The Georgia Straight - Lunar Fest - February 11, 2021

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FREE | FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021 Volume 55 | Number 2765





This year’s celebration will feature lanterns by Indigenous artists from Canada and Taiwan, including Reretan Pavavaljung



Rename Gladstone secondary after iconic Rosemary Brown



Of the 18 secondary schools [in Vancouver], not one is named after a woman.

– Gurkamal Brown and Dr. Joy Masuhara

This is significant, as it demonstrates the impact that representation has in shaping our communities, that we are shaped and reshaped by who we choose to hold in high esteem. It follows that who we hold up in our education systems and throughout our communities matters and that we have opportunities to recognize the diversity of great leaders who have made incredible contributions to our society. As Canada continues to reckon with its historical and ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples, many have called for the renaming of schools named after proponents of colonialism such as Sir John A. Macdonald. It is understood and recognized by many that allowing school names to uphold proponents of colonization sends 2



The Year of the Ox is about to begin on February 12—and the organizers of LunarFest have a cornucopia of videos and some cool lanterns on display to celebrate the occasion.

by Gurkamal Brown and Dr. Joy Masuhara

omen make up approximately 50 percent of Vancouver’s population. But of the 109 schools within the Vancouver school district, the number named after women fall in the single digits. Of the 18 secondary schools, not one is named after a woman. When we think of the names of the schools in our communities, do we know who they are named for? Can we think of schools in our communities that are named after Indigenous, Black, Asian, and other racialized leaders? Can we think of schools that are named after women? The answer is very likely “no” for many of us. As we are having impactful, collective conversations around big topics like justice, racism, sexism, accountability, and representation, we need to ask ourselves what it means for our public education system to not only refuse to acknowledge racialized and women leaders but to hold up some of the most violent and discriminatory leaders, such William Gladstone, for whom Gladstone Secondary School is named. With his father’s vast plantation scheme in the Caribbean directly benefiting him and his family, Gladstone, a former prime minister of the U.K., advocated strongly in opposition to the abolishment of slavery. Coming to terms with this history, Gladstone has been disowned even by the university of his hometown, Liverpool.

February 11 – 18 / 2021

By Charlie Smith



It’s going to be a busy year in real estate, and several factors related to the pandemic have already energized a usually sleepy January. By Carlito Pablo



The Valentine’s dine-out ritual might not happen for some couples this year, but these reds, whites, and even a bubbly can help set the mood. By Rachel Moore

11 Rosemary Brown was a feminist leader, MLA, and educator. Photo by Royal B.C. Museum.

the wrong message to young people learning within those institutions. In recognition that the histories of Indigenous and Black people on this continent are intertwined due to colonization, we believe it is time for Gladstone secondary to follow the lead of Liverpool University to change its name to one that its students and the wider community can genuinely look up to. It is Black History Month. When we think of leaders that we can continue to be proud of, one of the worthiest names is that of Rosemary Brown. Rosemary Brown was the first Black Canadian woman elected to serve as a member of the B.C. legislature and the first Black woman (second woman ever) to run for the leadership of a Canadian federal party. She made countless contributions to our community and to our country, and as an accomplished Black woman, she is a meaningful role model to replace Gladstone. There are many, many other outstanding women, such as Nora Hendrix, Vivian Jung, Bessie Chan, Harminder Sanghera, Muriel Kitagawa, and Grace MacInnis. Together, we are calling both for Gladstone secondary school—as well as for other schools and public spaces across Vancouver that uphold colonial and sexist harm—to transition their names to honour Black, Indigenous, Asian, and other racialized women. In doing so, we will teach our children that they can and should aspire to be positive members of their community, and that they must never be afraid to break barriers. We invite you to join us in advocating for Gladstone secondary and other schools and public places to be named to equitably represent all women. g Gurkamal Brown and Dr. Joy Masuhara are on the board of Women Transforming Cities. Dr Masuhara is a Gladstone secondary graduate.

FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021


“Resurrecting Dead Fairy Tales”, a free online lecture by a “rock star” folklorist, reveals the truths behind our sanitized children’s stories. By Charlie Smith

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EDITOR Charlie Smith SECTION EDITORS Mike Usinger (ESports/Liquor/Music) Steve Newton SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Lucas (Cannabis) STAFF WRITERS Carlito Pablo (Real Estate) Craig Takeuchi SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT Jeff Li ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER Janet McDonald

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Demand for detached homes puts the wack in Chilliwack. Unauthorized insurance for strata corporation leads to $25,000 fine for brokerage. Dr. Bonnie Henry on variant case increases, healthcare outbreaks, and more. Vancouver drag performer to compete on The Great Canadian Baking Show. The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show was pleasing and disorienting. @GeorgiaStraight


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LunarFest celebrations herald the Year of the Ox


by Charlie Smith

he pandemic hasn’t been easy on the organizers of Vancouver’s annual LunarFest celebration. Last year, COVID-19 was creating havoc in Asia just as Lunar New Year approached. And fears about the novel coronavirus spread across the Pacific Ocean just as the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association was organizing its giant Coastal Lunar Lanterns display at Jack Poole Plaza. This year, on the eve of the arrival of the Year of the Ox to ring in Lunar New Year on Friday (February 12), the organizers were thrown another curveball by the pandemic. That’s because the Coastal Lunar Lanterns display, featuring the work of Musqueam and Taiwanese artists, can no longer be shown at Jack Poole Plaza as planned. Instead, these enormous pillars are going to be installed in the plaza on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery, ideally by Thursday (February 11). They will remain there until the end of the month. A separate display of six other lanterns—originally intended to be there as part of the We Are a Family installation— will be placed at a different location once it’s identified.

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Last year, the Coastal Lunar Lanterns installation was placed in Jack Poole Plaza near Coal Harbour, but this year it will be displayed on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery (photo by Joseph Chang), with Musqueam artist Susan Point’s family providing four of the designs.

