FEBRUARY 21 - 28 / 2019 | FREE
Volume 53 | Number 2666
Tower may finance Holy Rosary upgrade
Zubot and strings
Jon Turk brings a lifetime of adventuring to the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
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February 21 – 28 / 2019
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival special guest Jon Turk explores inner and outer extremes. By Adrian Mack Cover photo by Erik Boomer
U.K. police are investigating Gordon Campbell even though he had legal immunity as high commissioner. By Charlie Smith
Robotics company Advanced Intelligent Systems creates machines that aid rather than replace workers. By Kate Wilson
The Talking Stick Festival introduces a “drag clown” and welcomes back Children of God after its national tour. By Janet Smith
Newly ensconced on the West Coast, violinist Joshua Zubot will lead his string quintet in a rare appearance at Granville Island’s free Winter Jazz festival. By Alexander Varty
e Start Here 26 COMEDY 12 CONFESSIONS 9 FOOD 8 HOROSCOPES 12 I SAW YOU 10 MOVIE REVIEWS 25 MUSIC 5 REAL ESTATE 31 SAVAGE LOVE 26 THEATRE e Listings 28 ARTS 29 MUSIC
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Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 53 | Number 2666
Explorer Speaker Series at the Orpheum theatre
OCEAN SOUL with Brian Skerry MARCH 12
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Here’s what people are reading this week on Straight.com.
1 2 3 4 5
Gregor Robertson declares devotion to Broadband TV founder. Will the Canucks claim Brandon Manning off waivers? Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG halts work on Kwispaa plant. Petition for mandatory vaccinations collects over 25,000 names. Gerald Butts resigns as principal secretary to Justin Trudeau.
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4 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
Ex-premier granted legal Tower proposed by historic cathedral immunity as a diplomat
by Carlito Pablo
heritage and architectural gem in downtown Vancouver is up for retrofits. Plans are being drawn to upgrade the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to modern earthquake standards and to conserve the 119-year-old church. To finance the project, a new 23-storey commercial tower is proposed on a portion of the church property at the intersection of Richards and Dunsmuir streets. Property developer Wall Financial Corp. is named as an applicant in the project. The Gothic Revival–style cathedral is listed in category A of the city’s heritage register, which means that it is of primary significance. The renewal project for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
by Charlie Smith
ould a former B.C. premier avoid prosecution even if Scotland Yard determines that there’s merit to a 54-year-old woman’s complaint of sexual assault? It’s a distinct possibility, because Gordon Campbell had diplomatic immunity as Canada’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom when the incident allegedly occurred in 2013. Campbell, through a spokesperson, has insisted that a Canadian government investigation found there was no merit to the groping complaint. According to the Telegraph newspaper, Scotland Yard is investigating. However, as a result of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats enjoy immunity from prosecution in foreign countries where they’re stationed. In December, the BBC reported that one unnamed embassy official was accused of two rapes, yet he was never put on trial. Instead, he was expelled after his home country declined to waive diplomatic immunity, which would have allowed him to be charged. In a written statement, British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed the existence of “12 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation–related immunity in the United Kingdom” in 2017. “We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more,” Hunt wrote. In these types of cases, the U.K. government asks the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity, according to Hunt.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary opened in 1900 in Vancouver.
is set to be presented to the Vancouver Heritage Commission on Monday (February 25). According to the commission’s meeting agenda, the new development is proposed at the current site of the church rectory.
The first five floors of the commercial tower will provide 36,000 square feet of new activity space for the church. On top of this will be 18 floors of commercial space of about 194,000 square feet. “Sufficient spatial separation would be maintained between the Cathedral and the new tower,” the agenda states. There will be a “functional link between the Church and its new activity space in the tower”. The conservation work includes the preservation of the cathedral’s historic masonry and metalwork. An announcement on the Catholic parish’s website recalls that the church opened in 1900. According to the parish, the building has not seen any major structural work since that time. g
Police are probing a complaint against Gordon Campbell. Photo by Stephen Hui
“For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat,” Hunt declared. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has not clarified if Canada would be willing to waive Campbell’s diplomatic immunity, should the complaint be deemed worthy of prosecution. However, her ministry has issued a statement saying that it “takes any allegations of sexual assault and harassment extremely seriously”. “This kind of alleged misconduct in the workplace is absolutely unacceptable,” Global Affairs Canada said. Campbell is the fourth B.C. premier in recent history to be at the centre of a legal issue after leaving office. Bill Bennett was convicted of insider trading and Bill Vander Zalm and Glen Clark were each exonerated on breach-of-trust charges. g
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FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 5
The Vancouver Flea Market
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6 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
HIGH TECH Robots set to transform greenhouses
by Kate Wilson
obots and artificial intelligence, headlines suggest, are poised to steal people’s jobs. With the rise of “Industry 4.0”—where manufacturing robots can collect data and make their own decisions about how to optimize the production line—many are worried that blue-collar professions might be on the out. For Metro Vancouver–based company Advanced Intelligent Systems (AIS), though, creating machines that complement rather than displace human workers is the cornerstone of its business. In the opinion of CEO Afshin Doust, robots and AI should be used to combat the dangers involved in manual labour. “We pride ourselves in being a practical robotics company,” he tells the Georgia Straight on the line from Burnaby. “We look at labour-intensive tasks that nobody wants to do, and we try to automate those in order to address the shortage of labour in industries that are shrinking or are having a difficult time filling those positions.… What we want to do is supplement those low-paying, labour-intensive jobs. For example, taking luggage and putting it onto a cart at an airport, or doing the initial exploration of a mine before it is safe, or moving plant pots.” The company’s first set of products is geared toward that objective. AIS began life in 2013 as a business that dealt in robot parts. After a time, the founders were approached by a plant nursery looking to mechanize some of its more repetitive tasks. The company’s leaders reached out to Doust as a consultant to help with the business, inspiring him to join the project as the CEO and refound the company in 2016. Together, they created a machine named Bigtop: an unmanned robotic vehicle that automates the
Advanced Intelligent Systems has built an autonomous robot that moves plants.
movement of potted plants in nurseries and greenhouses. Transporting pots is surprisingly lucrative. The plants must be respaced in order to be aired, packaged, or shipped, or a collection of pots must be reorganized when certain plants are picked up off a shop floor. By Doust’s estimations at last year’s #BCTECHSummit, the industry employs roughly 97,000 full-time staffers in North America and Europe just to move pots—a job that can leave workers with injuries from heavy lifting. Unsurprisingly, companies find it difficult to fill open roles. “One of our people actually went online and applied [as the Bigtop robot] for an opening for someone to work in the nursery to move pots,” Doust recalls. “That position wasn’t filled for about four months. So the person called and wanted to interview our robot. That’s exactly the business model we have. We don’t sell them—Bigtop is for hire. You take it, you use it, and you pay for the work that it does.” As well as perfecting its plant spacer, AIS is focusing on developing different modules for the vehicle. The
company has created a pruning addon, for instance, that picks up plants, trims them, and puts them back. It is also working on an artificial-intelligence feature that determines whether plants are healthy by taking a picture of the leaves and comparing it to a database of images. That discovery can be quickly reported to the farmer. The company plans to produce 120 Bigtop robots this year, and Doust hopes to build even more by the end of 2020. In the meantime, AIS is working on creating robots for other businesses, including airports, warehouses, and fulfillment centres. The company has so far filed 19 patents and has 24 more waiting to process— a level of innovation Doust attributes to the engineering talent present in the Metro Vancouver region. “I think that Vancouver is a great place for robotics and for AI,” he says. “We have a lot of amazing talent that comes out of our universities. It’s a great place to be for a startup because of all the government support that exists. We hire a lot of people from SFU, and we hire a lot of people from BCIT, and work collaboratively with many universities.” g
Entertainment for everyone at Fan Expo (This story is sponsored by Fan Expo Vancouver.)
nticipation is building for one of the hottest events in the pop-culture calendar. Now in its eighth year, Fan Expo Vancouver returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 1 to 3. More than 25,000 eager fans are expected to attend this year’s event, where they will be able to enjoy three days of celebrity encounters, cosplay, shopping, speaker panels, and so much more. No Fan Expo is complete without a star-studded lineup of famous guests who will be taking part in various programming, signing autographs, and having their pictures taken. But those who have never been before can expect a fully immersive and interactive experience. Fan Expo is one event where the attendees are part of the entertainment. That’s because fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite characters from the comic, sci-fi, horror, anime, and fantasy world. And this year, organizers have upped the ante by hosting a costume contest, which promises to be fun whether you’re a performer or a spectator. The event is put on by Fan Expo HQ, which is one of the largest entertainment convention groups in North America, but Kandrix Foong, managing director in Western Canada, says the Vancouver scene is pretty special. “It’s like a Halloween party in the spring,” he says. “There’s something for Mom, Dad, and the kids. It’s a visual spectacle.” And as anyone familiar with Fan Expo knows, there are a number of activities and attractions for the whole family—from superheroes, princesses, and voice actors for the little ones to speaker panels, workshops, and autograph sessions for the big kids, a.k.a. adults.
