The piece has an endless quality and we watch it together in the dark, unable to tell when it starts and finishes. CSA Space is an independent project space. Their website describes the space as being part of “a vital, non-institutionally administered culture.” I could not agree more. Inside there was no show description, no names of the pieces were displayed and perhaps most notably, there was no one was trying to sell us anything. It was a singular experience based entirely on looking at art and interpreting the works and curation on our own, a respite from a grey day. Leaving The Fishes, we make sure to lock the door behind us before we go down the stairs and step back outside into the rain.
Jillian Aquino lives her life through a funnel in which everything around her is artful, from her grocery store purchases to the layout of her bookshelves. Jillian is fascinated with the contemporary world and the way humans interpret it. Especially if that way happens to be insightful and beautiful.
× staff editorial ×
"SPECIALIZE OR DIE" The Renaissance man dilemma Scott Moraes
the capilano courier
46 issue N o . 11
× Humour and Fiction Editor
I should start this by depicting the pile of books on my desk: An Italian grammar book, a Saul Bellow novel, the autobiographies of Frederick Douglass, a book on the ethnobotany of British Columbia, Harold McGee’s food science 1000page bible On Food and Cooking, and Yves Engler’s latest book on Canadian foreign policy. Believe me, it’s been even more diverse. I’ve been bit by an antique bug. I’m struck by an undying curiosity for almost everything under the sun. Photography, film, history, economics, art, politics, literature, music, anthropology, gastronomy, law, foreign languages – you name it. There are a bunch of “things” I tell myself that I’m not interested in, perhaps in fear that if I open another box of wonders, I’ll be irretrievably doomed and my “little” dilemma will turn into living hell – an intellectual-psychological horror
×× stefan tosheff
movie. Such an array of interests has made it impossible for me to narrow down my career choices to one area of expertise. I’m no teenage flip flopper who finds out about a new profession every week and changes his mind. No, I’ve had this all figured out for over a decade. I remember telling my parents in high school that I wanted to be a screenwriter/director, a novelist, a singer/songwriter and a chef. I may have added subcategories, but I’m pretty sure I used “and,” not “or.” Of course, their first reaction was to try and help me narrow the list down. Prioritize, rate, focus, destroy! I’ve always had a very deep contempt for the workings of educational institutions, and continue to rebel against them in amusing ways. I’m not sure whether that was the cause or the consequence of my artsy inclinations, but I figured I had no business going to college and getting a degree. So cocksure was I that I decided to use all of my inheritance money from grandma, pack my bags and emigrate to Canada alone at age 18 in search of a fresh start and a “realistic” stage for my master plan. “Do what you love” has become the maxim of good parenting, and as good parents, mine have been supportive of my polymath aspirations, and have thrown dozens of thousands of very-hard-earned dollars into the riskiest, most senseless investment any parents could ever make. Thanks Mom, thanks Dad. But here’s the sad part: This is a world that increasingly forces individuals to be more specialized than ever. And when I’m asked to pick only one career over the others, I’m just not capable.
And hell, I still want to have time to learn about all those things that have little to no practical relevance to anything work-related. I’ve taken the trouble to delve into four foreign languages, entirely driven by personal interest and regardless of their practicality. People tell me that time is scarce (it sure is), and it is just not humanly possible to accommodate such an array of concomitant occupations. But some do succeed. They’re out there, actually making a living! It’s widely understood that most beginning artists have to pursue their careers as “a side job,” making less money than a child in a sweatshop, having something “realistic to fall back on.” I’m no different. I have a job at a restaurant which is really not that bad, and at least pays the bills, but the creative beast still starves. I’ve tried giving things up. Actively tried. To some extent it’s been successful and I’ve been able to put some things aside for a long time so I could focus on others. But a passion is a passion; it’s always somewhere in the back of your mind, begging for attention. The year I didn’t work or go to school and just got to read two books a week and work on my songs and screenplays and my risottos and learn Italian – and it was probably the best of all years, although I produced nothing. A true bohemian lifestyle, I think you’d call it. A freeloading spoiled little brat, I was. Damn that curiosity, and damn my relativist approach to everything. I’m more than ever faced with a painful, stark possibility: All this effort could lead to a hyperinflation of cultural wealth – can it all be worthless? It doesn’t feel like smartness or awesomeness. It feels
like madness. I’m already running on year ten of chronic insomnia. I don’t want to go down that road. Nor do I want to be a penniless pill-popping artist doomed for posthumous acclaim – if any at all. I can’t say I hate the restaurant job, but it does obscure and gets in the way of the other things. It pays the bills, while reading the complete works of Fyodor Dostoevsky does not. Should I read War and Peace (a “made up story”) or should I fill in the gaps of my ignorance about the Chinese and their history and civilization? Should I save money for a new Larrivé guitar or should I splurge in delectable culinary experiments? Should I work on my black comedy screenplay set in Enlightenment Era France with Voltaire as a protagonist, or should I simply give up writing altogether? Should I, Will I, Must I? It probably sounds by the end of this that I’m quite unhappy with the way my “master plan” turned out. Not so. I guess it’s become sort of a truism, that failure is an ingredient for success. Right now, as I smell this melting pot I’ve been brewing over the years, I’m quite pleased with the aroma, and all I can wish for is that final pinch of failure.
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arts Editor ×
Celina kurz × a r t s @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
OH DARLING, MY HEART'S ON FIRE Firefighters go shirtless for charity in annual calendar tradition Lauren Gargiulo × Writer “It’s very intimidating. I fight fires for a living, not pose without my shirt on,” Norman Chow laughs. Chow is one of the 13 firefighters from around Metro Vancouver who posed for the firefighters’ yearly calendar, “Hall of Flame 2013.” For 26 years it has been a tradition for firefighters to pose shirtless and sexy for an annual calendar, with all the proceeds going to charity. However, despite the intimidating nature of stripping down to make money, Adrian Sherriff, a firefighter and chair of the Vancouver Firefighters Charitable Society (VFCS), thinks it’s worth it for the amount of money they raise for their charities. “Anybody in marketing will tell you that sex sells ... At the end of the day, this is what raises money for charity – and it does, every year it raises typically $50 to $60 thousand, and this year we’re looking at $100 thousand,” he says. “In the past 25 years we’ve raised over a million dollars for charity. If guys take their shirts off and at the end of the day, over a million is raised for charity, is that such a bad thing?” The calendar features firefighters from all over the Lower Mainland. “Originally, when it started
26 years ago, only Vancouver guys were in [the calendar], but since then we opened it up to all Lower Mainland locals,” says Sheriff. Charity work and firefighting have traditionally had a close relationship. “I think the two of them [charity and firefighters] go hand in hand,” Sheriff says. “One of the things we look for in firefighters is past volunteer experience and fundraising efforts. We always try to encourage it because there’s always something going on in the fire department. The things that we do year after year are just as important as the things we do on the job.” The VFCS, however, was only put into place in 1998. “Fundraising for firefighters has always been a tradition, for a long time. We’ve always been doing it, for over 100 years. But in 1998, we made it official, so we could get a charity number,” explains Sheriff. The money from the VFCS goes to a number of charities such as the B.C. Children’s Hospital, and counselling for burn victims of all ages. One of the charities initiated by the VFCS is Burn Camp, a summer camp for children. “It’s a nice place for kids who can go and be around other kids just like them,” explains Sheriff. “If you’re a kid and you go to the beach, you might not want to take your shirt off because of your burn.
But if you’re surrounded by other kids just like you, and staff who work with kids like you, it’s a better place.” The Hall of Flame calendar features male firefighters, and unfortunately, there is no calendar for female firefighters at this time. “We o n l y have around 18 to 22 female firefighters, so if we did a yearly calendar, we’d almost have to use the same women every year,” Sheriff says. But the issue is trying to be resolved: “We’re working on getting support from Police and Paramedics, and having an integrated forces calendar for the women, I think that ×× Mariko whitely would really help.” Posing for the calendar isn’t the end of the job however. There are at least four charity events a month promoting the sales of the calendar. “We
always lose a couple of guys every year, because we make it clear that it’s a lot of commitment.” Sherriff says. There are still many firefighters who want to be part of the calendar. Each year is different as to how the guys on the calendar are picked: “Sometimes we have what we call meat draws at the Roxy, where the guys come up on stage, and we read a little blurb about them, and women vote for who goes on the calendar. It’s a racket, but it’s different every year,” Sherriff laughs. “There’s a fair amount of competition. We have to trim anywhere from four to 10 guys some years. This year we actually added a 13th guy as Mr. 2014.” Overall, those who participate in it are happy to do it. “I think it’s an honour,” says Brent Glenen, who shows up in the calendar as Mr. February. “It’s a tough job, and to be able to help even more, I’m very thankful to do it.”
Behind the screen of one Vancouver’s essential cinema-going experiences Peter Warkentin × Writer
the capilano courier
46 issue N o . 11
“In my view, the only way to see a film remains the way the filmmaker intended: inside a large movie theatre with great sound and pristine picture.” - Ridley Scott
Most people would agree that the best way to view a movie is in a cinema: sinking into a seat as the lights begin to dim, the smell of popcorn hanging in the air. But what does a film-lover do when the movies he wants to watch have long since stopped screening in cinemas, or didn’t receive a wide theatrical release? The Pacific Cinematheque Society, a not-for-profit Vancouver-based film institution, has been fulfilling that role in Vancouver’s cultural landscape for 40 years. Jim Sinclair, the Cinematheque’s executive and artistic director, describes the mission of the organization: “We’re looking to be a place that celebrates and provides access to the great history of cinema and the great artists and the great filmmaking countries and the great film movements, and at the same time showcase really interesting new films that are often ignored in the marketplace or the commercial cinemas ... We also have a mandate to showcase interesting work by Canadian filmmakers and local filmmakers.” The Cinemateque has a roster of films that rotates every two months, and the range of each collection is astoundingly diverse. “Most of what you see at a commercial movie theatre are new feature films. But there’s a whole world of cinema out there, that includes documentaries – which are occasionally screened at commercial houses – but also experimental film and animation and short films and all kinds of things.” Since many of these films would never get a traditional theatrical release, they would be completely unavailable to the public if not for the Cinematheque. “There’s no
reason for us to exist if we just do the same thing as mainstream cinemas.” Al Reid, the head projectionist at the Cinematheque, notes the importance of the history of cinema: “If you limit yourself to the now, you are not only cutting yourself off from a wide array of masterpieces, but also an opportunity to experience what made audiences throughout this last century laugh, weep, and cheer.” The Cinematheque is also dedicated to promoting film as an important cultural force and being an active participant in Vancouver’s social identity. Sinclair compares the Cinematheque to an opera house or fine art museum, arguing that despite its relative youth, film is just as relevant as these older mediums. “Cinema doesn’t get the kind of respect as an art form that the more traditional forms get, simply because it’s a newer art form … What we do here, the kind of programming we do and the scope of it, and the amount that we do, compares favourably to anything that any major film institute is doing in any other major city in the world.” Because of the Cinematheque’s commitment to show such a wide variety of films, Sinclair notes that it can sometimes be difficult to draw in new audience members. “You always have to work really hard to engage an audience. We have a core audience of cinephiles, of film-lovers, who’ll come and see everything, but you also have to find those other audiences. It’s just part of the on-going thing working in arts and culture. You have to get the word out, you have to engage people.” Some people are hesitant to attend the Cinematheque because they think it only shows black-and-white experimental films from Eastern Europe, and they don’t give it the chance it deserves. However, Sinclair says, “If people who are actually interested in cinema and good cinema and [those] who like going to film festivals, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t enjoy going to the Cinematheque.” Sinclair has been with the Cinematheque for over 20 years, and is constantly enthused
by the programming that he is able to bring to the screen. “Last year we did a retrospective of the films of Robert Bresson, the great French film-maker. Several years ago we did a major retrospective of Akira Kurosawa.” Acquiring films from filmmakers with such a vast body of work can be difficult, but, Sinclair explains, ultimately rewarding: “When you do a near complete retrospective of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time … it’s always really exciting, because the opportunities are rare, sometimes the acquiring some of the films can be difficult.” The Cinematheque acquires their film prints from many different sources, including distributors, film archives, governments and other film societies. The Cinematheque’s next retrospective, titled “Castles in the Sky,” showcases the films of Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli, which are renowned as some of the most creative and beautiful animated movies of all time. They are co-hosting the event with the Vancity Theatre, which is home to the Vancouver International Film Festival. The Cinematheque will be showing the films in the original Japanese with English subtitles, and Vancity will be showing the English-dubbed versions. The screenings begin Dec. 7 with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the film that led to the creation of Studio Ghibli. “I’m not actually that well-versed in the Studio Ghibli works, but based on how excited my friends are, I’m looking forward to becoming so,” says Reid, who adds, “The best part of my job … are the films I’m not excited to see, but get swept up in and fall in love with something I’d probably have never would have even seen if not for being in the Cinematheque booth.” What Cinematheque offers is an immersive experience with films, with a selection that goes beyond what is typically offered. “I think it’s a really different experience,” says Sinclair of viewing films in a cinema. “The idea of being in a cinema, in a dark cinema … it demands, it allows, it permits you to be more immersed in the film.”