The We Are a Family lanterns are part of a different community project organized by the Society of We Are Canadians Too, which is headed by Charlie Wu. This organization was founded in 2017 to promote public appreciation of arts and culture and to forge connections between diverse communities. But fear not, LunarFest will go on with a cornucopia of virtual events. In addition to the Coastal Lunar Lanterns, LunarFest offers a multitude of videos and images showcasing family dinners on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, family portraits and stories, crafts for young students in local schools, and fortune-telling that mixes Taoism with romance. Wu told the Straight by phone that members of three generations of renowned Musqueam artist Susan Point’s family—including her son Thomas Cannell, daughter Kelly Cannell, and granddaughter Summer Cannell—have created designs that will be wrapped around four of the Coastal Lunar Lanterns in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. They will be placed alongside four other lanterns with designs created by a Taiwanese Indigenous family, the Pavavaljungs, from the Paiwan people in the southern part of the East Asian country. “We wanted to expand the definition of family from individual families to community to, in a sense, the world and nature together,” Wu explained. He added that this reflects Indigenous thinking on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, where human beings are not seen as separate from the animals and plants that surround them in the world. This year, LunarFest has added augmented reality to the installation, which enables passersby to use an app on their phones to learn more about the artists. “It’s

FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021

We want to make sure [LGBT people are] seen and celebrated as well. – Charlie Wu

all free,” he said. That attitude of bringing people from diverse backgrounds together is also reflected in the We Are a Family community lanterns. Wu said that artists from a variety of communities—including an Italian Canadian, LGBT person, and Filipino Canadian—were invited to present their art on huge pillars. Wu noted that in some families, LGBT people are sometimes left out of Lunar New Year celebrations. “We want to make sure they’re seen and celebrated as well,” he said. One of the more amusing components of this year’s LunarFest is a video showing the matchmaking role of a Taoist temple in Taipei. Wu said that before the pandemic, it attracted large numbers of Japanese tourists who went there in search of love. There’s an actual matchmaker god carved on the premises, and, according to Wu, the temple also welcomes gays and lesbians who are looking to find the right partner. In addition, there are seven versions of this matchmaker god that they can take away with them in their suitcases. Other videos filmed in Taiwan are bunched together in the “Melting Pot, I Think Not” program. Wu explained that because Taiwan has managed to ward off the worst of COVID-19, he was able to invite newcomers there from Thailand,

Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia for a discussion about their cooking. They had some things in common—for instance, all boiled food in pots—but some never used the term “hot pot” to describe these creations, unlike the Taiwanese. “Through this conversation, they talk about their own culture and how they celebrate the new year,” Wu said. LunarFest also features a video of the Taiwanese author of a new book, The Untold Story of Shacha Sauce, who explains how it originated from Malacca in Malaysia and made its way back to China. Then when the Chinese nationalists moved to Taiwan following the Chinese Civil War, this sauce became popular in the island nation. “Taiwanese don’t know about that,” Wu said. “They think it’s their own staple food, but the origin is from Malaysia. It’s very much like satay; however, there is no peanut in it.” Lunar New Year is associated with the massive use of firecrackers in Asia to scare away beasts and evil spirits. In Canada, the LunarFest organizers came up with a different way to reflect this tradition. Wu said that almost 3,000 students in Vancouver and Richmond schools were encouraged to create nonexplosive firecrackers out of paper. Then they were asked to reflect on what they wanted to change about themselves or the world in the wake of the pandemic as a New Year’s resolution. Then they wrote this on the paper firecrackers. “We made a video showing them how to pop it,” Wu said. “They were having a lot of fun.” g For more information on LunarFest, visit the website at


Family Day activities abound, out and about or virtually


by Steve Newton

ebruary 14 is Valentine’s Day, the day you’re supposed to show your deep and abiding love for that special someone, that one-and-only, that eternal soulmate. February 15 is Family Day, the day you’re supposed to forget all about that eternal soulmate and focus on the kids. They need love too, ya know. One holiday option is to virtually visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum for its 90-minute Arctic Adventure. The free online event kicks off with a presentation by VMM programs supervisor Dennis Chen about the Arctic ecosystem and includes craft time and a discussion about how climate change is impacting the Arctic. There’s also a storytime program for kids four and up in which intern Nikki Hashemian will read about the Arctic adventures of polar bears, walruses, narwhals, and belugas. If the kids are old enough to appreciate art and culture, Family Day at the Museum of Vancouver means putting on the masks and heading down to the MOV to check out ongoing exhibitions like Haida Now, which features an unparalleled collection of more than 450 works of Haida art, and Neon Vancouver / Ugly Vancouver, a collection of neon

Grouse Mountain (above) and other local ski hills will be open on Family Day, offering plenty of opportunities for snowshoeing, snow tubing, and tobagganing. Photo by Grouse Mountain.

signs from the 1950s through to the 1970s. The Kids Art Walk at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre on February 13 is a self-led event exploring public art at and around the Roundhouse. Families can arrive any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to pick up their activity guides, then find all eight artworks and return to collect a free art-activity package. Families that want to be part of a community portrait on the windows of the Roundhouse main entrance can have artist-in-residence Sarah Ronald trace their silhouette through

the glass and later fill in the outlines with brightly coloured window paint as part of a temporary art installation. Over at New Westminster’s Fraser River Discovery Centre, from February 13 to 15, there’s Family Fun on the Fraser, featuring family-friendly crafts, games, and activities, all related to the mighty Fraser. Kids can explore the tracks and replica skulls of B.C. wildlife, learn about the Fraser’s Pacific Salmon while creating their own fish using simple origami techniques, and explore

an underwater world using DIY water scopes. Admission to the FRDC is free, but preregistration is required and donations are appreciated. (All visitors age six and up must wear masks.) Family Day at Nikkei Centre on February 13 features a free workshop with Seiji Nakayama where families can create a mini desktop/tabletop bonsai featuring Japanese maple trees and moss. The workshops take place at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m., and registration is required. If your family members are outdoorsy types, last time we looked the local mountains were still there, so visits to Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress are always an option for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and tobogganing. Not to mention having hot chocolate afterward. Although Family Day is definitely a time to appreciate those closest to you, it’s a bonus if you can reach out and support other families as well, especially during these pandemic times. Some family-focused charities to support this Family Day include Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Mamas for Mamas, Boys & Girls Club, and Backpack Buddies. g