Visitors can indulge in some retail therapy at one of the many booths at Fan Expo.
“Everybody can enjoy Fan Expo in their own way,” adds Foong. “If you’re an aspiring artist, you can go to the Artist Alley and talk to some of the professionals who are doing it. If you’re a fan of a TV show or movie, there’s the chance to sit in on a panel or to meet your heroes. There’s so much you can do at these events.” Fan Expo offers the opportunity to talk firsthand to the people who have made the transition from fandom to professional by turning their hobbies into a career. The Artist Alley is the perfect place to meet the pencillers, inkers, and writers who work the frontlines of the industry. Those serious about pursuing a career should be sure to check out some of the “how to” workshops or the ever-popular “sketch duels”, where professional comic artists battle it out before your very eyes. Attendees can also sit in on the speaker panels, where the pros will be giving a peek behind the scenes and answering questions.
If you’re keen to take a piece of the expo home with you, there will be no shortage of shopping opportunities. Hundreds of retailers specializing in everything from sci-fi to horror, anime, and gaming, will be in attendance. And it’s here you can source comic books from any era, original artwork, graphic novels, memorabilia, DVDs, videos, toys, Tshirts, and more. Tickets, which start at $30 each, and the event’s full schedule are available online at fanexpovancouver.com/ and through the Fan Expo Vancouver app. g Fan Expo Vancouver takes place Friday to Sunday (March 1 to 3) at the Vancouver Convention Centre West Building (1055 Canada Place). Go to straight.com/contest/ and enter to win two VIP packages (valued at $229 each) for the ultimate fandom experience. Prize includes admission to all three days of the expo, a celebrity photo opportunity, and exclusive priority access, plus a ton of other amazing perks.
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 7
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8 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
by Rose Marcus
ercury in Pisces has kept the guesswork going strong. As of Friday, Mercury/Jupiter puts you/us in the know or it on the go in some enlarged, in-scope way. Watch for information to be released (perhaps leaked) or for a conversation to reveal more than is intended. Mercury/Jupiter, a promising or a hopeful influence (perhaps reflected by the money markets), can stir up inspiration, romance, spiritual inclination, and/or dish up good entertainment. Interestingly, the Oscars will air without a host (Mercury in Pisces, missing in action. We might say the same for strong moral leadership). The measles outbreak, largely blamed on the lack of immunization (Jupiter in Sagittarius—the beliefs, the mistrust, the skepticism), is an example of the increase of vulnerability created by this exposing and wide-spreading transit. While Mercury/Jupiter has a propensity for getting carried away or taking it too far, Friday’s Venus/Pluto in Capricorn (conjunction) aims to keep a grip on reality. Extending to December, the transit is a forerunner contributor to the momentous 2020 Capricorn alignment. Venus/Pluto marks a life-altering end phase and beginning (the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning). Primarily, it is putting the finishing touches on that which has been in the works for some time. We are evolving the way we do business, the way we relate and create, especially regarding evaluations, judgments, priorities, survival needs, and relationships (most importantly, our relationship to authority—i.e., bosses, parents, church, and state). Pluto in Capricorn also enforces a reconciliation with the consequences of the past. While all that sounds heavy-duty, the reality is that we want to and need to build it better. Do the work; get the result.
March 20–April 20
Can you feel it? Venus/Pluto now positions you at an important time line threshold. Call it one more year. Whether you witness the evolution through a circumstance or a feeling, you are coming to the end of a long haul. While you work on the wrap-up, you are also signed up for an intensified foundation-laying, especially regarding your career or a key relationship.
April 20–May 21
Progressively, the future is cementing its course. If it isn’t shaping into the reality you want, then what are you going to do to redirect it? Yes, there are limits to how much you can control, but there is no better time than right now to take charge. Harness available resources. Put ambition to work; make opportunity work for you.
FEBRUARY 21 TO 27, 2019 July 22–August 23
Venus/Pluto can redirect plans, thinking, or action-taking in some unforeseen way. You could uncover something important that changes the way you view it or tackle it. On the bigger-picture front, give yourself the year to see how much you can build, how useful it is, or how much it is worth. It can take that long to renovate, get established, or get reestablished. August 23–September 23
Something lost, buried, or forgotten can be found, retrieved, or replayed. Friday exposes, uncovers, or clues you in unexpectedly. Mercury/Jupiter can spark creativity, romance, or opportunity. On the flip side, you could feel overwhelmed, overspent, overtaken, or caught up in it; it’s easy to overshoot or go too far. The transit can target vulnerability, play on fearful imagination, or release a floodgate of emotion. September 23–October 23
You can get swept up in it Friday. On the other hand, Mercury/ Jupiter could prompt you to let it slide or take the easy way out. Make the weekend do your bidding, not the other way around. A renovation project, real-estate transaction, or major investment of time, money, or heart can be in the works. Venus/Pluto is an important foundation-laying transit. October 23–November 22
Friday, your timing is good. Venus/Pluto assists you to get it nailed down, finalized, bought, sold, leased, or to make it official. Thanks to the transiting moon in Scorpio, the weekend is yours to own. Going by feel, on a deep dive with another or doing your own thing, you’ll have no problem making the most of the time you spend. November 22–December 21
Wherever you go, you’re all in. Friday’s Mercury/Jupiter trigger greatly enhances your intuition, creativity, emotional responsiveness, and physical sensitivity. Venus/Pluto also keeps you completely immersed. On the bigger-picture note, the transit marks a timetable of significance. You are wise to put maximum attention to building it better, especially regarding financial security and emotional self-sufficiency. December 21–January 20
An impression, intuition, or impulse runs strong. Don’t secondguess what you feel. Friday, Mercury/ Neptune exposes something, clues you in, or provides an opportunity for a top-up. At the same time, Venus/ Pluto sets significant wheels in motion and/or gives you something more GEMINI substantial to work with or toward. May 21–June 21 Venus/Pluto launches a big investFor now, Neptune, Mercury, ment or cash-in year or two. and the sun in Pisces keep projects, AQUARIUS potentials, and issues moving along January 20–February 18 a fluid track. On the bigger-picture Easy or creative is your best note, Venus/Pluto marks an important finish line or time line, this re- choice on Friday; save the work or garding a contract, money, or health effort for another day. The weekend matter or a key relationship (intim- keeps you on a total-immersion proate, business, parent, or child). All in gram. Short-term and long-term, or all out? A hefty investment/com- Venus/Pluto consumes you with feelmitment of time, heart, or money is ing it out, sorting it out, and getting it under better control. It’s a process required. and it needs time to complete/run its CANCER course.
June 21–July 22
Need to rebuild your social life, career, reputation, financial and emotional security? The work is significant, but so, too, the reward. Start by redefining goals, limits, and boundaries, what’s acceptable and what’s not, what’s of value, what’s dragging you down. This year and next will cement the long-term reality. There’s no time to waste and no better time to get going.
February 18–March 20
Mercury in Pisces keeps you in full swing. Whether it is your birthday or it is coming up soon, the stars are a great backdrop for celebrating the special occasion and making the most of your weekend. Now and over the year to come, Venus/Pluto also shortens the distance to the long-awaited goal post, reward, or finish line. g
HAVE YOU BEEN TO...