FOR THE LOVE OF GHIBLI By Thomas Finn Hearn, Writer Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation company founded in 1985 by – and featuring the works of – Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The two wanted to create animated feature films that would go a step beyond what was done at the time in Japan. With multiple award-winning films such as Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, which was especially well-received in North America and won an Oscar for best animated film (a rare prize for non-English speaking countries). Aside from the awards and praise from film academies, Studio Ghibli is the company that introduced many Canadian anime fans to the world of anime. From the first moments Canadian children watched Totoro the giant forest spirit bounce in the moonlight, it became clear these films would become classics. While they have only been around since the ‘80s, Ghibli has created such quality films that many fans would argue that they rival those of Walt Disney, often considering the content more mature, particularly when considering the grimmer films such as Grave of the Fireflies, which tells of the horrors of World War II in Japan. Be it the old raggedy VHS tapes of Castle in the Sky or My Neighbor Totoro to the fancy new Blu-rays of Ponyo and The Secret World of Arrietty, Ghibli films have inspired children and adults alike and will continue to do so in the future. Starting Dec. 7, Pacific Cinematheque will be screening a retrospective of Studio Ghibli’s filmography, presented entirely in new 35 mm prints. The films to be screened include many of the well-loved classics mentioned previously, as well as Only Yesterday, a rare Ghibli film that has never before been released in North America.
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UNDER YOUR SPELL The appeal of psychics in an age of skepticism Connor Thorpe × Staff Writer Would you pay for a glimpse into your own future? It’s a significant motivator for many – the perception of what lies ahead in the coming days, months and years of people’s lives can dictate life-altering decisions, subsequently becoming a major source of stress and anxiety. Perhaps within this lies the appeal of psychics, who allegedly offer the key to some level of control of the future to the subjects of their readings. At the very least, patrons of psychic shops and live performances can hope to achieve the knowledge required to brace themselves for the inevitable. Raziel Ross, a Vancouver-area psychic and medium, explains what generally occurs during the readings performed at her shop. “I often feel pain in my body that either the client is experiencing or the soul who has passed over. I have my eyes closed most of the time, and during the session I am picking up information telepathically and through my auditory senses, [as well as] viewing scenes inside my head,” she says. “When my eyes are open I see sparks, flashes of light and energy in the room and around the client. Sometimes pets who have passed over also come in.” Ross says that abilities relating to psychics and those relating to mediums are not mutually exclusive. Her purported ability to both connect with those who have passed away as well as accessing information through clairvoyance is demonstrative of both fields. According to Ross, psychics may also tap into the Akashic records – an ethereal collection of human knowledge and experience that exists solely on a spiritual plane. Those seeking a reading are cautioned to do
their research. The existence of inauthentic psy- of self-awareness and self-understanding,” Trottier chic businesses is well documented. Ross concedes says, noting that the aspect of control that can that some people are willing to go to a less than be given by a psychic is generally what is desired. reputable psychic to hear what they want to hear. “Much of new ageism, of which psychics and “If a person is looking to be comforted that mediums form an important part, is about conthey will become rich and famous, and meet the trolling the universe around you or manipulating person of their dreams, and live happily ever after, it for your own ends.” But what evidence is there that the psychic then they will probably choose someone who will give them that reassurance, which is not neces- phenomena may be legitimate? Trottier says that the scientific sarily based on principles stacked anything subagainst purportstantial,” she ed psychics are says. “Other insurmountable. people look for “Given that the insight into their powers claimed by lives so that they psychics contracan gain a deeper vene most laws of understanding physics – such of themselves, as electromagenabling them netism and how to make healthsignals are transmitier decisions in ted, as well as the their lives. Often basic idea of causalclients want reasity – the evidence surance that their would have to be loved ones are overwhelmalright, especially ×× Camile segur ing. Instead, if they suffered there’s none,” he explains. “The best illness when they were alive.” Justin Trottier, spokesperson for the Centre ‘skeptics’ are magicians like James Randi because for Inquiry – an organization that supports the they know the tricks psychics use are the same “investigation of ethical, cultural and reli- tricks of the magician, the use of psychology to gious ideas [and] the skeptical exploration of manipulate others.” Techniques employed by psychics include pseudoscience, alternative medicine and paranormal beliefs” – says that the appeal of psychics lies “[weakening] their power to seem more plausiin an innate curiosity and fear towards the future. ble,” or making use of technology – as was the case “People have a desire to know about [their] with now-discredited television “faith healer” Peter future, to control their destiny or simply better Popoff, who was caught using an earpiece to have prepare for it. Others want to attain a higher state information transmitted from his wife backstage.
According to Trottier, modern television psychics – like Theresa Caputo, star of the TLC reality show Long Island Medium – rely on an editing process in which the “misses are edited out and only the hits remain.” If psychic abilities are indeed non-existent, those who conduct readings from their own shops wouldn’t have the benefit of receiving prior information on subjects or trick editing. Trottier attributes the technique of cold reading to the apparent effectiveness of these psychics. “Cold reading is simply the use of obtaining information about a subject in a variety of nonmagical…but rather clever ways – either a visual inspection of body language, race, manner of speech, clothing, or by asking questions about the person’s beliefs, religion [or] education level,” he says. “You can make a number of probabilistically likely conclusions by putting together information gleaned from such an analysis. The conclusions are, of course, not going to be perfect, but most subjects are seeing a psychic to get advice and not question the psychic’s powers, and will readily forget the many misses.” Ross, however, is confident that her abilities have the power to help people improve their lives. “There is some sort of exchange of energy that takes place in each session and most people leave smiling and feeling good about themselves,” she says. “And although a lot say they will come back again, I really trust that they won’t have to, because I’d like to think they will somehow connect to their own intuition.” However, Trottier stresses, whatever a person’s opinion is on the legitimacy of clairvoyance and other psychic abilities, maintaining skepticism is vital: “Skepticism is not only healthy, but absolutely essential to society.”
ELF-DEPRECATING Arts Club’s SantaLand Diaries both naughty and nice JJ Brewis × Editor-in-Chief
and glorifies the season. I think it’s very human in that way.” The Santaland Diaries runs through Dec. 22 at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage.
46 issue N o . 11
funny.” Biel’s Crumpet begins as a disgruntled young man who finds himself employed as a holiday elf stationed at a Macy’s Santaland display. Initially, the job finds him humiliated and embittered, later moving into affects of rage at the hands of the irritating children and their terrible parents. Beil believes the pairing of Santaland’s humour elements comes at a perfect time to counteract the holiday tension. “It’s a feel-good time of year, but it’s also a stressful time of year. We release a lot of stress through laughing at ourselves and any situation that we end up finding ourselves in. I think it has to do with that. We all get super stressed during the holidays and sometimes we just need a good laugh.” Around the holiday seasons, there are countless seasonal-themed entertainment options available from ballets to classic films. But it’s the sinister tones of Santaland that cater to a different market. “This one’s got a little bit more of a darker side, I think. It’s not just your classic Christmas story about hope and the human spirit and condition,” Beil explains. “This one’s a very sort of straight-up take on the darker side of the Christmas season. It’s very, very funny but it can go over the line a little bit every now and then, which is nice, because it’s not just a fluffy wonderland.” “People who have a really great time during the holidays can come to Santaland and have a good time and people who just loathe the Christmas season can come and definitely have a good time,” Beil continues. “It both sends up Christmas
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Screaming children, never-ending line-ups, a nonstop grating murmur of “Jingle Bells”: Visits to Santa may be exciting for the kids, but for adult mall-goers, it’s just another dimension of holiday consumerism hell. This sordid side of Christmas is both explored and exposed on stage, in the Arts Club’s The Santaland Diaries. The play comically defies many conventions people have, not just about a visit to Saint Nick, but it also places a spin on the effective formatting of stage plays, and the holiday season as a whole. Celebrated local actor and comedian Ryan Beil (notable as the “A&W guy” from the restaurant’s commercials) plays the role of disgruntled elf Crumpet. Beil, an acting graduate of UBC, is no stranger to comedy. As a founder of local standup comedy group The Sunday Service, Beil was a perfect match to convey the original fiery intent of David Sedaris’ autobiographical script. “It’s a very politically incorrect script that just tells it like it is,” says Beil. “The things that we’ve always wanted to say to rude customers, David Sedaris definitely says in this play.” Santaland first appeared as an audio essay on national public radio programs such as This American Life, later published in Sedaris’ holiday memoir Holidays On Ice. A New York theatre group put it to stage in the mid-‘90s and it has become a holiday staple ever since. “It’s not really a play per
se because David Sedaris wrote it as a collection of short stories really, and then people just sort of started [performing] it,” says Beil. “It’s written so there’s no sort of overarching plot,” Beil says. “It really is sort of someone keeping a diary of their time at this horrendously stressful and crappy holiday job.” Beil credits the magic of Santaland to Sedaris’ unmatched humour. “I think he’s a very good writer, a very funny man, and can also write very poignantly as well, to show the humour. He just finds himself in lots of interesting situations and writes about them in a very dry, witty way and it’s appealing to lots of people.” Sedaris is well known for his sense of hard-hitting and relatable humour that captivates on an everyday level, in Santaland’s case to anyone who has dealt with customer service in the holiday season. “Most of us have had a job like Santaland. Not saying we’ve all worked as an elf being Santa’s helper, but we’ve all had lowstatus, high-stress crappy jobs: retail jobs, serving jobs. [Santaland is] a little bit of a revenge fantasy for all of us who’ve had those,” Beil says. Biel explains that his character is essentially a lens through which customer service workers of any variety can find humour in experiences most of us have gone through. “There’s one moment I really like where [Crumpet] is getting training and he talks about corporate training video tapes he’s shown where actors are sort of pretending to be employees and talking about why it’s important not to steal from the store. I find that to be very
Ryan Beil in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of The Santaland Diaries. Photo by David Cooper.
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arts Editor ×
Celina kurz × a r t s @ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
WEARING EMOTION Inside the skeleton closet of How To Dress Well JJ Brewis × Editor-in-Chief
“No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modelled, built or invented except quite literally to get out of hell.” - Antonin Artaud
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Tom Krell digs through a stack of books and papers before finding this quote by the French playwright and poet. Krell identifies with the sentiment, but thinks it can lead to some misconceptions about his artistic process. “I don’t have any trouble. This is one of the problems of my present artistic position, is that I’m not a miserable fucker. It’s just when I’m happy, I don’t want to make music.” “When I feel like spiritually or emotionally ravaged, that’s when I start in my head just to hear songs and make songs,” he continues. “There’s something about songs to me, they’re a vehicle, a voice of a conduit for expressing affects which have trouble being registered in the day to day form of life in which we live.” Krell, better known as How To Dress Well, has just returned from a five-week stint around Europe, a chance to seriously reflect on his new material: “I’m not writing from something that’s just me and that’s really belonging to me, I’m writing more from affects that exist between us all. They’re not moments in my autobiography, they’re moments on the train of affects of us all.” How to Dress Well’s Total Loss was released this September, and similar to its predecessor, 2010’s Love Remains, it finds Krell in a spot of critical and public praise. The ambient meld of haunting electronic and ethereal indie pop has been a hit with music fans, but the journey has been one that Krell has been more conscious of in terms of selfawareness than praise. “I’m much more interested in using songwriting as a way to write myself in the
direction of a place I’d want to be, where I’m not yet,” he says. “What that means is a description of feelings I’m having at the time. Total Loss is that, but it’s also an attempt to orient myself toward the future, to shape it in a way as such that I look forward into the future and I see it as more habitable and more generous and full than I might presently see it. With Total Loss I feel like I’m trying to write myself a homecoming in the future, one that I’d be content with.” Well-known for his love of ‘80s and ‘90s era R&B influences that provided a soft backbone for Love Remains, Krell explains it’s more about his early family memories that shaped him both musically and personally, particularly notable on Total Loss. It’s just a matter of where to begin. “It’s really hard to say. It’s more like the years of therapy that I’d need to do, than an interview question that would answer that. It’s hard to know.” Krell’s mother was a singer who he says was a “huge, huge influence on me musically and creatively,” but it was in watching his older brothers – identical twins who both have Asperger syndrome – that he learned a lot about the ×× Jesse Lirola
way the world works. “I just saw that there was a different way to be in the world and I saw the way that people were abused for being different. I never really felt totally comfortable fitting in even though I was quite a popular kid, it always came with a little twinge of pain, just because I saw the way my brothers were pretty much problematically excluded from the social body.” It’s connections like this that make up Total Loss. “It’s me in my fears and my aspirations, as well as my personal present situation. It’s more about my whole zone and the kinds of goals and horrors and competing desires that make up my life.” Krell has also been lauded for his ability to transpose personal connection, like the death of his best friend, into his performances. “A lyric which is about, say, a lost friend or something. On one night, singing might really fill me with a deeply painful longing to have the person back, and then other nights, I’ll sing the lyric and it’ll feel so light, and I’ll have a flash of a smile or something in my head, or even a joke.” Krell is also presently working on a PhD in Philosophy, which adds another dimension to how he thinks about the world although it doesn’t directly affect his music. “The two things, philosophy and music, are such
radically different approaches to the world and to our lives and emotion and the spirit. Honestly I learn things in philosophy, which then change the way I think about my emotional life. And I learn things from music which changes the way I think about the world, but I don’t have anything like a philosophical approach to music or a musical approach to philosophy, or anything.” How to Dress Well is in a constant flux of being both intensely personal yet accessible across the board. “I’ve learned that at a certain point if you go really, really deep into the personal it transitions suddenly over into this universal space,” Krell says. “Everybody knows what it’s like to be in that moment where you feel pathetic, or where you feel a bliss that you can’t communicate to anyone else. And that’s a little bit paradoxical because everyone knows this universal way, that moment of total personal isolation.” In the bulk of the heavy material on his records, Krell says that revisiting his work in a life setting really depends on the day in terms of they way it plays out. “It does feel like it comes very naturally to me, whatever that means, to be emotional in this way,” he explains. “I think that, something about the performances and the record, there are aspects of it that are very personal and there are also aspects where I’m creating an image of what it would be to be open.” However he adds, “I’m not necessarily as open as the image I’ve presented on the record. It’s more of a goal for myself as well, so I learn a lot during the live show and making the records about where I want to be personally. Even if I don’t end up there at the end of the day, I learn kind of more like where I’d like to be.” How To Dress Well performs at The Biltmore Cabaret on Dec. 10. Total Loss is out now.