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High sales, lower listings set stage for hot market


by Carlito Pablo

evin Skipworth doesn’t think there’s anything traditional about Vancouver’s real-estate market. That said, Skipworth, a partner and managing broker at Dexter Realty, recognizes that both home selling and buying generally follow a seasonal pattern. To illustrate, most sales and listings happen during the spring market, which typically starts around February and March. Activity slows down in the summer, when many people are on vacation. The market picks up again in the fall, then quiets down in the winter. “January is typically a slow month,” Skipworth noted in a phone interview with the Straight. In prepandemic times, Skipworth recalled, many people were away during the Christmas season. Or, if they were at home, they didn’t do much in the early weeks of the new year that followed, which is still winter. However, going by the numbers for January 2021, the spring market looks to have gotten off to an early start. In his additional role as Dexter Realty’s chief economist, Skipworth prepares semimonthly market reports for the company. This is why he is very much on top of what is happening. “We don’t usually see that amount of activity in the beginning of January,” Skipworth said. On February 3, Skipworth released his January 2021 report. His reports combine residential and land sales in the market covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). In his latest, Skipworth cautioned readers: “Please fasten your seat belts.” Last January, 2,454 sales were made in


Fewer people are going out, but home sales haven’t slowed. Photo by Gennifer Miller / Unsplash.

Greater Vancouver. The number represents a 53.1 percent increase from the 1,602 sales in January 2020. It also means a 119.1 percent rise over 1,120 deals in January of 2019. The report also notes that the January 2021 figure constitutes a 28 percent increase from January of 2015, which is “long considered the peak year for Greater Vancouver housing sales”. “Another telling stat: during the boom year of 2015, the benchmark January home price was $648,700,” the report continues. “This January it was $1,056,600. Yes, we are into an unprecedented seller’s market.” The high number of sales in January 2021 was coupled with declining listings. “Total active listings in January 2021 were 8,820, down from 9,307 in January 2020 and from 11,427 in January 2018,”

the report notes. With the current pace of sales, there is a “mere four months of inventory in the entire Greater Vancouver housing market”. The strong January 2021 start comes on the heels of a record year for real estate. In a report on January 5, the REBGV stated that 30,944 homes sold in 2020. That number represents a 22.1 percent increase from the 25,351 sales recorded in 2019. The REBGV covers Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, and Whistler. The market also performed well on a national level despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In a January 15 report, the Canadian Real Estate Association stated that 551,392

homes were sold in 2020. This represents a 12.6 percent increase from 2019. Robert Hogue prepares housing-market analysis and forecasts with RBC Economics. He wrote in a January 13, 2021, report that the 2020 market was “full of bidding wars, escalating prices and exasperated buyers unable to find a home they can afford”. “We expect this to largely continue in 2021,” the economist predicted. “We see little that will stop activity or prices from reaching new heights in the year ahead.” Hogue projected that the national benchmark price will rise 8.4 percent, to $669,000. Meanwhile, home resales are expected to increase 6.5 percent, to 588,300 units. Statistics Canada also forecasts a strong market for homes in 2021. In a report on February 4 this year, the federal agency observed that residential construction costs rose 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. As for 2021, the agency noted: “Shifts in homebuyers’ preferences to accommodate working from home combined with historically low interest rates and increased optimism for the reopening of the economy as the vaccine rollout begins are factors that should continue to drive demand for housing and put upward pressure on residential building construction prices.” Dexter Realty’s Skipworth said that many have also saved more money for a down payment. There wasn’t much to do in 2020 because of travel and lifestyle restrictions. Likewise, there will be first-time buyers coming into the market. Plus, people who put off buying during the past few years may make their purchase this year. For the bottom line, Skipworth said, “It will be a busy year in real estate.” g

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FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021




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Cannabis side effects no one wants to discuss


by John Lucas

t might be the cannabis industry’s dirty little secret: smoking weed doesn’t always make you feel good. I’m not talking about the psychoactive effects, mind you. Just about everyone is aware that some individuals can experience feelings of anxiety and paranoia after toking and that certain strains can trigger these more than others. No, I’m talking about the impact that smoking cannabis may have on the user’s body. Pot can have unpleasant side effects, but they don’t exactly get a lot of attention, especially among those with a vested interest in selling a squeaky-clean, user-friendly image of everyone’s favourite plant. Start poking around the Internet in search of the truth about cannabis and its effects on lung health and you’ll quickly realize two things. First of all, there’s a lot of information—an overwhelming amount. Second, a lot of what you encounter will contradict the “facts” you find elsewhere. What, then, should you believe? That depends largely on which sources you trust. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), for example, has created a fact sheet called “Cannabis Exposure and Lung Health”. It’s a

Research suggests that chronic cannabis use may damage airways. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

carefully curated selection of quotes from a variety of journals, mostly contrasting the effects of cannabis with those of tobacco. NORML cites a review of existing studies published by the journal Chest. Author Donald P. Tashkin notes that “habitual marijuana use in the manner and quantity in which it is customarily smoked” has not been shown to be “a significant risk factor for the development of lung cancer”. Chest reports essentially the same findings for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD), a group of lung diseases that in-

cludes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and some kinds of asthma. The journal does point out, however, that cannabis smoke is “associated with an increased risk of symptoms of chronic bronchitis and evidence of inflammation and injury involving the larger airways”. Tashkin also notes that pot smoke contains volatile and particulate components found in tobacco smoke. These include “a variety of chemicals (phenols, aldehydes, acrolein, etc) that are injurious to lung tissue, and carcinogens, including benzpyrene and benzanthracene”.