Guu Davie shines light on Japanese hot pot
Bill Reid Gallery
by Craig Takeuchi
now drifted down on the opening night of Guu Davie at 1239 Davie Street on February 11. It was appropriateâ€”even auspiciousâ€”because this Guuâ€™s menu focuses on nabemono (or nabe), Japanese hot-pot dishes, which have been increasingly appearing on local menus. With Vancouverâ€™s yearlong propensity for wet weather, why not offer respite from the constant cold and dampness? One type of nabemono available here is shabu-shabu. Similar to other Asian-style hot pots, ingredients are boiled in a broth-filled pot (served atop a heating plate) at the table, and it is less sweet than the better known sukiyaki. Diners can select two brothsâ€”ranging from kelp or spicy miso to Japanese curry or porkâ€”served in a stylish bisected pot alongside two dipping sauces. Ingredients include meat, seafood, noodles, vegetables, and assorted wrapped meat rolls (which all range from $12 to $15 per plate). A locally lesser-known nabemono is oden, a one-pot dish with items simmered in a light dashi (soup stock), often served at food carts or convenience stores in Japan. Here, theyâ€™re served cooked and on individual plates, often partly immersed in broth based upon a Kyoto-style recipe with konbu and salt. Vegetable oden options include daikon, taro, and stuffed rice cake, while other classic options include chicken wings, fish cake, half-boiled egg, and more. (A choice of five items is $11.) With Guuâ€™s progressive bent, a list of unique oden creations (from $5 to $9 per item) fills a menu page with diverse options. Thereâ€™s everything from a barley-fed-pork cabbage roll
Vetta Chamber Music vettamusic.com
An onionâ€™s flavour can be muted by dashi (soup stock). Photo by Craig Takeuchi
to shiso-herb flavoured deep-fried shrimp, fish, and vegetable cake. Stewed avocado stuffed with crab meat and salmon roe, with bĂŠchamel mayonnaise, has a flavour all its own, thanks to the dashi subtly permeating the ingredients. The strong flavour of a whole onion is muted by the broth and the influences of shiitake mushrooms, kelp, and dried anchovies. For those seeking something other than hot pot, the menu offers many of the chainletâ€™s izakaya dishes, including yasai (steamed vegetables with tofu and anchovy dipping sauce), ebi taco (battered prawn and ground pork taco), and even Guuâ€™s take on poutine (Japanese beef curry poutine in a hot stone bowl). Due to heightened interest in Japanese broth-based cuisine, thanks to ramen, will shabu-shabu and oden take off as other facets of Japanese cuisine have in the past? That remains to be seen. Regardless, itâ€™s unarguably fitting for the wintry weather of late. g
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Vancouver International Women in Film Festival March 5-10 at the VIFF Vancity Theatre
A Ramen Shop with too many noodles
Documentaries at VIWFF
REVIEWS RAMEN SHOP
Featuring Madonna Thunder Hawk, the film tells a story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. March 5th, 7pm
THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN
Adapting to an ever-changing climate, a Kenyan farmer transforms from a local community leader to a climate change activist on the global stage. March 6th, 5:30pm
Gudrun Schyman found Europe’s first feminist party. Despite several obstacles, she continues to raise the bar for equality in Sweden and internationally. March 8th, 3:30pm – free
Tickets at goviff.org/viwff
Details at womeninfilm.ca
Starring Takumi Saitoh. In English, Japanese, and Mandarin, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable
b ONE LOOK AT titles like Wanton Mee, Recipe, and 1995 breakthrough Mee Pok Man suggests that the Singapore-based writer-director Eric Khoo is obsessed with food. It’s a good thing he documents its preparation and its cultural implications so well, because his other storytelling skills aren’t so hot. This declaration is not intended to discourage viewers from visiting Ramen Shop, Khoo’s tale of a young Japanese chef rediscovering his multiethnic Asian roots; just know that you need an open mind and a full stomach to get real satisfaction from it. Heartthrob Takumi Saitoh is Masato, perennial understudy to his gruff dad at the most popular ramen house in Takasaki, in central Japan. Tsuyoshi Ihara plays Kazuo, who has had little to say to his son since being widowed some years earlier. Masato was actually born in Singapore, and knows that his late mom was Chinese. He’s driven to learn more when Kazuo suddenly dies, and returns to his birthplace to find out more about the food that held them together for a while. The cast includes Seiko Matsuda as an older food blogger who becomes Masato’s informal guide when the action switches to Singapore. Elderly Beatrice Chien is lovable as the Cantonese grandmother whose resentment of the Second World War’s Japanese occupation forces the lad to recognize some unpleasant truths about his country’s 20th-century his-
Tsuyoshi Ihara and Seiko Matsuda bond over pork-rib soup in Ramen Shop.
tory. Unfortunately, the dialogue and plot twists are tritely predictable, the musical score underlines syrupy sentiment, and the math on the generations depicted doesn’t quite add up. On the other hand, the lovingly shot 90-minute movie’s real star is the pork-rib soup Masato attempts to master, thus uniting past and present in one easily transportable bowl of meaningful flavour.
by Ken Eisner
NEVER LOOK AWAY
Starring Tom Schilling. In German and Russian, with English subtitles. Rated 14A
d NEVER LOOK AWAY is a twohour-plus masterpiece. The only problem is that the movie is more than three hours long. It’s the latest from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who hit the Oscar jackpot with his East Germany-set The Lives of Others. The probing writer-director then blew his screen cred with a Hollywood venture called The Tourist, and then hightailed it back to Deutschland to further research his homeland’s
cinema Kabuki Kabuki Theatre in high definition on the big screen
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas, Vancouver
Direct from Japan - Subtitled in English. 12:30pm: 2:45pm:
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SCREENING AT THE CENTRE AFTERPARTY AT SCIENCE WORLD Presented with Support of UBCP/ACTRA PRESENTING SPONSORS MEDIA SPONSOR
10 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO...
rio theatre / videomatica sales / beat street records
by Ken Eisner
The Vanity Lab
Presented by The Japan Foundation
convoluted political history. The results are based cryptically on the life and work of Gerhard Richter, considered by many to be the greatest living artist. Its sharpest conceit unravels an approach long viewed by art critics as opaque when his visceral autobiography was actually hiding behind generic images—paintings based on photographs, newspaper clippings, and the like. The Richter character is now called Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling), a shape-shifting personality who excels as a “social-realist” painter in a 1950s GDR. He grew up in Nazi-infested Dresden, where he learned his love of art from an aunt (Saskia Rosendahl) whose budding schizophrenia made her a target for doctors doing a warm-up for the Holocaust by “cleansing” the Reich of defectives. Later, when the grown Kurt falls in love with a sassy fashion student (Transit’s Paula Beer), she turns out to be the daughter of a highly respected gynecologist (Sebastian Koch). Bizarrely, the most outrageous of the film’s onslaught of coincidences hew to historical fact, as borne out in Richter’s own heavily encoded art. This attention to detail is weirdly interrupted by Hollywood-style set pieces, comic montages, and repetitive sex scenes, the last courtesy of Paula Beer, whose character is gradually reduced to that of frustrated broodmare. The Third Reich was overly preoccupied with women’s reproductive systems, and so is this movie. Still, looking away from about 35 minutes of this material will yield an extraordinary visual experience that really does make you think about how you see the world, and the lives of others.
N O M I N A T I O N S
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM · BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATIONS BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM BEST DIRECTOR · BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE DECADE. A NEW CINEMATIC MASTERPIECE. SPELLBINDING.”
“A bona fide masterpiece”
-Kyle Smith, NATIONAL REVIEW
“CLEAR-EYED AND ENGROSSING. A MASTER OF PACING, HOOKS YOU IMMEDIATELY.” -Justin Chang, LOS ANGELES TIMES
“A JOURNEY OF MODERN GERMAN HISTORY FROM WORLD WAR II TO THE BERLIN WALL AND THE ULTIMATE MEETING OF EAST AND WEST.
ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE.” -Roger Friedman, SHOWBIZ411
“NOTHING MORE SHOULD BE SAID EXCEPT: SEE IT!” -Stephen Schaefer, BOSTON HERALD
SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE SCENES
FROM THE ACAD DEMY AWARD® WINNIN NG WRITER/DIRECTOR OF THE LIVES OF OTH HERS
NEVER LO OK A WAY
Check theatre directories for showtimes
88 WEST PENDER • 604-806-0799
ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATION · BEST DOCUMENTARY
PEOPLE’S CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD
“FREE SOLO IS THE BEST CLIMBING MOVIE EVER MADE.”
A FILM BY ELIZABETH CHAI VASARHELYI & JIMMY CHIN
CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR THEATRES AND SHOWTIMES
ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATION BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM “THE WORK OF A MASTER IN FULL COMMAND OF HIS ART.” JUSTIN CHANG
INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS A FILM BY FLORIAN HENCKEL VON DONNERSMARCK
SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE SCENES, NUDITY, VIOLENCE
88 WEST PENDER • 604-806-0799
Check theatre directories for showtimes
FROM THE DIRECTOR OF AND
STILL WALKING, LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE SCENES, NUDITY
A F I L M B Y KO R E - E D A H I R O K A Z U
88 WEST PENDER • 604-806-0799
Check theatre directories for showtimes
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 11
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.