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EVERY TUESDAY IN MAPLE 122 AT NOON
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TRANSPORTED TO SOMEWHERE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN Cirque’s Amaluna set to inspire Samantha Thompson × Copy Editor
The first time Mark Pawsey heard about Cirque du Soleil, he was the stage manager for the production of Phantom of the Opera in London. “In 1996, one of the Christines asked me to go to a show at the Abbott Hall … and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go.’”
Needless to say, the pair went to the show, and it was a decision that would end up changing Pawsey’s life. “I went having no expectations, never even [having] heard of Cirque du Soleil, and came out going, ‘Oh dear, I think I want to work for this group of people,’ because it was inspiring.” Now, 14 years later, he’s the artistic director for Cirque’s Amaluna, which opens in Vancouver on Nov. 23. Stories like Pawsey’s are all part of the magic of Cirque, and the impact the show can have on someone’s life. “If one person in that audience has something that changes in their life because of what they’ve seen, then that’s going to be powerful,” he says. “I’m sure we don’t change people’s lives, but we influence them.” Amaluna is a brand new show, and has only been touring since April of this year, where it began in Montreal, before heading to Quebec City, Toronto, and now Vancouver. The creative process for a new show is lengthy, taking a couple years to be established before the process to get the show ready for tour begins – which as Pawsey describes, is “a full nine months, so it’s like having the birth of a newborn.” Pawsey points out that the nature of being a part of Cirque du Soleil, of working with the same group of people for such long time period, creates a community amongst the team. Inspiration, he says, goes beyond the audience: “My job is to inspire the artists, but I also need them to inspire me so that I can inspire them,” he explains. However, he adds, “That doesn’t mean it’s always rosy in the garden, absolutely not. It’s tough, moving, being away from home. Every two months or three months you’re in a different place, so you have to use the people that are with you to help support you in that.”
Amaluna is set in a mysterious island, governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. A storm brings a group of young men to the island, which launches into a love story between the queen’s daughter and one of the young men – a love that will have to prove itself amidst many obstacles. Once the show’s performances begin, it still takes a little while for the team to find the direction and pathway they’re going to head in. Pawsey notes that when 50 people are working together, it can end up being fairly chaotic if they’re not guided in the same way. Each time, they make slight adjustments: “What’s really special about any Cirque du Soleil show…is that every show evolves,” says Pawsey. “So you go and see the show in Vancouver, and then you go and see it in Calgary, it will have developed, it will have changed in some direction because you have 50 artists who are all constantly training, constantly working to make themselves better.” He also notes that every audience is different as well: “They tell you what they like and you can hear when there’s something that’s not clear. So you have to listen to them, and you have to change it.” Amaluna as a show is also special, because for the first time at Cirque du Soleil their cast is 75 per cent female. It also maintains a strong storyline without the use of any words at all, something else that differentiates it from other Cirque shows. “I think those two things should be very different for people that have seen other Cirque shows and then come to see Amaluna,” says Pawsey. “Yes you still get fabulous circus acts, yes you still get wonderful acrobatics, yes you still get fabulous visuals with costume and lighting and the scenery,
but … it’s a different energy that we bring.” More than anything, a Cirque experience will be open to interpretation, and influence each audience member in an entirely different way. “I don’t really want to tell anybody,” says Pawsey, who believes that coming into the show without expectations makes the experience that much more overwhelming, “Apart from if they know nothing, they will be transported to hopefully somewhere they’ve never been, and they will experience emotion, and they will experience intention without hearing words, and without a story being told to them they will see a visual story and a visual depiction of what we want them to feel.” Most importantly, Cirque du Soleil is about inspiration, and encouraging everyone to push themselves to go after their dreams. “Because without dreams, what’s life about?” asks Pawsey. “We’re not surgeons doing operations that save people’s lives, but we can influence people’s lives enormously and that’s fabulous.” “The world’s a crummy place really, so you need to be able to be transported, and it’s fun. It also gives you a lot of hope, that anything is possible in life, because you see people do things that you absolutely can’t do yourself, but…why not? We’re all just human beings, you know? We’re all gifted in some way.” concludes Pawsey, adding, “I never thought I could work for Cirque du Soleil and look what happened. Everything’s possible.”
×× Melissa Dex Guzman
Local artist’s love of cats fuels creative output Celina Kurz × Arts Editor
46 issue N o . 11
To contact Aili Meutzner to book a portrait, see her website at Catauradrawings.wordpress.com.
in October advertising her custom drawings. She charges $40 for each, and they come with all the cat advice you want. The pieces are generally on 11x14 acid-free paper, although the size can depend on the cat: “I did recently tell a friend that, energetically, her cat would need a very large piece of paper for me to draw him,” says Meutzner with a grin. While she says she generally doesn’t have the same connection and understanding of dogs that she has of cats, she mentions, “I did a dachshund the other day, which I did not think I could do. I’m not a cat lady purist by any means.” The process is fairly casual: “Basically I show up, and they make me tea or coffee or they get me a beer ... It’s usually about an hour and we just hang out. If the cat’s moving, I just follow it around ... [The drawings] are movement based,” Meutzner explains, adding that the cat owner is just as much of a part of the process as the cat. “Half of it is
×× Katie so
Aside from her cat aura drawings, she also integrates art into her job, where she leads workshops for teens on subjects such as bookbinding and paper crafts, and explores her musical creativity via deejaying. Meutzner is also one of the organizers of a summer camp called Girls Rock Camp. “I do a lot of art for that. I think it’s all connected … it’s really who you connect with and who you keep in connection with, [and] maintaining relationships with people.” She credits her various creative projects – especially collaborative ones – for keeping her connected to the world at large. “A lot of my art has been very solitary … Doing these drawings and deejaying and putting on events is actually really important to me, otherwise I’d just stay at home with these guys,” gesturing to Phil and Aggie. Meutzner also points out the unique relationship of trust that evolves when making a portrait, and the value of that unusual bond: “People have been really trusting in it, even people I think that don’t get it. …[They] trust me implicitly in it, which has been really bizarrely good for my confidence and being sure with who I am.” “People have me over to draw their cats auras and pay me – that’s kind of a big exciting deal!” While it may seem a little “out there,” Meuntzer’s art comes from a place of genuineness that is refreshing, while reminding us that art can be something that connects people with a common love – and in this case, that love happens to be cats.
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“Phil, you’re being a bad little man,” Aili Meutzner, Emily Carr graduate and “cat enthusiast,” breaks from our interview to address Phil, an ex-feral tabby with “supermodel legs,” who has just attacked his cat-sister Aggie. The aura drawing that Meutzner shows me of him – one of many that she’s done of her two cats – is composed of bright summery colours, with lines that indicate flashes of ears and paws. Far from putting on any airs of mysticism, Meutzner is refreshingly down-to-earth and honest about her artistic process and what she does, expressing a pure and genuine love for “our feline friends.” “I’ve read a lot about auras and chakras but I don’t necessarily understand them. Part of this process has been understanding them,” she says. On top of caring for her two cats, adoptees from Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, Meutzner also feeds a family of feral cats down the street. “I really want to draw them … I guess I should have done that during the summer.” Drawing the auras of cats is a fairly recent artistic endeavour for Meutzner, whose primary employment is as a librarian at Vancouver Public Library. “It actually started as kind of a joke, to be honest. I was lamenting the fact that I don’t actually make a lot of art anymore,” she explains. “I was joking about ways that I could make money doing something I really loved doing and [that] felt natural, and this came up.” Meutzner created a simple WordPress website
chatting with the person. You get a huge sense of who the cat is from the person, or who the cat isn’t.” Meutzner uses pencil crayons, pointing out the colours as being key to expressing each cat’s particular energy. “They’re basically just blind line drawings, but it’s the colours … I drew a cat the other day who was devoid of any dark colours in her energy at all, it was all light colours and lots of ears,” she says. “Cats have different colour energies and those relate to different parts of them ... the way they move is very particular [to each one].” The free and loose style of the drawings differs largely from most of her previous work, which she describes as, “way more contained and way more methodical.” The exploration of this more open style has perhaps been a result of, or resulted in, her own comfort with herself, as she adds, “There’s just something bizarrely freeing about the cat aura thing, the energy thing ... [I’ve] finally hit a stride with being okay with being a little out there ... like being really okay with it.” When going through art school, Meutzner struggled with prioritizing art. “I grew up really working class, so for me it feels like a really big privilege to be making art,” she explains. However, by surrounding herself with friends who are making their living working as artists, she’s made some progress reconciling those issues. “[Being around working artists] has been really good for me,” she says.
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FEATURES The Charmed Life Features Editor ×
× s p e c i a l f e at u r e s . c a p c o u r i e r @ g m a i l . c o m
The wonderful world of magic in Vancouver Charlie Black × Writer How many young people today, since reading of Harry Potter’s magical exploits, have been patiently waiting for their letter of acceptance to Hogwarts (“I would have got it when I turned 11, maybe there’s been a mix-up”) in hopes of learning magic? Well, there’s good news and bad news: The bad news is, that Hogwarts isn’t real. The good news is, that magic is. Perhaps not the same kind of magic involving spells and potions, but there is a world of magic out there, and the scene is alive and well in Vancouver. “The magic scene on the west coast is extremely good ... you have a lot of connections coming through here,” explains Jonathan Hamilton, a local magician better known by his stage name, Jon the Magician (or, for children’s parties, Jonny B. Good). He specializes in close-up magic and children’s magic, dabbles in stage magic, and is a member of the Vancouver Magic Circle. Balancing a career in magic with undergraduate studies at Simon Fraser University, Hamilton speaks of magic passionately.
the string taut and the knot came off and hit me square in the forehead, and it added to the amazement factor.” Fuelled by a growing interest in his childhood, he wanted to learn how to do the tricks that so astounded him. “I bought a magic book from Chapters and went from there. After I got that book and started practising; [I met] a fellow who used to work down at Clowning Around [a magic shop on Granville Island], his name is Joe, and he said I should join the Vancouver Magic Circle.” The Vancouver Magic Circle (a chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians) acts as a sort of union for magicians, enabling upand-coming acts to connect, network, and gain employment for various events through a catalogue of talent featured on the Circle’s website. The membership process for the VMC is a somewhat rigorous one. One must learn how to do two or three tricks and practice them well, and then once admitted, the prospective member must also seek membership with the IBM, requiring two established members willing to sponsor and sign for the pledge.
A HISTORY OF MAGIC “[Early magicians were] using sleight-ofhand to make people think they actually had powers ... for wealth and money; then we come to where modern magic starts, with [Jean Eugène] Robert-Houdin,” a famed magician from France who specialized in conjuring, explains Hamilton. His performing days in the mid-19th century mark the shift to the start of modern magic. Robert-Houdin is most recognizable as the prototypical image of the magician, wearing a dress-coat and top hat. Robert-Houdin’s act inspired one young magician by the name of Erik Weisz, who used the stage name Harry Houdini, in tribute to his hero. Houdini popularized escapology as a style of performance magic, performing stunts where he escaped from a Chinese water torture cell and survived being buried alive. “Then magic started to go into a new era of comedy magicians. Then you get people inventing themselves, like Doug Henning, David
Copperfield,” says Hamilton, and the world of big-time entertainment magic, on television and in Vegas. Henning was a magician from Winnipeg, and the first person to seek a degree in magic, per a Canada Council for the Arts grant. He created his stage show, mixing theatre, music and illusion, later adapted to television and broadcast on NBC in 1975, including his daring re-creation of Harry Houdini’s water torture escape act. Doug Henning’s World of Magic aired annually for the next six years, earning Henning two Emmy Awards. “Now we have David Blaine and Criss Angel, [who perform] close-up magic,” which, as Hamilton says, brings us to today’s cultural understanding of magic. Blaine specializes in endurance art, taking after Houdini in attempting death-defying stunts such as being buried alive and encased in ice. Angel, best known for his television series Criss Angel: Mindfreak, attempts similar stunts, blending elements of illusion into classical escapology with rock-and-roll flair.
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WHAT THE HELL IS MAGIC, ANYWAY?