Let’s be perfectly blunt here: inhaling smoke—any kind of smoke—is bad for your lungs. As the Canadian Lung Association tells us, this is because “the combustion of materials releases toxins and carcinogens. These are released regardless of the source—whether it is burning wood, tobacco or cannabis.” What, then, is the truth? Can smoking cannabis cause lung cancer or not? Good luck finding a definitive answer to that question. Read through peer-reviewed medical studies, though, and you’ll find ones that seem to conclude definitively that it can. For example, in 2008, researchers in New Zealand concluded that “Long term cannabis use increases the risk of lung cancer in young adults.” Clearly, there’s lots to consider—and we have only discussed lung health so far. g


FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021




Step outside the chocolate box this Valentine’s by Mike Usinger and John Lucas


Great gifts to give this February 14 include (left to right) gift boxes from YVR Cookie, East Van Roasters’ Heart Collection, Ultraviolet Oddities dolls heads, and Jackson’s self-care collections.

f you look at it from a certain point of view, this should be the easiest Valentine’s Day ever. That pressure you usually feel to plan the most amazingly elaborate date the world has seen since Mark Antony wooed Cleopatra? Don’t worry about it. The simple act of Googling “most COVIDsafe restaurants Vancouver” should earn you plenty of points from your significant other. That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, though. In fact, it’s all the more reason to put a bit more effort into your gift-giving. Could you swing by Walmart and throw a

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170-gram sack of Great Value milk-chocolate hearts and a plush bear brandishing a fake rose into your cart? Sure, you could. But you won’t, because you’re better than that, and the love of your life deserves more. For those who want to do better but can’t think of how, we offer the following suggestions, each of which will show your darling that you didn’t just grab the first thing you saw in a red box. Best of all, they are all from local artists, food artisans, and retailers. Because you love your city too, right? YVR COOKIE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT BOX

Look, we like donuts and cupcakes and macarons as much as anyone, but they’ve each had their moment to shine. Cookies might never become as trendy as those other confections, but so what? Nothing says love like a fresh-baked batch of cookies. We get it, though—your oven has been commandeered by whoever in your life has made mastering the sourdough arts their pet COVID project. We would say that a box of treats from YVR Cookie is the next best thing, but who are we kidding? These are better than anything you could make at home, and with flavours ranging from standbys like Chocolate Chunk to mouthwatering creations like Coconut Kit Kat and Red Velvet Brownie, you really can’t go wrong. Unless your significant other doesn’t like cookies, in which case you might want to start questioning your life choices. ($44 plus shipping for a box of five or $96 plus shipping for 15 at JUKE FRIED CHICKEN LET’S CLUCK




There’s a line of thinking that says cooking has brought couples who both work at home closer together. Which is, of course, downright idiotic. How many times do you have to tell your loved one that steaks are supposed to be blue rare and bacon chewy rather than crispy before they get it through their goddamn thick skull? And don’t get us started on the correct way to cook ahi tuna, season chili, or boil water. Actually, now that we think about it,

FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021

the only people who like cooking together are the ones who need something new to fight about. Ignore the stove—and the scrapping—by ordering in Juke Chicken’s Let’s Cluck Fried Chicken Bouquet. What you get is eight pieces of what might be the most sinfully delicious, addictively crispy chicken in the city, wrapped in festive paper. We’re talking great enough to take the sting out of the fact you won’t be going to Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans anytime soon. Chicken can be pre-ordered online and then picked at Juke, at which point you can bring it home and start arguing endlessly about why dark meat is 10 times superior to white meat. Which it is. ($30.45 at EAST VAN ROASTERS CHOCOLATE HEART COLLECTION

Maybe you’ve vowed to be more imaginative this year. No more Valentine’s Day clichés! While we applaud your good instincts, we’d like to try to change your mind by drawing your attention to one particular heart-shaped box. (And no, that is not a Nirvana reference.) This assortment from East Van Roasters includes such delights as Mayan spiced truffles, raspberry rose hearts, and a lemonmocha Buddha. That last one suggests that perhaps true enlightment is achievable, and that it comes coated in delicious locally made chocolate. (That was a Nirvana reference, but to a different type of Nirvana.) ($40 for a 17-piece box or $70 for a 38-piece box at eastvanroasters. ULTRAVIOLET ODDITIES DOLL’S HEADS

For a day that’s supposed to be all about eternal love, Valentine’s isn’t exactly about gifts made to last. Some folks have no problem cellaring that February 14 bottle of Champagne Krug for a decade or two. Or making the 24-piece box of Mon Paris Patisserie chocolates last until Halloween of the following year. But as sure as Miranda July is a stone-cold DIY genius, you,

me, and everyone we know are not those kind of people. And that makes the idea of giving a Valentine’s Day present of art, instead of consumables, doubly attractive. Emily Carr alumna Violet Patrich works in a number of mediums, including photography, taxidermy, and sculpture. We’re beyond-obsessed with an ongoing project that has her source second-hand dolls from thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist ads, and then turn the reclaimed heads into art. Acting fast is the key for collectors—no sooner does a robin’s-eggblue Bowie (complete with Ziggy Stardust thunderbolt) go up, than he’s seemingly gone. Same for the flame-red Ozzy with the black devil-horns and cobalt-blue eye, and Seth (complete with a pre-Brundlefly visitor on its forehead. We know what you’re thinking—dolls are creepy, especially the ones found abandoned in attics or lurking behind the furnace in unfinished basements. Patrich’s, which double as cactus planters, aren’t. Even when adorned with nose and lip rings, lifeless shark-black eyes, and postPennywise clown motifs, they all look like they want to be loved. Just like all of us, especially at Valentine’s. ($40 to $95 with free shipping at JACKSON’S COMFY CARE BOX