Artist spooked by Never Look Away
by Adrian Mack
Scan to confess Don’t eat out anymore I hardly ever eat out or else I have to tip a ludicrous amount. Even if I tip 20%, I usually never get a thank you from the server. A server I went to school with posted on FB. She said that people who can’t afford to tip shouldn’t go to a restaurant. I wish consumers had an anti-tipping union right about now. She tends to think she is entitled to a good wage while everyone else has to suffer through life.
Long time coming Finally! So glad we’re getting the Skytrain line extended from King George into Langley City. It should have been done a long time ago, but it never happened thanks to the pandering and lollygagging of stupid politicians. Nobody even wanted LRT in the first place so we all made it very clear in the last election. Anyways, really looking forward to this new line. Perhaps I’ll be the first one to ride it on opening day.
Don’t look in that box! Would you like to know my deepest, darkest fear? Is it public speaking? Nope. Being alone? Nope. Death? Heck no. It is that if I die in some unexpected way before my parents and my mom ends up sorting through my stuff and finding my fleshlight.
Depressed when visiting parents Is it normal? I moved away to get some freedom to be myself and when I’m visiting, I’m stuck hearing moral judgments that I have to conform to all the time. I’m not conservative by any means, so I tend to feel trapped. Does this happen to other people?
to post a Confession
> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < ERNEST ICE CREAM AND BUDDHIST MONKS
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 18, 2019 WHERE: Ernest Ice Cream on Fraser You were sitting on the bench at Ernest Ice Cream. You were with two male Buddhist monks in orange, and two other women. I sat down next to you and you gave me a hello and a smile that warmed my heart. I think you must know who I am.
ROXY NIGHTCLUB SATURDAY FEB 16TH
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 17, 2019 WHERE: The Roxy We danced and talked at Roxy’s Saturday night and I don’t know why I never asked for your number. You are both from Iran and your best friend was with you, you are the gorgeous blonde one. I really hope I get a chance to connect with you again.
YOU JUST MADE MY NIGHT
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 16, 2019 WHERE: 99 Bus 99 bus ~ 10 pm ArbutusMacDonald. You: interesting way of looking around, long hair at the back door of the bus. Me: rose sweater, dark hair, curious about u!! Can you just tell me how this city looks through your eyes on a Saturday night! Fun to see someone like u in this city!
SAUNTERING DOWN HOLLYBURN SUNDAY AM
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 10, 2019 WHERE: Cypress Mountain You were near the bottom of Hollyburn, strolling quickly, alone, with your thermos in hand. My friend and I were snowshoeing up. My dog liked you and said hi, you seemed to like him too. I liked you but didn't say hi, we passed each other too quickly. Regret! I was all bundled up in green. 5'7", athletic.
BRAZILIAN BUS BEAUTY
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 13, 2019 WHERE: King George Station
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 10, 2019 WHERE: Granville and Robson
You had eyes that would make any man's morning. You were wearing a beige overcoat with a white dress shirt. Stunning and sophisticated to say the least. The SkyTrain was overcrowded and you had this content smile, vibing to your music and drinking your morning coffee. I was sitting adjacent to where you were standing doing the same. We caught eyes several times and exchanged smiles. When I got off you smiled and softly waved goodbye. I wish I could have introduced myself. You made my morning.
We got off the #14 at Granville and Robson around 6:25-ish. You made me guess your accent and I failed miserably. You have a Russian name, apparently, though you don’t speak Russian, to my knowledge. I should have asked you out face-to-face, but was too worried about being late for work. In the unlikely event that you see this, would you like to join me for a coffee sometime?
BLONDE HAIR / RED YARIS / ALLEY LOVE!
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 13, 2019 WHERE: ALLEY 12TH Hey beautiful lady who blasts darts in the alley by 12th and Main. I think you drive a Red Yaris? It’s a little bashed on one side? I think you’re absolutely gorgeous! I’ll fix your car if you fix my heart.
SNOWY HELLO ON GRANVILLE
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 11, 2019 WHERE: Granville / Robson/ Georgia I was walking towards Georgia and you were walking towards Robson. I saw you walking down, tall and handsome. Wearing a black winter jacket with your hood up. I smiled and maintained eye contact and you softly said "Hello" as you passed. I was wearing a bright pink ski jacket and a pink/purple bobble hat. As I then turned around to see you walk past I also saw you turning back around. Like we had just missed that moment where we both look back. Maybe you will see this. Either way its a good lesson for me to be more confident and follow my intuition...
CAT UMBRELLA GIRL
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 14, 2019 WHERE: Prince Edward and Broadway We were waiting for the bus together. You looked amazing with your snow-covered cat umbrella and rad handbag with mummies and skeletons! You fairly sparkled to me. Not sure if you were just waiting at the wrong stop when you didn’t get on the bus, but I hope you got home safe. Maybe you can tell me about your snowy adventure home over hot drinks sometime. Take care!
ive minutes into the interview and already the Straight is worried that we’re getting too weird, too fast. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck dismisses any concerns. “I have a high tolerance for weirdness,” he says, reached at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. “Try me.” Deal, we reply. Game on. But first, let’s set the scene. Von Donnersmarck is doing PR duty for his double-Oscar-nominated film, Never Look Away, the robustly imaginative, three-hour tale of an artist—based loosely on Gerhard Richter—whose life extends from a childhood in Nazi-era Dresden to art school in Communist East Germany, and on to defection and success in the schvinging Düsseldorf of the ’60s. Opening Friday (February 22), the film is utterly meticulous in details extending well beyond getting its periods right. But it’s the opening scenes set inside Joseph Goebbels’s notorious Degenerate Art Exhibition that cast a crucial spell, drawing on the exhibition’s unprecedented psychohistorical potency to instantly capture the viewer. Visiting art historians, the writer-
director proudly recalls, were “deeply moved” by its painstaking accuracy. But its effect goes further than that. In the end, it becomes a kind of conjuring, no? “Yes. Definitely. I don’t find that weird,” answers von Donnersmarck, who describes his job as a filmmaker as “getting to the intangibles”. “Something will happen that goes beyond what you can spell out and really directly describe. I think that a very sensitive person could come into your living room and—by the way you’ve arranged your furniture or not arranged your furniture, or by what you’ve chosen as furniture or by your pictures—would basically be able to intuit your whole life story. Because all that contains every bit of information. You don’t know where that information is hidden, but you know it’s there if you reconstruct it. So for that reason—I like the word conjuring—I try to arrange things in such a way that if there are spirits that can come, they’ll recognize the place and will come.” Sadly, if there was one person above all that von Donnersmarck hoped would find himself intoxicated by this cinematic necromancy,
it was Richter himself. Instead—after sharing countless hours with the filmmaker, consulting closely on and apparently approving the screenplay—the notoriously thorny artist disavowed the film without seeing it. “I was warned by various people who’ve worked with him quite closely that he always turns on you,” von Donnersmarck says before floating a number of plausible theories as to why, all of them generally boiling down to “a mixture of perfectionism and a desire for omnipotence” over the details of one’s own life. More than depicting the career arc of its Richter-esque character, Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling), Never Look Away unfolds as a mystery involving Barnert’s wife, Ellie (Paula Beer), his schizophrenic aunt, Elisabeth (Saskia Rosendahl), and a Nazi eugenicist who makes pawns of them all. It’s through his art that Barnert unconsciously surfaces the clues. And while the filmmaker has repeatedly insisted that Never Look Away is a fiction—because ultimately it is—perhaps von Donnersmarck simply intuited a little too much of Richter’s life through the way he arranged his furniture. g
Crazy8s hits its twentieth year high
by Adrian Mack
nyone attending this year’s Crazy8s gala screening at the Centre for Performing Arts on Saturday (February 23) is in for the strongest slate of films in the competition’s 20-year history. With ambitious efforts like the Victorian-era, London-set “Ada” and the moody, perfectly cast drama “Parabola”—which convincingly stretches its narrative across two continents over two decades—we encounter virtually none of the frayed edges that usually (and charmingly) hint at the panic-stricken nature of Crazy8s, which allows for a scant three days of shooting and five of postproduction, all on a budget of $1,000. In the case of Jerome Yoo’s “Idols Never Die”, the action all takes place in a small Korean town in the wake of a K-pop superstar’s sudden death. Again, cannily using Lower Mainland locations including a school, a forest, and, most spectacularly, a temple mausoleum, “Idols Never Die” manages to sustain suspension of disbelief throughout its entire 17 minutes—already succeeding, therefore, in an area that so much Vancouver-shot Hollywood product can’t get right. Talking to the Straight barely 48 hours after delivering his final cut, Yoo credits the film’s success to a highly talented team, but also to a lot of serendipity. That last location was actually a substitute found and secured at the 11th hour. The production was similarly blessed by Vancouver’s recent snowfall, adding enormous atmosphere to two crucial sequences. And, craziest of all, Yoo’s entire cast of teen girls was nonprofessional. “It’s not easy to find fluent-Korean-speaking teenage actors!” he says. “It was street casting, basically. We
grabbed anyone we could who looked 16.” Working with casting director Ciarra Cook, Yoo in fact found his lead when young Catherine Shim accompanied a friend to the audition with no intention of trying out for the part herself. “We literally had a five-minute conversation,” he marvels.” And she carries the film. “That was the biggest potential crisis,” Yoo continues, insisting that the entire production was otherwise an unusually smooth affair. “By the end of the shoot they were like seasoned actors. I’m just so incredibly proud of them.” Behind the camera, meanwhile, Yoo could count on experienced professionals, eager as ever to join the Crazy8s party, to give “Idols Never Die” its impressive sheen. And he clearly made the right decision when he invited Kim’s Convenience star Andrea Bang to collaborate on the screenplay for his sweet (and occasionally creepy) tale of “four friends who find their sisterhood”. He adds that there’s no underestimating the mentoring offered by Crazy8s each year to its six finalists. “[Story editor] Rudy Thauberger gave invaluable notes about which story beats would or wouldn’t land. He’s a very talented writer,” he says. Providing advice from the director’s chair, Zach Lipovsky—who recently wrapped the big-screen adaptation of Disney’s Kim Possible—simply urged the 24-year-old actor turned director to “just do it. There’s no time to doubt yourself or think about what’s right or wrong. You have to really just believe. It’s simply about having the courage to execute your vision and your story in the way you want it to be told.” Sounds about right—although a ton of talent sure can’t hurt. g
JIM GREEN MEMORIAL LECTURE 2019: NATHAN EDELSON
The Future of Inner City Planning
NICE SMILE THROUGH THE CANADA LINE WINDOW
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 10, 2019 WHERE: Canada Line, Vancouver to Richmond You and I were sitting a seat or two apart and met eyes through the window. I got off at the last stop.