The world of performance magic is an incredibly diverse one, with many magicians and acts spanning different genres of magic, ranging from close-up magic (a more intimate style utilizing sleight-of-hand and illusion) to stage magic (the more traditionally-known style involving great spectacle) to many other styles. Magic, much like music, comes in many different forms and flavours, each with their own special offering to an audience. “There’s different types of tricks that lend themselves well to certain types of performance,” Hamilton elaborates, noting that a smart magician wouldn’t use a trick used for a very mystical, séance-style magic show in a children’s magic act. “There are other tricks you could do in many different ways that make [the performances] either funny or serious.” Genres of magic include children’s magic, parlour magic, street magic, stage illusions, close-up magic, manipulation, conjuring, séance, escapology and mentalism. These are many of the popular styles of magic, but not the only kinds, as styles can be blended or subcategorized. Music cannot be boiled down so simply into rockand-roll and hip-hop – just as magic cannot be so simply reduced to close-up or stage illusion. Vancouver’s magic scene, much like others around the world in major metropolitan areas, features performers talented in many genres, with children’s performers and close-up magicians being the most prominent.
GARNERING INTEREST ×× Shannon Elliott
Hamilton recalls his first experiences with magic being incredibly formative to his chosen career path and passion. “I saw a magician at a fair, and he did cut-and-restored rope ... he pulled
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THE MAGICIAN’S CODE Popular culture’s interpretation of magicians has traditionally been informed by the classical image of the magician, and a vague understanding of the greater nature of performance magic. Hamilton notes that in working as a magician, he hears a lot of the same clichéd comments. “If you’re working as a cashier, something doesn’t scan, you hear ’oh, I guess it’s free then!’ Same goes for magicians: after you do a trick, people are always like ’oh, can you make my wife disappear?’” With David Blaine and Criss Angel being widely televised and publicized magicians, people ask Hamilton if he can levitate. Hamilton keeps his standard response of “that’s out of my powers” handy, but notes that, “People, depending on how good they think you are, think you’re able to perform the exact same tricks they’ve seen David Blaine do. Everybody has their different pet tricks they specialize in, so you have to steer them away from that and do your best trick.” Also informing public opinion of magicians are characters like Gob Bluth of Arrested Development, and Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother. Barney, as played by Neil Patrick Harris, incorporates the actor’s actual ability as a magician into elaborate and interesting gags in the show’s narrative. Gob however, played by Will Arnett, promotes himself as an illusionist, eschewing words like “trick” and bungling everything he does for comedic effect. Gob Bluth’s character portrays professional magicians as people who can’t necessarily get a “real” job, something that Hamilton is keenly aware of. “What’s the difference between a pizza and a magician?” he sets up the classic punch line. “A pizza can feed a family of five. There’s arguably some
truth to it ... Some people think it’s a viable career profession, other people think you’ve just failed at life. It’s either that you’re going to be Copperfield, you’re stellar and amazing, or that you’re just going to do kid’s birthday parties, and you’re not that great.”
MAGIC IN VANCOUVER Vancouver Magic Circle boasts one of the largest memberships among Canada’s chapters of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, which speaks to Hamilton’s point that the popularity of magic is strongest in Canada near the oceans and in the larger cities. “Magic is mainly more focused on the west and east coasts … There’s a decent scene in Calgary,” but Hamilton stresses the strength and creativity of the Vancouver/West Coast scene. “Victoria has an actual magic shop [Murray’s Trick and Joke Shop, owned by] Murray Hatfield, who is a touring magician … Clowning Around [on Granville Island], unfortunately, is not a full-fledged magic shop, but is still quite good.” He mentions, as well, the strength of communities banding together. “There’s the Tri-City Convention now, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle have banded together. It’s also easy to go down to California … All these clubs you have on the West Coast collaborate together, which makes a really cool scene.” Conventions like the Tri-City Convention allows for many magicians to find new places and cities to perform in, and to support each other’s work while bringing new talent to each city. The creativity and the talent borne of the West Coast magic scene is one of Vancouver’s unique qualities, as well as how closely-knit, friendly and helpful magicians are to each other and to newcomers hoping to become magicians themselves. Noting prominent local magicians and big
names Mike Norden (Norden the Magician), Shawn Farquhar and Steve Dickson, all of whom have greatly influenced Hamilton in his craft, he adds, “I’m able to just go out for dinners with these guys and hang out with them. If somebody says ’Hey, there’s a magic show,’ we’ll get a group of about five of us just to go see what new magic is coming up in the area.” The possibility for collaboration, like any performing art discipline, enables performers to compare and engage in each other’s work, concurrent to the competitive nature that comes along with performing arts at times. Hamilton’s eyes glow as he boasts of Vancouver’s scene, “[T]he most unique thing about Vancouver is that you have shows [with] jugglers, burlesque, magicians … it’s coming back more to the variety act, everybody’s kind of working together.”
WHERE TO GO? While there are many magicians and events about town, Hamilton bemoans the lack of dedicated venues for magic in Vancouver. “There was talk about opening a theatre up in Whistler specifically dedicated to magic,” he says. This idea is still under discussion among Vancouver magicians, with plans to rent out The Columbia in downtown New Westminster shelved a few years ago. Though there are few specific venues, events can be found if you’re looking for them. Of special note is a performance that captivated the imagination of the Vancouver Fringe Festival this year, Travis Bernhardt’s “Lies!” The show was performed at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive to a regularly sold-out crowd, in which Bernhardt gleefully deconstructed the audiencemagician relationship. The show’s popularity demonstrates a certain hunger for magical entertainment, and reflects
the city’s cosmopolitan nature in how magic and other art forms are integrating into the creative conscience. “[Vancouver is] becoming far more open to different arts,” Hamilton muses. Magic has ingrained itself into performance in many other ways. Second Storey Theatre in Port Coquitlam was host to the 50 Hour Improv-a-thon this past November, with Hamilton performing tricks and illusions to inspire improvised scenes. While magicians in the Vancouver area are a thriving group, what makes it difficult to access them is the nature of a magician’s work: mostly a gig will come up where they bring their act to a corporate gathering, a birthday party or another event, and as popular as they are, magic events are hard to come by in dedicated venues. Bernhardt’s performance at the Havana, and Hamilton’s work at Second Storey Theatre, are essentially standalone events. What would truly improve and promote the scene would be more open-mic style showcases, or regularly scheduled revues for magicians and magic acts to shine in a more public way, rather than exclusively behind the closed doors of corporate retreats or in children’s backyards. Hamilton further recommends looking into magic conventions, like the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention (2013’s will be hosted in Vancouver, next November). “There’s the gala show, where the top performers perform, and that’s always open to the public,” he says.
DOING IT YOURSELF
Jonathan Hamilton can be reached through his website: Jonnybgood.ca, and the Vancouver Magic Circle’s website can be found at Ibmring92.com.
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Given the rich history of magic both in the world and in Vancouver, the future of the craft is a bright one. Depending on what trends emerge, magic could go anywhere. With shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Mentalist both showcasing magic fairly prominently in television, interest continues to grow. As for Hamilton, he mentions that he has toyed with the idea of following in Doug Henning’s footsteps and pursuing further self-guided education in the world of magic. “I asked [SFU] about doing a directed study in magic, and my teachers didn’t blow the idea off. They said make a curriculum, and we’ll see if we can make something out of it.” Hamilton offers some advice to anyone interested in becoming magicians themselves: “If you are watching videos on YouTube, go ahead and watch them, but go out and get an actual magic book or DVD, because ... there’s only a few [YouTube] videos which are actually any good.” “Find a magic club like the Vancouver Magic Circle. Once you can break past that barrier [of getting in], that’s when you can start to learn. Find people who you look up to, your idols, and try to be mentored by them. I’ve gleaned more information by going to conventions than I have from any book.” The world of performance magic is a truly spirited one, especially in such a supportive and adventurous community as Vancouver. Anyone interested in getting involved, whether as an audience or a potential performer, should definitely take the plunge. Stop waiting around for that long-overdue Hogwarts letter and conjure up some opportunities: Check out a magic show, hit up a convention, meet a magician, or pick up a book. If anyone aspires to be the next David Blaine, we at the Courier urge you: please be careful when hooking yourself up to any tesla coils.
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Features Editor ×
× s p e c i a l f e at u r e s . c a p c o u r i e r @ g m a i l . c o m
Celebrating Christmas sustainably Connor Thorpe × Staff Writer
46 issue N o . 11
For those who celebrate Christmas, the tree is often the central symbol of the holiday. Trees harvested for display on Christmas are traditionally of the evergreen family, often a fir or a pine – and in Canada, a country that boasts a thriving forestry industry, they are big business. According to Statistics Canada, 1.3 million Christmas trees were exported from Canada in 2009. But in a season in which people tend to embrace benevolence, how can consumers ensure
that their choices in the source and method of harvesting their tree are environmentally friendly and sustainable? There are a slew of options for acquiring a tree during the holidays. Big box stores like Ikea and Home Depot sell pre-cut trees, as do traditional independently owned tree lots, which often donate all or a portion of their proceeds to charitable causes. Some tree lots offer the option for customers to choose and cut down their own tree. However, do-it-yourself tree chopping isn’t just offered by licensed lots. Those who want to chop down their own trees can also acquire a permit from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations if they are over the
age of 19. Pre-approved permits are available online and allow holders the right to choose any tree on designated Crown land, which is essentially any area that is not reserved for any other purpose. While this is arguably the method that requires the most effort, it is by far the most cost effective – permit-holders are authorized to harvest three trees per family at no cost. The environmental benefits of do-it-yourself Christmas tree harvesting are evident in the potential for replenishment. Those who chop their own trees down are encouraged to leave the bottom two branches on the stump, which allows for the possibility of growth into another Christmas tree.
Consumers who don’t want to invest the time and effort into chopping down their own tree can still contribute to sustainability and humanitarian causes by purchasing a tree from a lot that is associated with a charitable cause. Aunt Leah’s, a traditional tree lot that has multiple locations around the Greater Vancouver area, describes itself as “the only business enterprise that dedicates 100 per cent of their profits to fund programs that help prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and young mothers from losing custody of their children.” Despite the fact that Aunt Leah’s markets itself as the only completely philanthropic outlet for Christmas trees, the practice of using partial
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proceeds from Christmas tree sales is relatively common. By conducting preliminary research, consumers can ensure that the tree lot they choose is charitable in a form they deem acceptable. Another option is tree sponsorship, as seen at the Dundarave Festival of Lights. Instead of selling the trees and donating the profits to charity, they operate a program in which local businesses, families, schools and community groups “sponsor” a tree that will be displayed at the festival. All proceeds go to the Lookout Emergency Aid Society’s North Shore Shelter, to feed the hungry and combat homelessness on the North Shore. The 20-year-old sponsorship program is entering its fifth year operated by the festival. In that time, the program has raised over $100,000, a number that “far exceeds [the] original expectations.” “The first year we presented the shelter as our charity, people were surprised to hear that there was a shelter on the North Shore. Over the years, we’ve found that people are better understanding the whole issue of homelessness on the North Shore,” says Mary Markwick, Director of the Festival. “Having one story, one issue, one charity as our focus, we feel we can make a bigger difference in the long run.” Those who are short on time but still want a tree can investigate tree delivery services, as well as those that specialize in sustainable trees. CarbonSync, a Vancouver-based tree delivery
service, combines the two concepts. “I think that the Christmas tree industry has had sustainable intentions but hasn’t been able to make it an established practice,” says Brad Major, the Chief Environmental Officer at CarbonSync. “The trees themselves sequester carbon from the atmosphere – however, they are removed from the farms, used for Christmas, then discarded. Normal disposal includes the landfill, or at best, biofuel (hog fuel). The real opportunity for sustainability is to take back the trees, to make carbon-rich soil to grow more trees.” Major has included his appreciation and knowledge of the environmental aspects relating to the Christmas tree industry into his own business. “The concept of sustainable arboriculture comes from our desire to have a business that makes profit [and] gives back to the environment. Because we deal with trees, we make wood waste [that] we recycle into useful soil products,” Major says. “We use our mulch in gardens, parks and for habitat restoration projects. Some wood waste is made into biochar, which is charcoal added to soil. When it’s combined with composted mulch it makes great soil for gardens, and it is carbon negative. Carbonized wood doesn’t break down and stays in the soil for hundreds of years longer than composted wood. It’s the most sustainable option we can think of.” Major argues that the Christmas tree industry is one that by nature should have the capacity to become sustainable – the tools and
knowledge are all there, but aren’t being employed to the degree and scale that is necessary to offset the environmental impact of providing trees during the holiday season. “Trees are typically an environmentally friendly crop. Like any farm crop, associated environmental concerns are soil fertility, pests and pesticides,” Major continues. “Pesticides are sometimes used on some species with specific pests. It is applied in the spring at a minimal dose and has no residue by Christmas.” With a little extra effort, those celebrating Christmas with a tree can offset, and even improve, their carbon footprint over the holidays. “The most environmentally friendly option is to grow your tree in a pot and bring it inside each Christmas,” Major explains. “For cut trees, you can cut them into small pieces with shears and add them to your garden or compost. This is a net gain of carbon and nutrients to your garden. For an extra step, char some of the wood and add the char to your compost.” Whether consumers buy a tree pre-cut from a lot or chop one down themselves, there is no doubt that real trees are superior when it comes to sustainability. Rick Dungey, National Christmas Tree Association spokesperson, outlined the benefits of real trees over fake trees. “All of environmental groups and all of the scientists say you should use a real tree,” he told National Geographic. “The debate is over. The only people still talking about it are the people trying
to sell fake trees.” But what about people who live in apartment buildings? Many buildings ban the use of real Christmas trees, citing the increased fire hazard presented by their presence in tenants’ homes. However, Vancouver’s then-fire Chief Gabe Roder told CBC that the concerns about the safety of real trees are exaggerated, saying, “We don’t feel they cause a tremendous fire hazard.” Still, bans on real trees are common in high-rise buildings in the Vancouver area and throughout the country. Major explains that, despite the incidences of negligent Christmas tree disposal, the harvesting and distribution of real Christmas trees isn’t the greatest threat to the environment during the holidays – those who opt for the more convenient, reusable plastic trees are doing more damage. He emphasizes the benefits of buying locally. “It helps to buy locally farmed trees to cut down on the carbon footprint of shipping trees from the USA,” he says. “Keep Christmas organic and go with a real Christmas tree. Plastic trees are the real environmental concern.”