From the never-ending torrential downpour outside to the ever-looming threat of a certain pandemic, it can be a scary world. You could certainly do worse than deciding to cocoon at home with the one you love. Jackson’s General makes that easier with this box brimming with products for home- and self-care. Whether you choose the $50, $75, or $100 version, you’ll be giving the gift of locally crafted comfort, including goods from the likes of Salt Spring Candle Co., Gastown Soapworks, Plenty + Spare, and Jackson’s own in-house brand. Think bath bombs, candles, body butter, and writing journals. ($50, $75, or $100 at Jackson’s General, 1490 Kingsway, or at g


Set the mood this Valentine’s Day with these wines


by Rachel Moore


ecause of the pandemic, Valentine’s Day will be relatively lowkey this year. But if we know one thing, it’s that a good bottle of wine can turn even the dullest of celebrations around. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of wines that will impress your partner or provide superb company to those spending the Hallmark holiday solo.

With aromas of spices, ripe black fruits, and wood, this wine will have you salivating the second that it’s uncorked. The Five Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Merlot is made with grapes sourced from Mission Hill’s five growing areas in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. This dry Merlot is particularly dark in colour and fruit-forward in taste, with hints of blackcurrant and pepper. It pairs well with Gorgonzola or blue cheese, roasted chicken, pastas with tomato-based sauces, turkey, and roast beef.

ROAD 13 2018 SYRAH ($34.99)

Many people make the mistake of forgetting to grab a bottle of Syrah when serpentining through the wine aisles at the liquor store. Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is made from dark-skinned grapes. The Road 13 winery is located on the Golden Mile Bench in the heart of B.C.’s South Okanagan. Its Road 13 2018 Syrah has notes of black cherry, cooking spices, and smoked oak, which pairs perfectly with grilled lamb and steak. It is full-bodied, extremely rich in texture, and well-rounded in flavour. Vegetarians can pair a glass of Syrah with Gouda and crackers, grilled vegetables, and stuffed mushroom caps. Avoid serving Syrah with seafood—this means your famous Valentine’s Day shrimp recipe will need to wait until next year.

Most lovers will be spending the night of February 14 safe at home, binge-eating treats from a local business, maybe with some Chinese takeout, preferably with wine. Photo by Getty Images.


Those who enjoy fruit-forward red wines will be impressed with the 2018 Pinot Noir produced by Liquidity in Okanagan Falls. The Liquidity 2018 Pinot Noir is filled with notes of strawberry, cola, cherry, raspberry, and Earl Grey. The wine is soft in acidity, with ripe tannins and earthy notes, and every sip ends with a smooth silky finish. Before bottling and blending, the Pinot Noir

spends 14 months fermenting in a French oak barrel. This gives the wine a smoky wood flavour and stabilizes the tannins from the grape skins. Pair the juicy Pinot with pasta dishes, grilled chicken or salmon, hard cheeses, and beef bourguignon—who doesn’t make a large pot of beef bourgi every year on Valentine’s Day? It also goes well with heart-shaped dark chocolate.


It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day wine roundup without a bottle of pretty pink bubbles. This extra dry Prosecco from Mionetto’s Prestige Collection is made from Glera and Pinot Nero grapes grown in the Veneto and Friuli regions in Italy. Like all bubbly, it can be enjoyed on its own or with fresh seafood, cocktail-sized sandwiches, creamy risotto, and grilled fish. Those with a sweet tooth can pair the Prosecco with dainty French macarons or chocolate. g




1 4 2 3 C o n t i n e n ta l S t. • O p e n E v e ry d ay 1 1 a m - 6 p m FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021




The Resilient Symphony: The Show Must Go On

Crystal Pite’s Body and Soul coming to Canadian screens by Charlie Smith


VSO Virtual Gala Concert Livestreams Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm Only in

When Paris Opera Ballet premiered Crystal Pite’s elaborately choreographed Body and Soul in 2019, it was greeted with wild applause. Photo by Julien Benhamou/Opéra national de Paris.

An innovative virtual gala filled with music, fun and incredible special guests. Join host Steve Maddock, Maestro Otto Tausk, and the musicians of the VSO for an evening of music and stories. With special guest virtual appearances and stories of resilience from James Ehnes, Itzhak Perlman, Measha Brueggergosman, k.d. lang, Geddy Lee, Steven Page, Jens Lindemann, Stewart Goodyear, Bria Skonberg, Red Robinson and more.

ancouver choreographer Crystal Pite admits to feeling preshow jitters in advance of the Canadian film premiere of one of her more ambitious choreographic works. The Kidd Pivot founder realizes that this anxiety is a bit bizarre, given that the Paris Opera Ballet debuted Body and Soul in the fall of 2019 at Palais Garnier to wild rounds of applause. The filmed version is forever immune to gaffes. “Nothing can go wrong,” Pite says. “The lights are going to work and the dancers are going to do the dance beautifully.” Moreover, she knows what the 85-minute film looks like because she participated in the editing process along with director Tommy Pascal. “But, nevertheless, I do feel this little nervous feeling, thinking about being exposed, being vulnerable,” she continues. “Yeah, it does give me a bit of a rush to think of sharing it like this.” The film’s streaming has been made possible through Digidance. It’s a new partnership of Vancouver’s DanceHouse, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, and Montreal’s Danse Danse to deliver full-length Canadian and international dance performances into people’s homes. “The Paris Opera Ballet would never land in Vancouver to do a performance,” DanceHouse artistic director Jim Smith tells the Straight by phone. “We’re collectively reaching out to a national audience.” According to Pite, Body and Soul emerged from a scrap of text that she and Electric Company artistic director Jonathon Young worked with when creating a previous production called Revisor. Young voiced the text’s words—which were stage directions describing a conflict between two figures—but they didn’t include this passage in that show. “I kept that little bit of text in my back pocket, thinking I would use it for something,” Pite says. “So when it came time to