TALL MAN WITH BACKPACK AT PORTO CAFE
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 9, 2019 WHERE: Porto Cafe Cambie Between 3 and 4 pm, you came in, grabbed a coffee and promptly left. You had a big textbook in your arms. You were so attractive and I regret not saying anything...
Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ 12 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
March 13, 2019 at 7:00pm SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St. Register: jimgreenmemorial.eventbrite.ca Find more details at www.sfuwoodwards.ca
P OT PH OTO:: JIM M MAR RTI T NELL LLO
VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
22ND ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL FEATURING HIGHLY ANTICIPATED MOUNTAIN FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD + LIVE MULTI MEDIA PRESENTATIONS FROM OVER 30 LEADING ADVENTURERS. |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
LOCATED AT 7 VENUES THROUGHOUT THE LOWER MAINLAND • • • • • • •
CENTENNIAL THEATRE (NORTH VANCOUVER) RIO THEATRE (EAST VANCOUVER) THE CINEMATHEQUE (VANCOUVER DOWNTOWN) INLET THEATRE (PORT MOODY) FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE (UBC, VANCOUVER) KAY MEEK THEATRE (WEST VANCOUVER) THE ROX THEATRE (OLYMPIC OVAL, RICHMOND)
22ND ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
SPEAKERS + FILM SHOWS
TICKET PACKAGES $1/TICKET OFF 2 shows $2/TICKET OFF 3 shows $3/TICKET OFF 4 shows $4/TICKET OFF 5+ shows
TICKETS ON SALE AT WWW.VIMFF.ORG
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 13
Krystle Wright puts herself in the shot by Janet Smith
hen the Straight reaches adventure photographer Krystle Wright, she’s quite fittingly on a ski lift, swinging high above a Utah mountain. Just a few days earlier, she was sailing the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica, teaching a three-week course aboard the ship National Geographic Orion. “They call it the Drake Shake, and that’s pretty self-explanatory,” she says with a laugh. “It was rough.” Considering the endless travelling she’s done over the course of her career, you know it must have been a wild ride. Shooting everywhere from the frozen mountaintops of Baffin Island to the sperm-whale-swarmed depths off the Azores Islands, the Australian artist lives out of a duffle bag while making a concerted effort to stay anywhere but hotel rooms. “For the most part, I’m on friends’ couches or camping out,” she says before coming here for the Vancouver Mountain Film Festival. “And, honestly, I prefer that. It gives me a chance to catch up with friends.” Getting to know her subjects is part of the magic behind her outdoorsports photography. There is the lone free diver, shot from the depths of the cobalt Fijian ocean as he pushes toward the surface light; the BASE jumper plunging headfirst off a towering crag toward an emerald-green valley in Australia’s Blue Mountains; and the highliner teetering on a tightrope slung between the arms of a red Utah rock arch, somehow lensed from above. In each case, Wright is driven to find a fresh perspective on her epic shots of humans in nature. When you see photos like the overhead look at a paraglider bobbing
Photographer Krystle Wright risks life and limb to get pictures that have brought global renown. Photo by Ben Sturgulewski
above a dangerously jagged ridge in Pakistan’s snowcapped Rakaposhi mountains, your first reaction is usually “What is that person doing?” The inevitable next thought is “Wait. How did the photographer get this shot?” The answer is that Wright is often right there with her subjects. One of her most stunning images captures a climber at sunset, clinging to the side of Tasmania’s Totem Pole, a narrow sea stack that stands like a craggy pillar amid crashing waves. The iconic landmark has been shot thousands of times, so Wright knew she wanted to shoot it in a different way. And that meant dangling from a Tyrolean traverse—a ziplinelike rope slung between two rock towers on either side of the stack—with a buckle the only thing between her and the sea raging far below. (An airborne drone had to provide the flash; you can watch her entire journey in
The great thing about having this natural interest is I want to be part of the adventure too. – Krystle Wright
Red Bull TV’s online Breaking the Day video series.) “It took three days to set up the Tyrolean, with a whole crew, and then I had to hang out halfway to the middle to get this one shot,” says Wright, who had to swim
through the surging water to get to the opposite face. “That gives you a pretty good idea of the lengths I’ll go to. Three fucking days for that! “I feel some photographers get a bit lazy,” she adds. “The great thing about having this natural interest is I want to be part of the adventure too. I’m trying to tell a story about what that athlete is doing. Hopefully, it’s giving the viewer an idea of what it’s like for the adventurer to be climbing the Totem Pole.” For Wright, who is also a landscape photographer, the scenery is as much of a character in her shots as the tiny humans tackling it. “I think of it as landscape photography with action figures,” as she puts it. Wright credits her love of the wild outdoors to growing up amid the natural beauty of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where she was an avid surfer and embraced every sport she could find. A gig in newspaper and
PROGRAM FULL DETAILS AND TICKETS AVAILABLE AT WWW.VIMFF.ORG OPENING NIGHT WITH LIV SANSOZ 7:30PM
SAT FEB 23 PHOTO WORKSHOP 11AM BEST OF: SKI 2PM MOUNTAIN BIKE NIGHT 7:30PM
MON FEB 25
WHITEWATER 2PM SAFETY TO NOME 7:30PM
TUE FEB 26
FILMMAKING CHRIS BURKARD WORKSHOP12PM 7:30PM TRAIL RUNNING NIGHT 7:30PM
WED FEB 27
THU FEB 28
FRI MAR 1
SAT MAR 2
ARC’TERYX ALPINE NIGHT 7:30PM
PROTECT OUR WINTERS SNOW SHOW 7:30PM
BEYOND CLIMATE WITH DAVID SUZUKI 7:30PM
VIMFF FINALE WITH SASHA DIGIULIAN 7:30PM
DREAMRIDE: MIKE HOPKINS 7:30PM
JON TURK: THE DEEP WILD 7:30PM
KRYSTLE WRIGHT 7 30PM
KELLY CORDES: THE TOWER 7:30PM
MEC CANADIAN ADVENTURES 7:30PM
BEST OF:MOUNTAIN CULTURE 2PM SERENGETI RULES 7:30PM
INNER RANGES WITH GEOFF POWTER 7:30PM
HONOURING HIGH PLACES WITH HELEN ROLFE 7:30PM
AN UNCOMMON JOURNEY TO EVEREST 7:30PM
SEARCHING FOR TAO CANYON 7:30PM
BEST OF: MOUNTAIN SPORTS 7:30PM
BEST OF: ADVENTURE 7:30PM
BEAUTIFUL BRITISH COLUMBIA 7:30PM
The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival presents Krystle Wright at the Rio Theatre next Wednesday (February 27).