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46 issue N o . 11
19 ×× REbecca Joy
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cap calendar November 26 Bruce Springsteen I went on a road trip in October (to Kamloops, but still), and we listened to Born to Run most of the way. Bruce is called the Boss for a reason, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of his beard, so that’s pretty cool. I love that Bruce vid with young bowl-cut Courtney Cox. That’s some classic shit. Also, Paul McCartney is rumoured to show up and that’d be pretty bad-ass. 7:30 p.m., Rogers Arena. $85-134.
November 30 Last day of class Holy fuck. It’s OVER. Can I die happy now? Is this forever? Does this mean I can just watch Gremlins and Back to the Future for the next month!? All day. Everywhere. Cost of director’s cut blu-rays.
December 4 WARRIOR IS RELEASED TODAY You know what I’m sick of of? People dissing me for loving Ke$ha. Back off, y’all! We’re both really nice people with really ambitious life goals. Where would the world be without someone like Ke$ha? Stuck back in 2008 with Jason Mraz. Try that on for size next time you feel like gettin’ up in Ke$ha and I’s hypothetical and physical grills. All day. JJ Brewis’ house. Cost of deluxe album and tribal paint.
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46 issue N o . 11
December 8 Hanukkah starts today! Hanukkah is sweet! It starts today! I’ve never really gotten the chance to celebrate Hanukkah but if anyone wants to invite me to their celebrations I’d be totally down. Right now I am prepared in that I like latkes a lot, and know the Dreidel Song! Also I am a fast learner. For the next eight days. Everywhere. Free?
December 12 Passenger I cannot possibly explain how awesome this guy is. When he opened for Ed Sheeran all the teen girls went crazy and were screaming“OMG!” but I just sat there in a crying mess letting the music wash over me in a nice music bath. Now Passenger is back by himself and I bought a ticket even though it’s at the same time as my French exam but somehow I’m going to do it all because I believe in the magic of 12/12/12. 8 p.m., The Vogue. $18.
December 13 Winter Harp Larp with some harp! Carols, songs, and stories, medieval style! Come hither! 7:30 p.m., NSCU Centre for Performing Arts. $34/37.
December 16 Happy Birthday Jill It’s our darling art columnist’s birthday today, and all of us here at the Courier couldn’t be more thrilled. We love you, Jill! If you wanna party Jill-style today, take a photo of neatly arranged objects, take a sip of a fine wine, and peruse Rodarte online. Don’t forget the red lipstick! <3 All day, everywhere. Cost of ice cream cake.
December 17 SantaLand Diaries Visits to Santa are pretty sweet. Polaroids, candy canes and a chance to ask Santa for that goddamn Mickey Mouse railroad set we’ve all been waiting for. This play apparently shows a less jolly side of Christmas though. I’m down. Check out our interview with the elf himself, Ryan Beil, in this week’s arts section. Arts Club Revue Stage, 7:30 p.m. $25-$35.
Calendar@ c a p i l a n o c o u r i e r . c o m
November 27 Disabilities Christmas Party The Students with Disabilities committee is getting into the Christmas spirit and holding their annual Christmas party. I personally am looking forward to How the Grinch Stole Christmas because one time I got to be Cindy Lou Who in the school play and I was so nervous for my one line but then it was over and everyone applauded and I was very happy. The end. 12 p.m., CSU Library Lounge. Free, get candy canes!
November 28 Evolving Geographies of Immigration in Vancouver: Histories and Horizons A panel examining research and practicebased reflection on how immigration has shaped Vancouver’s evolution. We don’t even have a joke for this, it just sounds cool! If you need a pal to go with, contact Natalie at email@example.com 6:30 p.m., Museum of Vancouver. Free!
November 29 UnCapped Rail Jam A snowboard and ski rail jam with prizes, gear, snow, music and hammers. What is this! I don’t understand. I tried skiing once and I legitimately skied right into a tree and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking cocoa in a lodge. At least this event is for charity which I am totally for. Obviously. What do I look like to you, Scrooge? The thought of Scrooge skiing is pretty good though. 12 p.m., Cedar building courtyard. Clothing or cash donation.
December 1 Happy Birthday Giles It’s our Managing Editor’s birthday! Everyone loves him. Including us. Mostly us. Celebrate our wonderful BG (baby Giles) today by sporting a black Fred Perry polo, eating pizza and listening to some scary Norwegian metal. We’ll gladly do all but the latter! We will also blow up balloons and draw cute Giles-esque bespectacled faces on them. \m/ All day, everywhere in the world. Cost of pizza.
December 2 Harp of Voices Wow, December really brings out the harps inside all of us. Joanna Newsom is sitting with a pet toad in a forest somewhere having an off-key orgasm. 3 p.m., NSCU Centre for Performing Arts. Free!
December 3 The Killers & Journey When I first heard Journey was coming to town I flipped out. I didn’t even know they were still together! And then the Killers announced that they were coming on the same day and I wanted to scream because life is so unfair that we live in a city that bands come to and of course they all come on the same night. 7 p.m., Rogers Arena. $30-$145. OR 7:30 p.m., Pacific Coliseum. $33-$66.
December 5 Printmaking sale This school has a really awesome visual arts department and printmaking is really wonderful. I would know, I used to be in it! I did a really cool print of Princess Diana and an alligator. Here’s your chance to buy similar prints. Or probably not so similar ones. 10 a.m., Studio Art 104. Cost of sick prints!
December 6 Zimt Chocolate Class When I’m watching a movie and one of the character’s “things” is that they don’t like chocolate, I’m always like, “Yeah right, I’m so sure, everyone loves chocolate and they just gave you that character trait because you’d be totally boring otherwise.” Anyway, now you can learn to make this gift from the gods. 6:30 p.m., 264 E 1st St. $40.
December 7 Johnny De Courcy / Dead Soft / Vision Loser Has anyone heard of this Vision Loser guy? Someone gave me his demo about two years ago and I was like “holy shit what is this.” I was actually sitting alone at an airport by myself headed to Montreal on a cold January night and I was so moved that I burst into tears. Well, this is his first “real” gig and also my first “real” opportunity to cry in public. 8 p.m., Guys & Dolls Billiards. $5.
December 9 Celebrate Solstice Winter solstice is one of those events that’s always a little mysterious, because how you celebrate it is a little more “liberal.” In this case, the event-makers have chosen a Santa hat-wearing owl as their mascot, which I think is a great sign. Learn more about the history and traditional plants of the midwinter holidays. 1:30 p.m., Stanley Park Nature House. Free.
December 10 How To Dress Well If you’ve already visited our Arts section for the week, you’ll be well-versed in Tom Krell’s moody, ethereal sounds. Either way, this is going to be a very moving live show filled with a healthy dose of synths and public crying. Public crying is my December passtime in case you missed that. 8 p.m., The Biltmore Cabaret. $14.
December 11 A Vancouver Christmas Tradition: Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean There are a lot of people who absolutely love this guy. I personally have never read any of his books but he’s now basically a Canadian literary celebrity and all his books have been on my “to do” reading list for at least two years. The best part is, he’s a CBC radio host and I just love CBC. And if you are on the radio you usually have a really nice voice to listen to. 7:30 p.m., The Orpheum. $35-$65.
December 14 Happy Birthday Cheetah! It’s now our Web Editor’s birthday! December is such a busy birthday month. Guess Cheetah’s parents really had a good time in March, huh? Well good thing they did, because without Cheetah, our paper and website would be a lot less beautiful. And so would our lives. Love you, girl. All day, everywhere! Cost of fancy dinner and swaggy outfit.
December 15 Nutcracker & Great Canadian Craft Fair A double holiday whammy! Take in a ballet and then go buy some quasi-last-minute gift items! Potentially a chance to see two nutcrackers in one day. Nutcrackers are scary :( Nutcracker: 2 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., Queen Elizabeth Theatre. $30-$87.75. Craft fair: 10 a.m., Salt Building. $4
December 18 Fee deadline day Did you make time in your chaotic holiday schedule yet to pay for the extremely expensive classes you’re going to skip in January? Better do it, or they’ll de-register you from everything and then when you have to fill your schedule back in, you’ll have a terrible time with 8 a.m. Monday classes. Fuck. Remember, they don’t take credit cards anymore either. Double fuck! Until 4 p.m., Cashier’s office. Cost of overpriced classes, waaah.
December 19 Downtown Christmas Every year two things happen: One, I go to the Christmas Market and spend money on sweet things and it’s awesome. Two, I think about how much I want to go skating for free at Robson Square because aren’t we the coolest city ever for having free ice skating in the winter, and then I don’t go because ice skating is hard and it hurts your feet and all I want is Starbucks. But seriously, combine those two things and it’ll be an awesome downtown Vancouver Christmas day. All day, downtown. Free-ish.
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December 20 Stanley Park Christmas Train Every year since I was a baby, my family and our best friend family (I think that’s how you describe this) have gone to this Christmas train. It rules even if it’s really cold, because you get to see a moose wearing a Santa hat and some other awesome things that I won’t spoil for you. Also you can do a deal where you also get a dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory aka my absolute favourite restaurant. Multiple times at night, Stanley Park. $14.
December 21 Last day of the Mayan calendar! Also known as “hug your mom” day. Remember that thing about 2012 ending? Well, this is our chance to find out. But will I die? Ask us tomorrow. (But probably yes). All day. Everywhere. Cost of bomb shelter.
December 24 Christmas Eve This used to be the day that my sister and I would drive around in the icy cold streets listening to the California Raisins’ Christmas album looking at all the rich people’s houses, and then go home to pre-open (and re-wrap) our gifts from a certain family member so that we could cushion the blow for Christmas morning. Apparently some hippie was born in a barn on this day too. Happy birthday, hippie. All eve, everywhere. Cost of Eve CD.
December 25 Today is Christmas. Here is what will go down in my house. I will stay up until 3 a.m., go to 7-11, buy a bunch of soda to stay up until 5 a.m. and wrap all my presents. Then one hour after I fall asleep, my sister will wake me up, my mom will make us a fruit salad and toast, and I’ll probably drink wine all day. We will open our gifts and I will be delighted that someone has bought me an Alexander McQueen pea coat. Then we will go out for Indian food. All day, everywhere. Cost of pea coat. December 29 Monsters Inc. 3D When I met Mike and Sulley at Disney World they were really nice but for some reason they decided to have a staring contest with each other with me in the middle and now I have a lot of photos where I have this really awkward look on my face because I legitimately have no idea what is going on. I’m excited to see my old friends again in 3D, because even if they freak me out a little I still love them. All day, multiple theatres. Cost of 3D ticket or free with Scene Points!
December 30 Christmas Movie Marathon Pull out all your Christmas movies (For example, Grinch, Santa Clause, Deck the Halls, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, Charlie Brown, The Holiday, Love Actually, Four Christmases, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story.) Yes, I have a lot of Christmas movies, Anyway, watch all of them in a row with a peppermint mocha and some Christmas-flavoured popcorn (I know you think “Christmas” isn’t a flavour but um yeah, it is.) All day, at your house. Cost of Christmas flavour.
January 1 2013!! Wake up, you hungover losers! It’s a new year! That’s such a weird concept. So, who is going to the polar bear swim? Who is going to start that diet? Who is gonna do all my laundry for me? Who is gonna help me lose 10 pounds and shop for a new suit at Top Man? Who’s going to hang out with that photographer dude from Grindr? This guy, duh! All day, all year (are we still alive?) Cost of new Moleskine planner.
January 2 SEA/LIFE Photo exhibit Look at this stuff! Isn’t it neat? David Elligsen’s photograph treats! Wouldn’t you like to know all... about sea life and everything? An exhibit about the interconnectivity between humans and sea creatures. 10 a.m., Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC. $12.
January 3 Grim & Fischer This sounds absolutely scary and fun. The Wonderheads, a duo of masked performers, portray an old woman and the Grim Reaper in this, a play about mortality. I don’t wanna die. 8 p.m., The Cultch. $26.79.
January 5 Amaluna - Cirque du Soleil This show is supposed to be amazing and it probably will be. Fun fact: a majority of their artists are women this year which is a cool new thing. Another fun fact: there are no words in the whole thing but you still feel awesome! For the full deets check out our Arts section this week! Until Jan. 13., Under the Big Top. $44-$105.
January 6 Last day of break! Hope you had fun. Ready to do more shitty sociology term papers? Because I’m sure not. Ugh, the world is bad. All day, everywhere except Capilano. Cost of bourbon.
December 23 Vancouver Calling: A Tribute to Joe Strummer and the Clash Oh man, a night of tribute performances to the Clash!? Yesss. Includes CR Avery, Jim Byrnes, Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother), Craig Northey (The Odds) and Colleen Rennison. Some proceeds will go to the Food Bank! Insert “Rock the Casbah” reference here. 8 p.m., The Electric Owl. Price unavailable.