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make Body and Soul, I started with that.” For her grand shows featuring large groups of dancers, Pite likes to work initially with students at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver. “They’re kind of like my big, beautiful sketch pad,” she says. With Body and Soul, she embellished that text and imagined how this conflict might play out with 35 or 40 dancers rather than just two. The words were translated into French and recorded by French actor Marina Hands. Pite’s long-time Vancouver collaborator Owen Belton created the music. “The piece is presented in three distinct parts, three distinct worlds,” Pite explains. “I think of it as a kind of triptych—and the through line for the evening is that little scrap of text I was talking about it.” Body and Soul explores how the meaning of these words can change depending on how they are embodied by the dancers and presented by the narrator. In one scene, Pite says, the words play out like a large protest scene. By the third section, the dancers are swarming as nonhuman creatures in the natural world. “I don’t want dance’s sort of wordless nature to preclude me from working with any kind of complex story,” Pite says. “So I am interested in story, yes, but I’m also interested in the structures of story.” Body and Soul is her second show with the Paris Opera Ballet following the The Seasons’ Canon, which premiered in 2016. Her company’s associate artistic director, Quebecborn Eric Beauchesne, explained the nuances of her choreography to the French dancers. “The dancers in the Paris Opera [Ballet] were so open and so curious and full of a kind of artistic hunger and fascination and earnestness,” Pite says. “That was remarkable to see.” g Digidance will present the Canadian film premiere of the Paris Opera Ballet’s performance of Body and Soul online from Wednesday (February 17) to February 23.


Fairy tales offer alternative to fascism and racism by Charlie Smith

Perrault’s version, the wolf eats the girl. The moral of that tale, Zipes says, is that little girls who invite wolves into their parlours get what they deserve—a stigma that still hasn’t been erased more than three centuries later. “That ideology still exists today,” he adds. “As we talk, every four minutes a woman is being raped or violated in this world, all over the world.” Zipes says that Hansel and Gretel is really about child abandonment and child abuse. He’s studied many versions of Cinderella, including one in which she murders her wicked stepmother to stop the abuse. “Fairy tales were never for children—they were never created for children,” Zipes says.

Miscellaneous Productions’ Carol tells the Straight by phone that Zipes was one of the first to “really deconstruct the myths of the sanitized fairy tales and go back to the originals”. That’s one reason why she wanted him to be the first to appear in her company’s series of online events called “Pandemic Projects”. “We know he’s going to get a huge audience,” Carol says. “He’s like a rock star in the fairy tale and folklore world. He’s got an enormous international following.” g Miscellaneous Productions will present “Resurrecting Dead Fairy Tales”, a filmed online lecture with folklorist Jack Zipes, free on Facebook at 5 p.m. on Wednesday (February 17).


inneapolis folklorist Jack Zipes has spent decades demolishing misconceptions about fairy tales. On the phone from his home, the University of Minnesota professor emeritus tells the Straight it’s a “myth” that these stories are sweet, pretty, and shallow—even though many were “sanitized” in later versions by the Brothers Grimm and in Disney movies. “Fairy tales deal with problems that we have not resolved,” Zipes says. “And they provide alternatives, for instance, to fascism, alternatives to absolutism, to any type of racism.” Last year, Miscellaneous Productions artistic director Elaine Carol directed a 39-minute film, “Resurrecting Dead Fairy Tales”, which features Zipes discussing his recent research. It will be presented, along with a question-and-answer session, on Facebook on Wednesday (February 17). Zipes tells the Straight that he plans to share stories of 20th-century fairy-tale creators who inspired people to rise up against the Nazis. For example, in Deirdre and William Conselman Jr.’s Keedle, the Great: And All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Fascism, a nasty child who kills insects grows up and tries to dominate the world. “You see the planet—the world—angry at him, and then the world starts laughing at him and mocking him,” Zipes relates. “And he gets smaller and smaller and smaller until he disappears—a wonderful story.” Another 20th-century story, Yussuf the Ostrich, features a bird befriended by an Arab boy who takes him to school to learn to read. The ostrich is the fastest runner in the region, so he becomes a messenger for the American forces fighting the Germans

in North Africa. “He’s captured by the Nazis and they want to kill him,” Zipes reveals. Two dachshunds befriend him in captivity. And even though the little dogs wear jackets with swastikas, they hate the Nazis. The illustrator and writer, Emery Kelen, was a Hungarian Jew and First World War veteran who fled Europe in 1938 and ended up working for the United Nations. Zipes founded Little Mole & Honey Bear, which published these books. He says that one of his missions in life is to draw more attention to “wonderful, very significant authors and illustrators” from the 1920s to the 1950s who have been neglected. “I want to unbury them before I’m buried,” Zipes quips. As an example of a socially conscious fairy tale, he cites Little Red Riding Hood. Most people believe it’s a story about a girl who ventures into the forest before going to her grandma’s house, where a woodcutter saves her from a wolf. “That’s not the original tale whatsoever,” Zipes insists. “It’s a tale about violation of women, rape of women.” According to Zipes, early versions began with the young girl—considered naive, stupid, or innocent—collecting flowers because a wolf tells her that her grandmother might like them. Then the wolf runs to the grandmother’s house, devours the old woman, and later asks Little Red Riding Hood to get into bed after she arrives. “Sometimes she does a striptease, takes off all her clothes, gets into bed, and asks three questions—the last one always being, ‘My, what a big mouth you have,’ ” Zipes says. “He says, ‘All the better to eat you with.’ ” In 17th-century French author Charles



Deirdre and William Conselman Jr.’s Keedle, the Great: And All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Fascism (left) and Emery Kelen’s Yussuf the Ostrich rallied readers to oppose Adolf Hitler’s regime.