22ND ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
KATE HARRIS: LANDS OF LOST BORDERS SHE IS THE OCEAN 7:30PM 7:30PM
SUN MAR 3
VIMFF WINNING FILMS 2 7:30PM
BEST OF: MOUNTAIN BEST OF: ADVENTURE 2PM SPORTS 2PM MIND VS MOUNTAIN 7:30PM
KAY MEEK THEATRE
FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
SUN FEB 24
BEST OF: CLIMB 2PM
FRI FEB 22
sports photography in Sydney led to her interest in shooting extreme sports. Wright stays inspired by varying the outdoor adventures she lenses—a rarity in her field. “I never wanted to be pigeonholed into one or two sports. I do free diving, rock climbing, mountain climbing,” she says. “And each time I come back to one of them I say, ‘Oh, I fucking missed this!’ Like, I’ve fallen in love with freediving again. I love being in the deep blue.” Wright is willing to go to extremes in her endless, obsessive quest for the perfect shot, and as you might have guessed, she has the battle scars to prove it. Famously, she broke her front teeth during a mountain-biking trip to China, and, in her worst accident, her paraglider ran into boulders in remote Pakistan, requiring a seven-hour drive to hospital. It left her with internal bruising, tendon damage, two fractures, and 10 stitches above her eye. With that in mind, it’s no surprise Wright’s talk here at the fest (where she’s also screening her short film “Chasing Monsters”, about storm-chasing photographer Nick Moir) is called Risk Taking as a Modern Creative. But ask her about the fear factor in her work, and it sounds like the stress of her competitive field often outweighs the perils of, say, suspending yourself by a rope high over a turbulent ocean. “I don’t know where my next paycheque is going to be,” says Wright. “There’s definitely a very big risk to do this freelance lifestyle. I have no Plan B.” g
14 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
BEST OF: MOUNTAIN CULTURE 7:30PM UBC TRAIL RUNNING NIGHT 7:30PM
VIMFF WINNING FILMS 1 7:30PM
UBC SKI NIGHT 7:30PM
BEST OF: CLIMB 7:30PM
UBC CLIMBING NIGHT 7:30PM
B.C. filmmakers risk a wild Iditarod
by Adrian Mack
1,610-kilometre marathon across the most severe parts of the Alaska tundra, the Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) is open only to the most able, and possibly lunatic, of extreme outdoor-sports enthusiasts. It entails crossing murderous subzero terrain by foot, ski, or fat bike for up to 30 days; isolation and intense suffering are givens; and there’s no relief from the hovering risk of severe injury or death. Such an extraordinary feat of endurance deserves a commensurate (and possibly lunatic) achievement in filmmaking. Enter Jon Hunwick and Kenton Gilchrist of Vancouver’s Asymetriq Productions, whose Safety to Nome—screening at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Saturday (February 23)—is an intense featurelength chronicle of 2017’s ITI and a breathtaking example of the kind of B.C.–made adventure filmmaking that finds an eager audience at the 21-year-old festival. Of the 26 participants in 2017 who attempted the full 1,610-kilometre (1,000-mile) race, only six passed the finish line. It sounds as if the odds on completing Safety to Nome weren’t much better, with the two filmmakers plunged into a maelstrom of hardships and chaos, beset by unprecedented logistical problems and more than a few moments of stark existential panic. “We set off from the start of the race with Plan A and the best intentions, and by sundown of Day 1 we were on, like, Plan F,” says Hunwick, reached by the Georgia Straight in Alaska just prior to the film’s world premiere in Anchorage. “Everything went completely batshit crazy.” “It was the most terrified I’ve ever been in my whole life,” adds Gilchrist, joining his partner on the phone from Portland and describing his lowest point in the arduous, month-long shoot. Having been
A lonely participant faces the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Jon Hunwick and Kenton Gilchrist’s documentary, Safety to Nome.
dropped by bush plane on one side of a mountain pass, camera at the ready, Gilchrist was oblivious to the “crazy storm” on the other side that forced all the racers to retreat to a previous checkpoint. “So I spent the better part of three days out there wondering why nobody was coming by,” he relates, with a laugh. “I think I saw a total of five people over three days. I should have seen 30.” Arriving at an open river in subzero temperature, he remembers thinking, with a feeling of bottomless dread, “I have to cross this, and I have a two-year-old child at home.” Hunwick recalls an after-dark, 50-kilometre snowmobile journey “on fumes” along the Yukon River with a dead satellite phone as “among the loneliest times of my life”. If the duo still sound faintly surprised that they managed to survive and finish the movie—“When we left, I literally had no idea what the
story was,” says Hunwick—Safety to Nome is a seamless, captivating experience for the viewer. Ravishing drone photography of frigid Alaskan
always at the mercy of fate and the elements, there was never any guarantee they’d be able to assemble an actual narrative from their coverage.
You’re on the trail, it’s gruelling, it’s horrible, and then a month later all you’re thinking about is going back again. – Kenton Gilchrist
vistas aside, the film’s real success comes from its human drama. Working independently, travelling by snowmobile and bush plane,
The participant Hunwick and Gilchrist chose as their initial focus was knocked out by a chest infection after a mere three days. Others
were felled by stomach bugs, while frostbite cost at least one guy part of his ear (captured, deliciously, on film). Another young hopeful soldiers on at the risk of losing his fingers and nose. Ultimately, a 61-year-old veteran of the ITI emerges as the film’s heart and soul. Tim Hewitt had completed the trek nine times by foot. In 2017, he switches to fat bike and regrets the decision roughly five minutes in. “He’s on this bike and he hates the bike, and everyone’s bagging on him about how crappy it is,” Hunwick says, chuckling. “But then you see he starts to have fun, and he kinda opens up about his previous experiences, and I think it just really helps round out his character. He perseveres in this thing which is so hard for him.” In a phenomenon we witness more than once in Safety to Nome, a kind of elevated contentment eventually descends on Hewitt, soothing all the pain, exhaustion, and fear. It’s this state, along with the sheer remoteness of the trail—“What it does to your psyche,” in Gilchrist’s words—that ultimately bestows a sublime mystery upon Safety to Nome while speaking directly to the intangible appeal, understood by most VIMFF attendees, of the outdoor life. “A lot of people talked about that,” Gilchrist says. “You’re on the trail, you’re in the thick of it, it’s gruelling, it’s horrible—and then a month later, all you’re doing is thinking about going back again.” Gilchrist himself even hatched a plan to score more financing and shoot pickups in Alaska he knew they didn’t really need. And Hunwick? He’s in Anchorage for the film’s premiere, sure, but also to attend the ITI’s winter bike-training camp. In other words, he got bit by the subzero sublime. “Yeah, that’s a good way to put it,” he says. g
A short journey from Seymour to Peru
by Adrian Mack
s much as anything, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is a celebration of British Columbia itself—its filmmakers, its adventurers, and its incomparable geography. Here are five shorts that do right by beautiful B.C. “WE’RE GOING WHERE?” Easily one of the most visually exciting of this year’s shorts—which is saying something—“We’re Going Where?” ditches the Coast Mountains for Peru, where a group of Whistler mountain bikers challenge themselves to go “higher than before, further than before, and ride where no one has ridden before”. Cue the endlessly alien topography of the Andes, including the mind-blowing Rainbow Mountain (matched to an equivalently alien soundtrack of Explosions in the Sky and Faroese artist Eivør Pálsdóttir, among others). Included in the tour is a little-known high-alpine detour to Machu Picchu, dotted with backcountry huts, some of it stretching across crumbling cliff face. So, yes, “rideable” if you have nerves of steel. A sequence captured on the salt-covered dunes of Paracas is unspeakably exciting. Mountain Bike Night, Centennial Theatre, February 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Moberg, better known as a wildlife photographer who disavowed the sport, haunted by the call of a grieving moose while he gutted her calf. Moberg describes his childhood in rural Alberta before he takes to the placid waters around Alert Bay, Williams Lake, and the Great Bear Rainforest with Mike Willie of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, the two of them discussing their drive to protect the grizzly as they go. Of note: as with “Choose Your Own Adventure” (see below), there’s an underlying critique here of our brave new digital world, specifically the screeching Thunderdome of unreason we call Facebook. Beautiful British Columbia, Cinematheque, February 25 (7:30 p.m.) A lone skier gets a God’s-eye view of the Coast Mountains in VIMFF’s “Sound Water”.