December 26 Happy Kwanzaa! Today Kwanzaa begins. All day, everywhere. Priceless.
December 27 Heritage Christmas - Late Nights If you’re anything like me, you’re one of those people who gets really bummed as soon as Christmas is over. Possibly the withdrawals of mandarin oranges is already setting in, and the temptation to watch the Grinch is already creeping up on you. Well, here’s a fun, free festive light display filled with seasonal treats for the eye! I wish Christmas lights could just stay up all year, but that’s considered “trashy.” 12 p.m., Burnaby Village Museum. Free gate admission. Carousel costs $2.30. December 31 New Year’s Eve Oh joy. Another opportunity to make false promises to yourself about not skipping class, not drinking too much, not eating burgers every day and doing your laundry more than once a year. Also an opportunity to awkwardly kiss a random person at midnight. Let’s hope I end up at a party with that photographer dude from Grindr I’ve been sexting. This could be the moment. All year, everywhere (if Earth still exists). Cost of champagne and party hat.
January 4 Feature: Luminescence Light installations in addition to all the majestic creatures at the aquarium! Eels, origami, and LEDs. What more could you ask for? Get weiiiiird, y’all! 9:30 a.m., Vancouver Aquarium. $18/21.
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December 28 It’s a Wonderful Life This is seriously my all time favourite Christmas movie, and whenever I go see it as a play by the Arts Club I cry and laugh and remember how much I love this holiday. And then every Christmas Eve I force my family to watch it with me in joyful merriment even though they like A Christmas Story better but I hate that movie so much so It’s A Wonderful Life always wins because I like Christmas the most! Until Dec. 29, Granville Island Stage. Prices range.
December 22 White Christmas I went to this with my mom and sister last year. We bought tickets in what we thought was the front row. We sat in our seats and then these three dinks come up to us and they’re like “Um, those are our seats.” And they were totally right. Good news is that we got to move up one row and then our necks didn’t hurt because we weren’t looking up at the stage. Those losers tried to trade with us on intermission but fuck that. 2 and 8 p.m., Stanley Theatre. $29-$70.
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Opinions Editor ×
Elmo Doesn't Like Liars
Tickle me with false allegations Leah Scheitel × Opinions Editor
It is unnerving to think that Elmo, the sweet little red puppet who loves everyone and speaks in the third person, likes touching little boys. But on Nov. 12, accusations of sexual misconduct were slapped against Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo’s magic. The accuser, who has remained nameless throughout the scandal, stated that he and Clash had sexual relations when he was only 16. Clash didn’t deny having sexual relations with the accuser, but claimed that the accuser was 18 at the time, and that it was consensual. “I had a relationship with [the accuser]. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to make it into something it was not,” Clash said in a statement. He went on voluntary leave from Sesame Street while the allegations were being sorted, but it was all for nothing. On Nov.15, the accuser altered his story, and admitted that he was, in fact, 18 when he and Clash were together, and that his allegations were bogus. This is discomforting in so many ways. First, although Clash did nothing legally wrong by having a relationship with an 18-year-old boy, there is a moral factor. Clash was 47 when he had this relationship, an age gap of 29 years, and although the boy was of legal age, it is still questionable why Clash would want to be with someone who was technically still in their teens, and not even of legal age. He may have obeyed
the law but the moral compass he followed seems a little off-kilter, especially for someone who works with children on a daily basis. Embarking on sexual relations with people who are nearly three decades younger looks worse on him because of his occupation. Second, and this is more alarming than the first, is that the accuser made an accusation that they knew to be false in the first place. Defamation of character is damaging to a reputation. It is particularly toxic when the allegations deal with adult-child relations and the accused has an occupation that entitles him to be around children all of the time. This not only cast doubt upon Clash, but also upon Sesame Street as a whole. While they did take immediate action to investigate the claims, and asked Clash for his side of the story when the allegations first surfaced, many people could start questioning their ethics and screening processes: If the puppeteer of one of their most beloved characters likes
young boys, who else are they hiring? Making false accusations against a show of that esteem is horribly damaging to their reputation as quality educational programming for children, and may cause the general public to get the wrong impression about Sesame Street. And by making a false claim against Clash, the accuser also undermined people who actually do suffer from sexual misconducts. According to the Darkness to Light organization, which is dedicated to ending child sex abuse, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually violated by their 18th birthday, every year. Of these violations, 90 per cent are committed by people that they are familiar with: family, friends and community leaders. This is a staggering amount of violations against children, committed by people that they are taught to trust and look up to. By making false accusations, people are demeaning the violations that happen to the ac-
tual victims, and seeking attention in the worst kind of way. By making this joke of a claim, the accuser, who is now 23, not only lied, but defamed Clash, Sesame Street, the charming puppet Elmo, all whilst making light of the suffering that millions of children go through every year. Also, by constructing a lie of this size against someone in Clash’s occupation, he made it less believable that incidents of child abuse actually occur. Children are sometimes not believed and even blamed when they get up the courage to talk about sexual abuse, and false accusations about it aren’t going to make it easier to believe the children who actually need help. If anything, it’s going to add skepticism and doubt to real claims of abuse. Sexual abuse of children is a real problem within our society, and should not be taken lightly. False claims are detrimental to everyone involved, as now even the accuser looks like an attention seeking, mean individual who needs some kind of psychiatric help. He caused more pain to Clash, yet was equally responsible for his actions in the scenario. Clash may want to re-evaluate who he spends his time with, as some 18-year-old boys are not as innocent and childlike as they appear.
×× camille Segur
It’s snot that weird to pick your nose Celina Kurz
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46 issue N o . 11
× Arts Editor
I just looked at my cat and she was straight up licking her own butt like it was no big deal. Why then, as humans, do we create such heavy social stigmas around something as harmless as picking our noses? For most people, the idea of picking one’s nose is disgusting, as it’s largely seen as unacceptable behaviour. Some even deny doing it altogether, which in some ways relates to the “girls don’t fart” myth. While it’s difficult to find much solid data on how many people participate in booger picking, one study done in 1995 stated that 91 per cent of participants admitted to nasal intrusions. Interestingly, 25 per cent of participants thought that no one else did it – which means a small percentage of them were doing it and thinking they were totally alone, in boogery solitude. When activities that are natural become taboo, our society suffers. We isolate parts of ourselves, hiding habits that we do that we think are “gross,” which can result in unhealthy neuroses. If such a high percentage of people actually do pick their nose, as that study suggests, there’s a good chance that some of those people are actually shaming other people for activities they do themselves. Nose-picking is so prevalent in our society that doctors have special names for the activities surrounding it. The act of picking one’s nose is
referred to by medical professionals as rhinotillexis, while the eating of boogers is called mucophagy. Of the two, mucophagy is far more discouraged, but neither is particularly encouraged. If you Google “picking your nose” (and who hasn’t), the majority of links that come up lead to online forums, where either parents are wondering how on earth they can stop their child from eating boogers so that they don’t get made fun of at school, or people of all ages who are wondering whether or not picking their nose or eating their snot is normal. Alternatively, there are entire threads about wiping boogers on walls, but that is a whole other story. When reading through these forums, the opinion that booger eating is actually healthy and strengthens the immune system arises occasionally. Many of those upholding this opinion refer back to one source – Dr. Henry Bischinger, an Austrian lung specialist working out of Innsbruck. Dr. Bischinger is quoted as saying, “With the finger you can get to places you just can’t reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system ... Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.” In other words, similarly to when you get a vaccination, the germs in boogers are
deactivated enough to make your body produce antibodies without actually making you sick. Even in articles pointing out the dangers of nose-picking, they mostly refer to the damage that can be caused by over-zealous picking, indicated by nosebleeds. In an interview with Times Union, Gene Stone, author of Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, says, “The cold virus is passed into the body through the mucus membranes, most of which reside in your nose. If your fingers are contaminated through contact with an infected surface or person, sticking your fingers directly into your nose can cause an immediate transfer of the virus to your own body.” So if you wash your hands before picking your nose, you’re hardly compromising your health. Stefan Gates, in his book Gastronaut, goes as far as to say that “our body has been built to consume snot,” reasoning that that’s what happens to the majority of the mucus we produce when it’s moved inside by our cilia. In some situations, it can be dangerous. Rhinotillexomania is diagnosed when an individual picks their nose compulsively – sometimes hours a day – which ups the possibility of tissue damage within the nose as well as infection in the nose. Rhinotillexomania is associated with dermatillomania, or obsessive skin picking, and various psychological disorders. However, this is an extreme situation; when exercised casually, most facts point toward nose-picking as generally harmless.
Despite all this evidence pointing towards its non-danger, societal discouragement of rhinotillexis and mucophagy is the norm. Whether it shows itself when a nose-picker in a television show is laughed at by a studio audience, or via a concerned parent who sincerely wants the best life for their child, we are told that it’s something to be ashamed of and embarrassed about. Something that is that genuinely natural for us to do as animals shouldn’t be made that shameful by society. Next time you feel the urge to pick, do yourself, and society, a favour, and embrace the world of boogers.
×× celina Kurz
12-11-23 10:44 PM
LOYALTIES AND ROYALTIES
Artistic identity questioned in unlicensed ads JJ Brewis × Editor-in-Chief
×× Tiare Jung
For many musicians, ad placement is a lucrative way to promote their music. This is not a new concept, but with declining record sales this is now artists’ easiest route to monetizing their work. While many musicians have been criticized for “selling out” in lending their music to companies for use in advertising, it’s actually a smart endeavor. But a dark side exists to the whole process – a side where businesses and politicians scoop up music
and haphazardly apply it to an ad campaign without consent. Taking the artist’s cultural identity without their consent is detrimental and uncouth. Manchester, England post-rock group WU LYF (World United Lucifer Youth Foundation) posted to their Facebook page about a recent car commercial that uses their music for advertising without approval from the band. The statement fixates on a tasteless social element in the advertisement that the band doesn’t condone. “To anybody interested as to why we are featured in a Toyota Advert,” the band wrote, “we have not consented to this, we have not earned a penny from this and on behalf of the band I am fucking angry about this.” The two-minute clip, White Trash Beauty created by the ad group Happiness Brussels, promotes the Toyota GT86. The commercial shows a series of men arriving home with brand new GT86s. The men appear brash and unruly, enjoying brand new expensive automobiles while their respective wives and girlfriends throw emotional fits and have breakdowns. It’s an exercise in gender dominance, coyly using stereotyped power schemes – all for the sake of car branding. Throughout the video, WU LYF’s “Heavy Pop” plays in the background. While the initial shock for the band was likely that their artistic output was used without permission (see: not getting paid), the fallout was more in the video’s content itself. “We too are interested to know why our music is featured in a sexist sports car advert that encourages men to live out their “inner chauvinist,’” the band continued. While using music to endorse ads has become common practice, sometimes an artist will never get a chance to see the ad their creative work is being lent to. In 1987, “Revolution” became the
first Beatles song to be used in an ad. Despite the fact that it had gone through the proper licensing, the three surviving Beatles attempted to sue Nike for the commercial. More recently, Ian Curtis of Joy Division was used in a Converse ad alongside Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Long-time Curtis fans were outraged suggesting he’d never have agreed to such a thing. The will of late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch revealed, “In no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes,” an attempt to legally withhold his artistic output and personal image from future business maneuvers. While it’s one thing for artists to get recognized for selling their song to an iPod commercial or for Lana Del Rey to lend “Born to Die” to a benign Nespresso ad, the stakes are higher here. For those who don’t look too far into the story, they’re going to wrongly assume WU LYF is glorifying the act of being a chauvinistic pig. With only one album to their credit, WU LYF is still relatively unknown in the mainstream music scene. An ad such as this is detrimental to their cultural identity. They may end up getting paid for the usage of their music in the clip, but the fact will always remain that their music provided a backdrop for a tasteless macho advertisement that does not match with their philosophy. The Guardian’s Sean Michaels reports that the band may not even have a say about whether their song is used in advertising, despite the negative ad content or its relevancy to the music. “Wu Lyf might not have to consent for their music to be used in an ad. Months before the Manchester group released their debut album, they had already signed a publishing deal with Universal Music, and some deals allow the publisher to license songs.”
The world of politics has also applied the business model of sheepishly using unlicensed music in its campaigns. This summer, Silversun Pickups sent a cease-and-desist order to Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for using the band’s song “Panic Switch”. The band’s singer and guitarist Brian Aubert released a statement saying: “We don’t like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don’t like the Romney campaign,” continuing, “We were very close to just letting this go because the irony was too good. While he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign, we doubt that ’Panic Switch’ really sends the message he intends.” The political realm is in some ways an even more detrimental battleground for unlicensed music placement. While most artists can end up citing lost earnings in court for unlicensed ads, in the world of politics, the public is likely to associate an artist’s music to the campaign it accompanies, whether it has been cleared with the artists or not. John McCain’s 2008 campaign used a half dozen artists’ work without permission including Heart and Foo Fighters, and Michele Bachmann’s failed presidential platform got into hot water with its usage of Tom Petty’s “American Girl”. Whether it’s in the selling of cars or political promotion, music licensing is a multi-million dollar industry. Artists have every right to promote their music and earn money from endorsing products. But when an artist loses the artistic right to discern which organizations use their creative output for branding purposes, it’s time to change the entire scope of licensing laws. The music sphere has a lot to deal with before it blindly signs itself up for something even more detrimental.