FEB 25 –MAR 1 1, 2021


FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021




Moon offers sad reminder of tech’s terrible legacy by Charlie Smith


Composed, directed, coproduced, and performed by Njo Kong Kie and set to the poetry of Xu Lizhi. Livestreamed on February 4 at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. No remaining performances

d IT’S UNUSUAL FOR a dead Chinese poet’s words to take centre stage and star in a solo piano performance shown in Canada, supplemented with video imagery. But when that poet is factory worker Xu

Lizhi, who killed himself at the age of 24 in 2014—and the pianist, Music Picnic artistic producer Njo Kong Kie, is summoning his spirit—it makes perfect sense. Njo’s song cycle, I swallowed a moon made of iron, is a tribute to Xu and countless other migrant workers who provide amenities for our digital lives. Xu was among the hundreds of thousands who have toiled in Foxconn’s facilities in Shenzhen, China, making electronic devices for U.S. tech giants. Njo’s compositions, set to Xu’s haunting and heartbreaking poetry, captured the horror of young lives entombed on an assembly line. At times urgent and intense—reflecting the pace of factory life—and on other occasions spare and plaintive, Njo’s mastery of

Music Picnic artistic producer Njo Kong Kie occupies the soul of deceased Chinese poet and factory worker Xu Lizhi in the haunting I swallowed a moon made of iron. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

mood burst forth through his music. His mournful voice, pained facial expressions, and depressed body language illustrated the poet’s painful existence. And Njo’s minimalist and compelling pieces ensured that Xu’s words were never overshadowed. Many of Xu’s poems—carrying soul-crushing titles such as “A heart interred by life” and “As I lay dying”—were shown on an unadorned wall. At times, the visual imagery consumed Njo, demonstrating how Xu himself disappeared in his dilapidated dorm. Ashes

sometimes crossed the screen, representing his cremation. This was melancholia on a grand scale. But there were moments when Njo snatched a bit of joy, such as when singing “Mother”, a wistful 2011 Xu poem that recalls his village life in Guangdong province. The colourful rural imagery stood in sharp contrast to his bleak life in Shenzhen. For anyone who knows a person who has committed suicide, it’s excruciating to watch. No doubt, Njo would appreciate it if you think about that the next time you check your latest text messages. g



An Online Lecture and Q&A with Renowned Folklorist Jack Zipes Distinguished expert Jack Zipes will exhume and examine little-known anti-fascist fairy tales and their creators from the first half of the twentieth century.

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FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021


Film reveals salmon thriving in Metro Van creeks


by Charlie Smith

ilmmaker Marina Dodis didn’t set out to make an information-heavy documentary about salmon spawning in Metro Vancouver. While shooting “The Return” in the Brunette watershed, which includes Stoney Creek along Burnaby Mountain and Still Creek in Burnaby and East Van, she aspired to create an immersive experience for viewers. That’s clear from the opening of the film, which will be shown at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. The sequence features a man paddling a canoe and dropping a basket into a creek to capture smolts, then measuring them amid burbling sounds of water. Animation shows the route these fish take out of the watershed to the Pacific Ocean. That’s followed with imagery showing the industrial hub, highways, and SkyTrain lines near the Fraser and Brunette rivers in New Westminster. Not a word is spoken in the first three minutes. It doesn’t seem possible that tiny fish could survive in such a densely populated urban environment, but they do, thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Burnaby Streamkeepers. “Now I look at all of those big, multicoloured oil slicks with gasoline on the

Writer J.B. MacKinnon is one of several rewilding enthusiasts who pop up in Marina Dodis’s documentary “The Return” to explain why salmon are spawning in Burnaby and East Vancouver.

road and I think of salmon—all the time,” Dodis tells the Straight by phone. Along the way, the characters in her 20-minute documentary deliver a detailed lesson in how some salmon survive against all odds. Musqueam band aboriginal fisheries officer Morgan Guerin takes viewers through the history of the tidal basin, explaining why salmon find it more difficult to rest now that back eddies have been removed. Dianne Ramage, director of salmon-

recovery programs for the Pacific Salmon Foundation, reveals how internal homing systems enable salmon to migrate to their home streams through a muddy river, passing tugboats, rapid-transit lines, shopping malls, and housing developments. Writer J. B. MacKinnon provides illuminating commentary about how the pace of development alters human perspectives about the natural world. And aquatic biologist Mike Pearson talks about why chum salmon

have been able to spawn in East Vancouver for the first time in many decades. Then there’s John Templeton, a member of the Burnaby Streamkeepers. Knee-deep in water, he tells Dodis that back in 2004, he cleared all the debris along Stoney Creek. “That year, fish made it up to spawn here,” Templeton says. “We’ve had fish here every year since.” The film also provides insights into how roadway salt, which runs into the watershed during heavy rains, diminishes salmon survival rates. Urban density is also a villain in the piece, inhibiting the drainage of water that can ultimately benefit the fish. Dodis tells the Straight that her motivation for making “The Return” was to persuade local residents to become more curious about what’s going on in their backyard. She believes that if people learn how their actions can yield almost immediate results, they’ll be more likely to get involved. “Trying to protect things that are really far away is not very successful,” she says. “It’s difficult to do.” g “The Return” screens at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, which runs from February 19 to 28.



FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021




Dildo poacher puts parents in awkward position by Dan Savage

b I’M POSITIVE YOU’VE written something about this in the past. I have searched your archives but have only managed to find people arguing in the comments about this topic when what I want is your advice. My 16-year-old son is stealing our sex toys. My son took my husband’s handheld toy several months ago. I found it where it shouldn’t have been and let my husband know. He talked to our son and told him these are personal items, like a toothbrush, and that he needed to stop taking them. A few weeks ago I noticed my dildo was missing. I thought I had misplaced it or that my husband hid it somewhere. As it turns out, our son took it. We talked

with him again and stressed that these are personal items and not something to be shared. I want to get him his own toy so he stops taking ours. My husband is squicked out about it, and I agree it’s weird to have your parents buy a toy for you, but he clearly wants one. I don’t want to pick it out. I want to give him a prepaid gift card and have him pick out what he wants from the website of a reputable shop. Is there a better way to handle this? - Mama In Houston

Teenagers. Going into their rooms for even a second—even just to leave clean and folded laundry on their beds—is an unforgivable invasion of their privacy, a world historical

The Georgia Straight Confessions, an outlet for submitting revelations about your private lives—or for the voyeurs among us who want to read what other people have disclosed.

Scan to conffess Breezy legs

I have been single 3 months. I stopped shaving my legs and for the first time since pre teen I have full growth hair on my legs. It tickles when I walk bare legged.

not really a confession of sorts Ever since my near death experience I have a silightly different perspective on things. I’m not affraid about much any more. I am a lot more emotional than before and I get tears in my eyes for no reason sometimes. I love others easier I think too. I am truly wondering if it is because my heart was fixed.

Pocket Friends I secretly keep a online shortlist of people who have a crush on me in case I don’t get what I want from my current relationship.

Can’t seem to make myself heard When others speak, I listen. Interrupting is not my thing and I can’t bring myself to do it. It feels like the world is built for those who are loud, can unapologetically talk over others, and respond quickly. Conversations often move too fast for me to chime in, so I appear meek and quiet. Am I the only one?

Upgrade My snack drawer isn’t a drawer anymore. It’s a cabinet. Sign of the times I guess.

Visit 14


to post a Confession FEBRUARY 11 – 18 / 2021

Got a teenager who can’t seem to stop rooting through your bedroom drawers for dildos and other sex toys? You have options that range from just riding it out to springing for gift cards.

crime on a par with the Nazi invasion of Poland, an atrocity that should land Mom and Dad in a cell in the Hague. But that same kid will tear their parents’ bedroom apart looking for mom and dad’s sex toys, any cash mom and dad have at home, mom and dad’s secret stash of pot, etcetera. Because while they’re entitled to absolute privacy, Mom and Dad—or Dad and Dad or Mom and Mom— aren’t entitled to any privacy at all. (And your son may never forgive you for the embarrassment you caused him when you asked him not to steal—and not to use—your dildo.) How do you handle this? You could forbid him to go into your bedroom. You could even put a lock on your bedroom door. But you’ll forget to lock it one day or one day he’ll learn to pick the lock and before you know it he’ll be back in your bedroom picking through your sex toys. You could run out the clock. Your son is 16 years old and he will, hopefully, be out of the house in less time than it took to get him out of diapers. Twenty-four short months, hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccinations, and a few college applications are all that stand between you and having your house all to yourselves again. At that point, you and your husband won’t have to worry about your son stealing your sex toys—hell, at that point you can make a lovely centrepiece out of them for the dining-room table. But although running out the clock allows you to avoid some squickiness, you’re still gonna have to worry about him swiping your sex toys or—even worse—swiping one, using it, and then putting it back without cleaning it properly. Most 16-year-old boys can’t clean themselves properly; the odds that your son is capable of sterilizing your dildo after using it on himself are very, very low. (The odds that your son can make you wanna jump in a time machine and go back 17 years and sterilize yourself? Very, very high.) You could buy him some sex toys. I think this is the best option. Get your son a gift card that he can blow on some toys for himself at a reputable sex-toy shop. Or you could pick out a few for him—you already

have a pretty good handle on the type of sex toys he finds appealing—and leave those toys for him on his bed next to his clean and folded laundry. Having a few sex toys of his own won’t necessarily stop him from tearing your bedroom apart—there’s still your pot and cash to find—but it will make him less likely to tear your bedroom apart looking sex toys. And, perhaps most importantly, buying your son some sex toys will allow you to suspend your disbelief and pretend your son isn’t looking through your sex toys long enough to help him fill out those college applications. b A FEW WEEKS AGO in your column, you were responding to a guy who was unsure about his relationship because his boyfriend’s kinks didn’t match up with his own. You said that kinks are “hardwired” and that for someone who has them, acting on their kinks is necessary for them to have a fulfilling sex life. Wow. That leapt off the page at me. This is something I’ve struggled with most of my life, and that made things so crystal clear. From the time I was first sexually aware, I knew I was gay and that I was attracted to BDSM. I am five years out of a 20-year relationship. My partner and I dabbled in BDSM but I never felt like he was really into it. He was just doing it for me. When I asked what I could do for him, he’d always say “nothing”. That made it even more disappointing. The relationship didn’t end over his stuff, but I regret sticking with it—and an unfulfilling sex life—for so long. The kink stuff started so early for me. Hardwired doesn’t even begin to describe it. Prepuberty, I was fascinated when I saw guys getting tied up on TV, in comics, and in movies. But now here I am, single and 63 years old. I haven’t dated anyone since my relationship ended. I don’t want to date purely vanilla people or people with kinks that aren’t compatible with mine. I’m just not sure what to do. Any advice? - I’ve No Clever Acronym

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being shamed and 2. is allowed to enjoy their kinks with others who share them, a mixed kink/vanilla relationship can work. So don’t limit yourself to dating only guys who are into BDSM. Date vanilla guys you meet through

mainstream dating apps but be open about your kinks from the start and be clear about your intent to enjoy your kinks with guys who share them. And date kinky guys you meet on kink dating apps—there are plenty of guys your age on Recon, the big-


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