“ECHOES ACROSS SEYMOUR” In varying states of decay, some 300 abandoned log cabins lie hidden within the forests of Mount Seymour, traces of the “Seymour pioneers” who tamed the area in the ’30s to create the resort we have today. Inhabiting one of the 10 that are still usable is “Uncle Al” Douglas, who’s spent four decades exploring the parts of Seymour history has forgotten, visible sometimes only in rusty bedsprings poking through
the soil or a corroded old pulley concealed in a tree. He’s our guide in this charming nine-minute short, although he’s competing with some fabulous archival 8mm footage from a time when a ski trip to Seymour meant an overnight stay. Beautiful British Columbia, Cinematheque, February 25 (7:30 p.m.) “WAY OF THE HUNTER”
In this characteristically solid effort from the NFB, the hunter is Robert
Recipient of 2018’s ARC’TERYX Adventure Film Grant, this no-frills effort makes its point as efficiently as it can: population growth in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, coupled with social media, means massively increased tourism. Mountain enthusiast and author Matt Gunn takes filmmaker Heather Mosher off the beaten path while pondering the issues arising from this, litter not being the smallest, with further thoughtful
input coming from activists like Steve Jones and disquieted veterans of Squamish Search and Rescue. It might leave some viewers with another reason to hate Instagram, but the cruel and obvious paradox is that you’ll also want to drop everything and go see Internet sensation Joffre Lakes for yourself. UBC Ski Night, Frederic Wood Theatre, February 27 (7:30 p.m.) “SOUND WATER” Drew Copeland goes out in pursuit of “the narratives of a place” in this lovely 12-minute short, which begins with the amiable self-styled “Traveller of the Hills” air-dropping with his friends into the Elaho Range for a God’s-eye view of Howe Sound. Moving on down the Squamish River, we’re introduced to Squamish Nation councillor Deanna Lewis— “We called our canoes our Cadillacs and the Howe Sound our highway,” she says—and finally arrive at Bowen Island, where artist-composer Pauline LeBel speaks of “the genius of Howe Sound—the water”. Then she reminds us that “we are water.” All travelogues should be as sweet and soulful as this winner of 2018’s MEC Adventure Grant. MEC Canadian Adventures, Rio Theatre, March 1 (7:30 p.m.) g
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 15
SELECTED GUEST SPEAKERS VIEW THE FULL PROGRAM AT WWW.VIMFF.ORG BRETTE HARRINGTON Climber, Alpinist In the summer of 2018, after the passing of her partner Marc-André Leclerc, Brette Harrington returned to Alaska where she made a collective six first ascents on the Juneau Ice Field. Brette will explore the themes of finding inspiration and solace in the mountains while recounting the different climbs she made throughout the season. To conclude her trip, her final ascent was one of great accomplishment by making the first ascent of the west face of Devils Paw, 1300m.
ARCTERYX ALPINE NIGHT FEB 2 - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
BRENT SEAL & JAMES FRYSTAK
Filmmaker, Director, Producer
Mountain Biking The Annapurna Circuit – Bikepacking the World’s Biggest Pass is a story about four adventurous women (Elladee Brown, Kelli Sherbinin, Jaime Hill, & Leslie Kehmeier) who tackle the Annapurna Circuit, one of the world’s most iconic and challenging long-distance trails by mountain bike.
Filmer and photographer James Frystak and mental health trainer Brent Seal journey to the Nepal Himalayas for the first time in search of adventure, connection and simplicity. The pair come up against unique challenges that create the full range of emotions, from fear and frustration to absolute awe and belly laughter. With Brent living with schizophrenia, they must navigate the risk of relapse while embracing the culture, community and stunning scenery along the way.
South African filmmaker Dean Leslie might not be a household name, but chances are you’ve seen his work. He is probably most well-known for establishing the online short film series, Salomon Running TV (now Salomon TV), with French outdoor brand, Salomon. His work has taken him to every continent, chasing down the world’s foremost endurance athletes and documenting the ways in which we interact with some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.
OPENING NIGHT FEB 22ND - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
MOUNTAIN BIKE NIGHT FEB 23RD - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
MIND VS MOUNTAIN FEB 23RD - 2PM INLET THEATRE
FILMMAKING WORKSHOP FEB 24TH - 12PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE UBC TRAIL RUN NIGHT FEB 26TH - 7:30 FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
Author, Filmmaker, Ultrarunner
Author, Adventure Travel
Adventure Photographer, Explorer
Filmmaker and writer Brendan Leonard never considered himself a runner, and definitely not an ultrarunner. But a few years ago, he entered his first race, and found that ultramarathons have a lot in common with work—which he’s no stranger to. In 2017, he entered his first 100mile race along with his friend Jayson Sime, and their experience became the film How to Run 100 Miles.
Between sneaking illegally across Tibet, studying the history of science at Oxford, and staring down a microscope for a doctorate at MIT, Kate Harris realized that she didn’t have to launch to the planet Mars to feel a sense of discovery. Weaving adventure, history, and reflections on her travels, Harris explores the meaning of “exploration” on our mapped and tamed world in this talk about her bicycle journey on the Silk Road.
Chris Burkard will take the stage to share for the first time some of his greatest lessons he has gained from behind the lens. From being thrown in a Russian jail cell to swimming in near freezing water these stories will be more than just pieces of advice for his fellow photographers, but wisdom that he says can only be learned the Hard Way. Chris has spent over a decade of his career traveling to some of the most remote parts of the globe.
Geoff Powter has been a life-long climber and adventurer, with 13 Himalayan expeditions and many first ascents around his home base in the Canadian Rockies on his resume, and has been a mountain writer and thinker for nearly as long. He was the Founding Editor of Polar Circus, was the Editor of The Canadian Alpine Journal for 13 years, and his magazine pieces for publications around the globe have earned him 14 National Magazine Awards.
LANDS OF LOST BORDERS FEB 25TH - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
CHRIS BURKARD SHOW FEB 25 - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
INNER RANGES NIGHT FEB 26TH- 7:30PM THE CINEMATHEQUE
Climber, Skier, Paraglider Liv Sansoz will bring you behind the scenes on her ambitious project to summit all 82 mountains above 4000m in the European Alps. Once at the summit, Liv would descend with her ski’s or paraglider if the weather and the mountain allowed. How does it feel to spend the night on a perched bivouak, high above the glacier? Experience the stress and anticipation before taking off from the summit with your wing. How did Liv prepare physically and mentally to climb, ski and fly off all these peaks ?
TRAIL RUNNING NIGHT FEB 24TH - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
ELLADEE BROWN, JAIME HILL, KELLI SHERBININ & LESLIE KEHMEIER Mountain Biking, Bikepacking, Himalayas
22ND ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
18 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
KAY MEEK THEATRE
Adventure Sports Photographer
Climber, Alpinist, Author
Jon Turk earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1971 and was nominated by National Geographic as one of the Top Ten Adventurers of the Year in 2012. Between these bookends, Jon has written 30 environmental science textbooks, has kayaked around Cape Horn and across the North Pacific, mountain biked across the northern Gobi and made numerous first ski descents and first rock climbing ascents around the globe.
Adventure Photographer Krystle Wright gives insight into her freelance career and how she’s endured the changes as a creative to stay current in an ever-evolving competitive industry. She will share some of her best-known images and the stories behind them in what it took to create iconic images.
Japan’s Junko Tabei was the first woman to climb Mount Everest and to complete the Seven Summits, both significant events in mountaineering history. This presentation by Helen Rolfe focuses on the writing process of Honouring High Places, the first English telling of Tabei’s life. Mixed with readings, stories of recent travels to Japan to meet the Tabei family, and a slideshow, this presentation shares the human element of both the climber and the writer.
Climber, writer, and self-proclaimed margarita specialist Kelly Cordes has established new alpine routes around the world, from Alaska to Peru, and Patagonia to Pakistan.As an undersized kid who wanted to be a cowboy, Kelly Cordes never dreamed that the mountains would define his life. His personal experiences in climbing and in life intersected with a larger journey as he sought to uncover the truth in his award-winning book The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre.