Cloud #10 Pavel Bure’s jersey retirement overdue Charlie Black × Staff Writer
46 issue N o . 11
back 60 goal seasons, Bure belongs in the rafters. Anything less is an insult. The “Great Debate” about Bure’s number being retired comes from him being amazing when he played here, and yet Vancouver wanted him to be even more. Canucks fans set incredible expectations that sometimes cannot be met – true of any player these days, from Roberto Luongo to Alex Edler and everyone in between. Recently, reports surfaced that Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini had flown to Florida to visit with Bure, reportedly to tell him of plans to fly #10 in the Rogers Arena rafters. The weeks ahead will tell how this endeavour goes, if indeed this is the case. Bure was a spectacular player in his short time in Vancouver, where he spent most of his career. The team should honour him for how spectacular he was, not pull him down for how much more spectacular he could have been.
12. 16. 19. Anywhere else, these might be arbitrary numbers, but in Vancouver, they are hallowed by what they represent. To any hockey fan worth their salt that follows the Vancouver Canucks, these numbers stand for the on-ice heroics of past captains Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund, respectively. If any number should join them next, it should be #10, Pavel Bure, the Russian Rocket, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2012. Since making a splash in Vancouver even before he played his first game for the team in 1991, Bure solidified himself as one of the most electrifying
he landed in North America, September 6, 1991). When Bure asked for a trade, the team agreed to make it happen but never did until he had to take drastic measures. Bure kept mainly to himself, in contrast to Smyl, Linden and Naslund who, as captains, each performed great feats both on-ice and off-ice with community and charity work. However, retiring a player’s jersey number is not contingent on community service. Boston Bruins legend Phil Esposito recently said about Bure: “You’ve got to play seven to 10 years and do some big things – including winning.” Understandable as it is that Esposito, a two-time Stanley Cup winner among Art Ross and Hart trophy decorations in nine seasons with the Bruins, would say so, this simply doesn’t work for every team. As each team sets its own precedents for honouring players in their organization, what works for Esposito and the Bruins does not necessarily work for the Canucks. Despite never winning a Stanley Cup, the Phoenix Coyotes have retired six numbers, three of whom played during the team’s time in Winnipeg as the original Jets. Much to the chagrin of reminding Canucks fans about the lack of a Stanley Cup to their name, they have come amazingly close. Stan Smyl led the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup final in 1982. Bure, along with Trevor Linden and the 1994 squad, brought the team within a goal of winning the Stanley Cup in New York. 2011 saw the Canucks within one game of a fierce battle for the Cup, propelled onwards by Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who themselves are a lock for jersey retirement when they end their careers. For the double overtime goal in 1994 to bury Calgary, for the lightning-fast rushes up the ice, for his record setting points totals, for his back-to-
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×× katie so
players in the NHL. His speed, scoring ability and work ethic brought legitimacy to a fledgling Canucks team’s Stanley Cup dreams in 1994. So why isn’t his number flying in the Rogers Arena rafters? Bure’s exit from Vancouver was a storied one. In the offseason prior to the 1998-99 season, Bure told the Canucks he would not play in Vancouver despite having a year left on his contract. Rumours told that he had demanded a trade and wanted out of Vancouver, finally culminating in being dealt to the Florida Panthers in 1999. More rumours flew about his rocky relationship with then-head coach Pat Quinn. Even wilder rumours surrounding him suggest ties to the Russian Mafia, with many defected Soviet hockey players at the time linked to reports of extortion attempts on players’ families still in Russia. As time went on, Bure was linked to Anzor Kikalishvili, a suspected Russian mob boss. Though Bure had long denied Kikalishvili was involved in criminal activity, he did not refute that they were indeed business partners. Simply enough – Bure was a private person, taken out of his element by his superstar status. He can hardly be counted as a selfish person, in regards to his trade requests, when one considers his reluctance to defect from the Soviet hockey system, for fears that if he left, they would come down hard on his little brother Valeri (now married to Candace Cameron of Full House fame) in the junior system at the time. Under Pat Quinn’s control, the Canucks organization had been condescending to Pavel in regards to renegotiating his entry-level contract, insisting on paying him in Canadian dollars, and to a lesser extent, refusing him his preferred jersey number of 96 (to commemorate the day
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Opinions Editor ×
Santa is an acronym of satan Ho-Ho-Holidays Rock
× Writer The fact that people are complaining that the Christmas season is arriving too early is a groan-inducing First World problem. Having the excuse to spend more time with friends and family while sporting a hideous sweater that can only be used for this one season is amazing. Why does it have to be spoiled with negative feelings about the whole thing? The holidays are the best time of the year by far. They put everyone in a great mood and seem to be able to cheer up even the grouchiest of people. It’s one giant birthday party, and if anyone should be able to celebrate their birthday for an entire month, it’s Jesus. The fast pace of the holiday season is what I live for. By the time November comes around, I’m more than ready to bake cookies and go caroling in the pouring rain. Or drink copious amounts of rum and eggnog while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Although it’s a common gripe for many that Christmas comes too early, especially in regards to capitalism and consumerism, to me the earlier the holidays come around, the better. Some see the early appearance of Christmas advertisements and decorations as an insidious conspiracy by big businesses to get the little guy to spend more than he can really afford. To me, the early influx of holiday themes and decorations are pretty innocent. Department stores are hardly holding a gun to peoples’ heads to spend; they’re just encouraging it. In late October, Canadian retailer The Bay already had not one, but five 25-foot Christmas trees decked out in festive regalia. While some shoppers looked confused by the out-of-season tree, I couldn’t have been happier. It marked the beginning of two whole months of shopping, rich food and Charlie Brown Christmas specials.
And do we realize how spoiled we sound to complain about the happiest time of year lasting too long? In Canada, it’s gets a later start than our American neighbours. Big-box retailer Target unveiled its first Christmas advertisement in mid-October, much to the horror of its American shopper, who wouldn’t be sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner for more than a month. They’re bombarded with Santa Claus, while still shopping for pumpkins. But what is our beef with Christmas? Why do we complain that the season that reminds everyone to be a little bit nicer to one another is too long? Everyone is more generous, old friends and family come to visit, and there’s a lot more food to go around. It acts as a yearly reminder that smiling at strangers is okay. And let’s be honest, if we’re complaining at people smiling at us because of a joyous season, then we sure are one lucky culture.
× Humour and Fiction Editor There are some benefits to Christmas: cute little children ride little trains in malls, elated to see Santa (the one and only!) in-person; we all get gifts and cards and eat better than most other holidays; and dwarves get acting gigs, which is awesome! But personally, I worship at the temple of reality. It’s dreary out there – no snowballs, no jingle bells, no candy canes, no mythical creatures or mouldy traditions. When I think of Christmas, I think of the shopping mall frenzies, the half-hearted cards, the dusty boxes of horrendous pre-historic ornaments and nativity scenes, those gingerbread house kits that smell like cinnamonspiced manure, the outrageous square footage (or acreage?) of wasted wrapping paper, and the phony Telethons which attempt to compensate for a naughty discriminatory Santa who doesn’t bring stuff to the poor kids who have been real good! Christmas sets in motion the murderous maelstroms of dysfunctional families. You have to tell each of your small town senile aunties the whole story of your life. Generosity and fraternity? Bullshit. Christmas spawns parking spot
×× Stefan tosheff
wars, envy, class-consciousness and silly hollow pride. It’s when we define ourselves and compare ourselves by the number and value of gifts we got. (I get socks and a book, you get a trip to Europe: fuck you, I’m jealous). All of this hoopla is supposed to be for one day, and the few days leading up to it. It’s not supposed to be a VISA-sponsored consumer fest that starts in October and ends in February. [Insert: Conspiracy theory – Christmas was created by ad agencies hired by VISA and Coca-Cola.] It’s supposed to be the holiest of Holidays, and yet it is a blatant symphony of selfishness, envy, greed and showmanship. Christmas is emotionally exhausting with its imagery. After the 27 Christmas Carol versions on TV, Michael Caine dancing with Muppets, and those horrible biblical TV movies made with dollar store costumes, I need quality entertainment. Not that I’m the type of person who wants to watch Bad Santa on Christmas – it’s depressing enough without Billy Bob Thornton f-wording his way through a more than pathetic mid-life crisis. Screw that. You know when I like watching Christmas movies? On Halloween. Christmas is not a happy time. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, depression rates are the highest in November and December. That’s because everyone feels pressured to be happy! Christmas is a massive exercise in escapism. We stop reading the papers, we stop occupying Wall Street, we forget about our debts and our real problems, and we tell lies to children about the existence of Santa Claus. This season is like this elaborate surprise party for Jesus even though we know he’s the ultimate no-show. Why would you rather celebrate his first birthday if he was born again?! Easter is way cooler – we celebrate the miracle of rebirth with the most miraculous of all things: chocolate. I’m okay with that. Oh, by the way, enjoy your new socks.
Question:: Do you think the Christmas season lasts too long?
I think it should start right after Remembrance Day – because it’s all about family stuff for me. It’s like a whole season, it’s not just like Dec. 25. And the baking, and music, and stuff. -Shelby Jenkins
I think it’s supposed to be for December. It starts way too early – in November, it’s like two months away. -Srdj Milacic
I like that people put that stuff up, but its like – you’re not even done Halloween yet and you already have your Christmas stuff up. Celebrate one holiday at a time. -Aimee Grant
I think everybody’s different. I think it would be kind rude for you to discriminate against what people enjoy. It doesn’t bother me if someone wants to celebrate Christmas in November. It’s fine. -Alia Yancey
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46 issue N o . 11
The only thing that bothers me is when people leave their Christmas lights up outside until the spring or later. -Emily Nagel
12-11-23 10:44 PM
RETURN TO NEVERLAND
Peter Pan syndrome a symptom of society’s bigger problem Samantha Thompson × Copy Editor
Peter Pan said: “Once you’re grown up, you can never come back.” Lucky for him, he lives in Neverland, the place where you never have to grow up and can spend your days fighting Captain Hook and rescuing Tiger Lily. It sounds
like a high-quality way of life – relatively free of stress, high emotions and complicated responsibilities. Strangely enough, some people in the real world are suffering from similar symptoms – they’re choosing to live a life in which they never grow up, and don’t take on adult responsibilities. Adults resonate with “childish” things because of nostalgia. Watching The Little Mermaid brings back a host of memories related to a simpler time, reminding people of a childhood filled with happiness, or a time when they could find solace in animated movies. And adults shouldn’t be required to enjoy only “mature” things because they have aged past childhood. Truly reaching adulthood means that you recognize the freedom to make decisions for yourself and enjoy whatever you want. The Peter Pan syndrome, however, is a label given to those adults who still have the mind of a child. Although the World Health Organization has not yet recognized it as a psychological disorder, articles on the subject suggest that there are a growing number of adults who are demonstrating emotionally immature behaviours. According to Humbelina Robles Ortega, a professor for the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment at the University of Granada, “It usually affects dependent people who have been overprotected by their families and haven’t developed the necessary skills to confront life,” as she told Science Daily. She says that those with the syndrome “see the adult world as very problematic and glorify adolescence, which is why they want to stay in the state of privilege.” Symptoms of the condition include an inability to take on responsibilities or keep promises, a significant obsession in appearance and personal well being, and a lack of self-confidence. Because there’s a fear of evaluation, people suffering from the syndrome will often trade in their partners for younger ones – so that the level of commitment can remain relatively low. A society that enables this syndrome is problematic because it facilitates rejecting the idea of growing up, thereby impacting the society’s evolution. If people refuse to mature, they will not seek out professional jobs, find partners, or even potentially have children so that the life cycle will continue. Society will end up in a state of stagnancy, but it’s important to recognize that those who experience this syndrome are suffering because of the society in which they live. The syndrome is often borne out of a situation where the person has been protected for much of their life, given very little independence, and not made to make any decisions for themselves. As our culture has changed, we’re seeing an increase in this trend
of “bubble children” – where the parents are so protective of their child that the child cannot do anything lest they be injured. In an environment like this, there is no chance for the child to learn things for themselves, through experimentation. The child is used to not having to make decisions, and as a result the transition to adulthood can be all the more daunting. In 2011, Kay S. Hymowitz argued in Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys that because of the rise of women at school and in the workplace, there’s a greater number of men suffering from the Peter Pan syndrome. Hymowitz said that the change in gender roles has men uncertain about their social role in society, and has brought about a new prevalence of the “man-child.” “With women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles – fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity – are obsolete, even a little embarrassing,” she said to the Daily Mail. She argued that because single young men are able to live affluent lives free of family responsibility, they are able to live in “pig heaven.” Instead of putting up with it, women choose instead to go without a husband or kids, or just go to a sperm bank, she says. “But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men’s attachment to the sandbox. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do. They might as well just have another beer,” she said. Although Hymowitz’s theory supports gender stereotypes, the social order of the past that she refers to strengthens her argument. Generally speaking, there were very defined gender roles, and men and women knew exactly what they were supposed to do. Today, there’s (thankfully) more freedom and gender roles tend to be more liberal with people having a greater ability to do exactly as they see fit. While this is important for a free, progressive society, this is the reason the Peter Pan syndrome has been on the incline. There’s no manual for how to be an adult, and often we make decisions without knowing the full impact of them. This notion is what frightens people into remaining childish. To keep Peter Pan in the storybooks, we need to encourage each generation to experiment, to try new things, and to make decisions for themselves. We need to establish that failure is not a bad thing, and if mistakes are made it is so that we can learn from them to be more successful next time. This gentler approach will make adulthood a less terrifying idea.
46 issue N o . 11
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×× Miles chic
12-11-23 10:44 PM
we're hiring! the capilano courier
is looking for columnists for the spring semester
Columnists will submit one 750-900 word piece bi-weekly in 6-7 installments beginning in late December and ending in April. Topics can vary and are at the discretion of our editorial staff. An umbrella topic (“music”, “sports”, “politics”) of your choice dictates the column’s content, and each instalment should speak to a different sub-topic within that topic.
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12-11-23 10:44 PM
caboose Editor ×
Why Christmas used to be scary, not dumb
Peter Warkentin × Writer Many people today think that the tradition of Christmas is dated; the lights, lawn ornaments, and kitschy consumerism of it all can seem pretty tacky. But the winter holidays weren’t always like this. Almost 2000 years ago, before the Christianization of Northern Europe, pagan proto-religions were the popular belief system among Germanic and Scandinavian tribes. The winter solstice was not only a time of merriment and light, but also a stark reminder of the darker side of winter. It was these celebrations that gave birth to the legends that eventually evolved into the character of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus. But instead of being accompanied by eight fuzzy reindeer and chubby Keebler elves, good ‘ol Saint Nick used to travel from house to house with a terrifying rotation of creatures straight out of your nightmares.
Here are a select few, which we’ve deemed “most likely to haunt your dreams”: Knecht Ruprecht was a hulking, dirty, bearded man with a limp leg, covered from head to toe in animal furs. Upon arrival to houses, he would demand to know whether children were able to pray or not. If they could, he would reward them with fruit, nuts, or gingerbread. If they couldn’t (seriously, it’s not that hard), Knecht Ruprecht would beat them with a switch or bag full of ashes. He’s got all the bases covered: breaking and entering, aggravated assault, and battery of a minor. Perhaps the most offensive of Santa’s companions was Zwarte Piet, which translates to “Black Pete.” Zwarte Piet was a black-skinned, red-lipped devil who was shackled and enslaved by Saint Nicholas, forever forced to serve as a lackey. I repeat: shackled and enslaved. I’m not making this up. What makes this legend even crazier is that it’s still common practice to “celebrate” it in the Netherlands. Every year, Dutch people break out
the blackface and go around in public, giving out heaping handfuls of candy and racial intolerance. Seriously, look this up on the Internet. It’s nuts. If Mr. Tumnus from Narnia started worshipping Satan and developed a crippling addiction to plastic surgery, he would probably end up looking something like Krampus. Perhaps Saint Nicholas’ most terrifying counterpart, Krampus was a hairy, goat-like demon with curved horns and a long, pointed tongue. He travelled with St. Nick, ringing a bell and stuffing naughty children into a sack. These children were then brought back to his lair and eaten alive. And you thought that getting a little coal in your stocking would be bad. So while you’re out carolling, sharing gifts, and guzzling eggnog this holiday season, just remember that wintertime wasn’t always about being kind, generous, or even remotely politically correct. Many of our modern holidays are simply tamed, more pleasant versions of pagan rituals from eras past, and not necessarily to their benefit.
×× Peter Warkentin
STRIP WIZARD CHESS JJ Brewis × Editor-in-Chief
side of his much-too-tiny undies, attempting to cover the mark, but failing. “Don’t be shy, Malfoy. Let’s see.” Perhaps it was the heavy amount of shots he’d taken out of Pansy Parkinson’s cleavage, but Malfoy’s inhibitions were much lower than normal. How could he have let this happen? He’d specifically gone back to the Slytherin dorms to shower alone after Quidditch practice, just in the hopes of people never discovering his tattoo. But it was too late now. “Fine,” Draco said, shyly. “I’ll show you. But if this gets to anyone in my family, I’m going to find out which one of you told them, and…” Then, again, a burst of laughter, twice as loud as the first. “Is that the ‘N Sync logo?” Hermione burst out. “Draco, I had no clue you were such a big fan!” Draco scrounged to find his pants, but they were missing. The mischievous looks on Fred and George’s faces were a clear indicator he’d be spending the rest of the evening in his skivvies, ass tatt on full display. Perhaps these pre-holiday get-togethers weren’t the best idea after all. But this was the first year a tit had popped out before the clock even struck midnight.
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×× susan li
feeling kind of hungover, I better be…” Malfoy ran over to Ron and snatched the gift out of Ron’s hand before he could explain the confusion. “What kind of a crappily wrapped hunk of shit is this?” Malfoy laughed, sneering at the sparkles and twine curled around the brown packaging. “Looks like a bloody muggle wrapped this with his nasty hands.” Throwing the paper aside in a frenzy, Malfoy’s notoriously pale face gained colour for the first time since Quirrell had that pomegranate growing out of his neck. “Is this some kind of a sick joke!?” Malfoy held up the “Princess” nightie up to himself, a look of murder within his eyes. “Weasley, explain yourself!” The guilt of the situation was too much for Hermione. She rose up and separated the two. “Ron, I’m sorry,” she fake-laughed. “Thanks for playing along. You don’t like the gift, Malfoy?” she asked, holding the small negligee up to herself, biting her lip and raising her eyebrows in a seductive manner. “I don’t suppose you want me to wear that,” Malfoy said, his anger cooling. “No,” Hermione retorted. “The nightie is only half the gift. The other half is that I’m going to model it. Just for you.” “Well, it’s about time I get going back to the Slytherin dorms. My train leaves early tomorrow. Night boys,” Malfoy said to his classmates. “Hermione, I’m not sure I can find my way back.” “Oh, I’ll show you how to get there. I know a shortcut.” “Oh, and Ron,” Draco quipped, his bare white ass still hanging out. “If you end up finding those pants of mine, you can keep them. I had your name for Secret Santa. Happy Holidays, Weasley.”
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“If you fucking tell anyone about this, I’ll turn you into a puking pastille.” The tension in the common room was growing with the burning passion of a thousand philosopher’s stones. Malfoy unzipped his charcoal wizard-issue trousers, and tossed them into a corner, revealing the pastiest white legs framing a dainty and spotless pair of tighty whities. Strip wizard chess. Un-fucking-believable. If the professors ever knew about this, they’d not only be going home for Christmas the next day, but unlikely asked to return in the spring. Imagine if Mrs. Weasley knew that all night Ron and Ginny had been doing casual lines of floo powder and listening to Slipknot? “Briefs?” Hermione guffawed. “Now I’ve seen everything. Even Viktor Krum wore a jockstrap.” Ron’s corners of his mouth pouted downward. It was becoming more apparent that the night was going to be even more of a shit show than the last year. “Draco, didn’t your little mummy get the memo? Boxer briefs are in. Those are the kind of underwear little boys wear.” “Shut your fucking face, Mudblood,” Draco spat. “When I’m done with you, you’ll forget you even knew what clothes were.” “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Seamus Finnigan yelled from across the room. “Malfoy, cool your shit.” As Seamus’ eyes narrowed toward Malfoy’s crotch, he could barely contain the laughter. “Hold on a minute, man, why are those underwear so small? Your parents are rich! Why don’t they buy…” Malfoy stood up and held his wand at Seamus’ throat before he could even finish. The entire group turned around to see how it played out and suddenly a roar of laughter broke out among the entire student body. “Malfoy,” Neville inquired. “Is that…is that a tattoo on your ass?” Malfoy’s attention from Seamus was gone instantly, as he tugged at the back
“At least let me go next,” Pansy Parkinson whined, hunched over in the corner over a Fireball pumpkin sour. “I’d rather put it back in my robe or at least have both my boobs on display.” “It’s my turn, blimey,” Ron shouted. Between Draco’s incessant bulge and Pansy’s loose cannon display, it was hard for him to concentrate on the fact that this would be the year he’d finally give Hermione that goodbye kiss before the holiday break. Her gift was stashed in his luggage upstairs – a soft lacy nightie with “Princess” hand-stitched by himself. “I’m bored,” Hermione rang. Her nasally voice and ability to withhold her irritating nuances was even lower under the influences of so many substances in one evening. “I think it’s time for Secret Santa.” Ron’s face went bright red. Redder than all the faces and hairdos of all his siblings put together. “What’s wrong, Ron?” Hermione coyly asked. “Did you forget to buy a gift again?” And he had. “Ron’s just being silly. Aren’t you Ron?” Harry asked. “You’ve got that one you have wrapped upstairs. I guess potions exams made you forgetful!” Harry raced upstairs and grabbed the gift, but upon arrival Ron cornered Harry and tried to get him to listen. “Okay!” Hermione shouted. “We drew names, and the first name is Malfoy! Who had Malfoy’s name? Didn’t you, Ron?” Ron shuffled back to the staircase, trying to conceal the parcel. “Uh…I’m
12-11-23 10:44 PM
caboose Editor ×
Holiday Shot gun reviews
DOGS Samantha Thompson
PJs Thomas Finn Hearn
MY CHRISTMAS CAKE Lauren Gargiulo
SKATEBOARDING SANTA Celina Kurz
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but dogs seem to be the Christmas animal du jour. It used to be the cat, because if you look at all the Christmas sweaters from the ‘80s (which I did the other day for two hours because I was supposed to be writing a paper and I am the Ultimate Procrastinator), they’re all covered in pictures of cats. Cats wearing Santa hats, cats kissing under the mistletoe, cats frolicking in the snow... Anyway, all these have now been replaced with adorable little puppies, and for good reason! Number one, dogs are way cuter than cats in a Santa hat, but number two, dogs have helped Santa more times than I can count. There was Santa Paws, and 12 Dogs of Christmas, and The Dog Who Saved Christmas – all classic Christmas films! The only time a cat is involved in Christmas is when he’s being grumpy or when the nice dog has to rescue the loser from the top of the Christmas tree where he got stuck. Seriously. A Christmas without dogs is like a Christmas where we live in Whoville and the Grinch comes and steals all our presents and we cry until Max the dog comes to save the day.
You know what my fondest memories of Christmas are? Getting a new pair of pyjamas. I am certain many of you can relate. You wake up, run downstairs, open up your presents and at the end of it there’s always pyjamas! As soon as you get those PJ’s on you don’t take them off for the whole day. Awesome – well almost. See, as the days go by and you’re well into New Year’s and Easter it becomes apparent that your new pyjamas are still Christmas-themed. What bullshit! Seriously, why can’t we have more holidaythemed pyjamas? Why does Christmas get all the love? If you are buying your loved ones pyjamas this year don’t get any with reindeer. Plan ahead get the restless ghost of Dick Clark, the Easter Bunny, hell go the full nine, get Halloween themed PJ’s. Don’t discriminate against other holidays, they need love too! I won’t rest until I get my Leprechaun PJs!
Panettone is the best thing about Christmas! Not presents, or snow (ew). The best thing is fighting your brother and your dad for the last slice of happiness, and winning. Seriously, it’s the only thing I eat Christmas morning. For those of you who have no idea what panettone is, it’s one of the many cakes that Italians have throughout the different holidays. (The dove shaped Easter cake – the Colomba di Pasqua – is also amazing). Lighter than a fruitcake, and less gross, there are candied orange bits and raisins in them, however it’s perfect, so the raisins are forgiven. Remembering all the names for all the different kinds of Italian cakes however, is almost as hard as learning Elvish. All you need to know is that panettone = good. Good for eating, and coveting, and swinging the box around over your head if you feel like hitting someone, but don’t actually want to hurt them. Some complain it can be a little dry: dip it in your coffee. It’s heaven. Oh yeah, and it comes in chocolate too, it’s called Chocottone. Mangiamo!
When I was in elementary school, this was the song we sang every single year. At the time I don’t think I realized how awesome it was, probably because I didn’t really know what skateboarding was. The song tells the story of a hot, hot December. The children sit in their beds on Christmas Eve, wondering how they will get their presents if there is no snow and Santa’s sleigh is unable to work, or something (not really sure why this would be a problem because his sleigh flies but that’s how the song goes). Anyways, all the kids are worried but HEYO! Santa shows up on his FUCKING SKATEBOARD, “a vision of speed and incredible skill.” The second verse is just a list of tricks that he does. What a crazy idea for a song! If you can’t picture it, just Google image search “skateboarding santa” and you’ll get it. “Merry Christmas all you skaters, and a happy New Year.”
BAD boyfriend Katieso.tumblr.com PHIL SPECTOR I don’t want a Christmas gift from you! NATIVITY SCENES Cute. Just don’t put them on your acting résumé.
the capilano courier
46 issue N o . 11
SECRET SANTA Should be a better kept secret.
THE NUTCRACKER Come get your nuts cracked. GINGERBREAD MAN How can you be both bread and cookie? EMPTY GIFT BOXES “Yes they’re useless, son, but the tree looks better in the pictures.” GIFT BOXES FULL OF NEWSPAPERS AND OLD MAGAZINES “Fooled ya, didn’t I?”. GIFT BOXES WITH ACTUAL GIFTS “What? You said you needed earmuffs. You showed me the picture.” EARMUFFS Are not headphones. “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” K.
12-11-23 10:44 PM
Published on Nov 26, 2012
The Capilano Courier's 11th issue for the 2012/2013 year. THE MAGIC ISSUE! Features: Vancouver magicians, Christmas trees, Harry Potter fan...