KRYSTLE WRIGHT SHOW FEB 27TH - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
THE DEEP WILD FEB 26TH - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
HONOURING HIGH PLACES FEB 27TH - 7:30PM THE CINEMATHEQUE
THE TOWER FEB 28TH - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
MIKE DOUGLAS & ANNA SEGAL DAVID SUZUKI
Author, Adventure Travel
Skiers, Environmental Advocates
Big Mountain Snowboarder
For travel writer Jamey Glasnovic adventure has always been a slippery concept to nail down. Is it high risk high reward type activities? Is foreign and exotic a prerequisite? Is it something else entirely? To support his new book, A Few Feet Short, An Uncommon Journey to Everest, Glasnovic examines his relationship with adventure and motivation, while reflecting on his 3 month journey to the Nepal Himalaya in 2016.
After witnessing the affects of climate change first hand in their travel around the mountain ranges of the world, Mike Douglas and Anna Segal decided to become members of Protect Our Winters – a US-based climate advocacy group founded by pro-snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007. Through their efforts in 2018, Protect Our Winters is now up and running in Canada with a man date of uniting the outdoor community and empowering youth to demand action on climate change.
AN UNCOMMON JOURNEY TO EVEREST FEB 28TH- 7:30PM THE CINEMATHEQUE
Scientist, Broadcaster, Author, Activist Dr. David Suzuki is a world-renowned scientist, broadcaster, author, activist and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is best known as the host of The Nature of Things – a landmark television series with over 50 seasons, the longest running on CBC – and Suzuki has been host since 1979. David has written or co-authored more than 50 books, nearly 20 of which are for children.
Ian Holmes is a big mountain snowboarder. An ex world cup competitor in Ice/Mixed climbing, Ian turned these skills to accessing bigger and more committing lines in remote parts of the planet. In his own words he is an extremely average climber and a below average snowboarder that just happens to be a better climber than most snowboarders, and a better snowboarder than most climbers.
MEC CANADIAN ADVENTURES MAR 1ST - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
PROTECT OUR WINTERS SNOW SHOW FEB 28TH - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
BEYOND CLIMATE MAR 1 - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
PAT MORROW & JEREMY SCHMIDT
Climber, Skier, Author
Filmmaker, Mountain Biker, Skier
In the 1970s, at a time before guidebooks and social media made the other-worldly beauty of slot canyons famous, Pat Morrow, Jeremy Schmidt, and Art Twomey set off looking for a canyon they knew did not exist. Every spring and fall for nearly ten years, the three friends dragged their cameras and climbing gear through the most remote and rugged corners of the American southwest, finding exquisite beauty and high-spirited adventure in places no one knew.
Doug Robinson is a professional mountaineer known internationally for his climbing, guiding and backcountry skiing, as well as his poetic writings about the mountains and why we climb them. Closely identified with California’s High Sierra, Doug has been called “the modern John Muir”. Doug’s long-awaited new book, The Alchemy of Action, offers a fresh—even shocking—explanation of why people climb mountains, by delving into the brain chemistry behind climber’s euphoria.
The award winning DreamRide trilogy by Mike Hopkins and Juicy Studios, has shown us what happens when you mix creativity with two wheels and toss them into the world’s wildest landscapes. Naturally there are fair few logistics that go hand in hand with these kind of productions, and we all know logistics open the door to the odd disaster, and dodging disaster usually makes for a pretty good story.
This last summer, Sasha DiGiulian set out to accomplish the Canadian Trilogy; a series of three 5.14 big walls in the Canadian Rockies. First established by Sonnie Trotter, DiGiulian became the second person in history to accomplish this feat. For the first time since, DiGiulian will uncover some never-before seen video footage from the upcoming film, as well as tell her journey along the way.
SEARCHING FOR TAO CANYON MAR 1ST - 7:30PM THE CINEMATHEQUE
UBC CLIMBING NIGHT MAR 1ST - 7:30PM FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
DREAMRIDE MAR 2ND - 7:30PM RIO THEATRE
VIMFF FINALE MAR 2ND - 7:30PM CENTENNIAL THEATRE
22ND ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL
FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
KAY MEEK THEATRE
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 19
The biggest adventure is into the now Explorer Jon Turk lays some truth on the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
by Adrian Mack
on Turk describes his message as “simple to express and difficult, maybe impossible, to realize”. But he wants to lay it on you anyway. The 74-year-old adventurerauthor arrives at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Tuesday (February 26) with a presentation, Deep Wild and Modern Tribalism. His event examines how the innate human orientation toward storytelling and myth, which he observed among the Samburu people of Kenya—“relatively as close to Stone Age tribalism as you can get,” he tells the Georgia Straight during a boisterous call from his winter home in Fernie, B.C.—has been seized and used against us, saddling 21st-century humanity with the foundational delusions of infinite growth and technological and civilizational progress. “We see 5,000 ads per day, 300 an hour, five a minute,” Turk says. “Each of those is a story. My point is that storytelling is so deeply ingrained in our DNA that we can’t get rid of it. But if we recognize who’s trying to manipulate us and why, we have then, maybe, a chance of not being manipulated.” In short, Turk’s position sounds like Roland Barthes jumbled together with Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle (whom Turk admires very much), and maybe a touch of George Carlin, although none of those guys ever mountain-biked across the Gobi Desert, paddled solo around Cape Horn, circumnavigated Ellesmere Island by kayak and ski, or visited “the otherworld” with a Siberian shaman— experiences described in a series of
could have followed the [Grateful] Dead or I could have jumped in a canoe and floated down the Mackenzie River and turned left and on into the mountains. And I picked the canoe.” He’s still in the canoe. Even on the phone, he projects the playful demeanour of a hippie-era boomer who took the fashionable route back to the land but never left. And that still wasn’t enough. “I took the mindset that I grew up with into my adventuring: strive, succeed, beat the odds, be smarter than the next guy, run farther, jump higher. ‘If I succeed at this, North Face will pick me up as an adventure athlete.’ And I very much lived that, even when I recognized I was going down the wrong path.”
After a lifeime of wild adventure and spirit work, Jon Turk has a few things to say.
books Turk began publishing in the late ’90s. He’s certainly the only one of them ever recognized as one of National Geographic’s top 10 adventurers of the year, as Turk was in 2012. His entire back story is remarkable, in fact. Born into the dawn of American postwar prosperity in 1945, Turk attended prep school in Connecticut with a certain George W. Bush—“I went as a scholarship kid; he went in as a privileged elite. We weren’t exactly buddies,” he deadpans—and hit New York’s folk-rock scene in the mid-’60s, where he ended
up managing the band Spoken Word. Turk laments not taking the Spoken Word to Monterey for the historic 1968 festival, although not too much. His path instead detoured to the University of Colorado, where he trained as an organic chemist before making the choice that would come to define his future. “I was doing theoretical work in chemistry, in the quantum mechanical nature of molecules, very theoretical stuff, when I decided I wanted to spend my life outdoors and do high-end adventuring,” he says. “I
We see five thousand ads per day, 300 an hour, five a minute. Each one of those is a story. – Jon Turk
Enter Moolynaut, the 96-year-old Koryak healer who reoriented Turk once again when a storm blew his kayak off course and into Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula in 1999. After some six years (on and off)
chewing amanita mushrooms with his new guide, and the spirit raven she summoned for him—all of it described in his 2010 book, The Raven’s Gift—Turk was transformed. He was already in his 50s at that point. When the Straight reaches him, Turk has just finished a day of backcountry exploration. “I’m getting old and the big adventures aren’t an option anymore,” he offers, “but my love of the wilderness is an option.” This niftily brings us to the profoundly simple yet very difficult solve that Turk proposes for the discontents we face as a species—a message that VIMFF’s audience is uniquely primed to hear. “The wilderness is devoid of stories. It’s complex, it’s chaotic, it could kill you today. It’s beautiful, it touches your soul in a special way, and it brings you into the now. Even if you’re grumpy and in a bad mood and mad at your wife, mad at the Mexicans, mad at whoever, the wilderness will clean all that out of you. Wilderness is one way out of the storytelling world that is embracing but also dangerous. So one way of getting into the now is getting into the wilderness. That’s the message, plain and simple.” Plain and simple, but also essential. And it probably couldn’t come in a more compelling, beguiling, or experienced package. Still, Turk says, “You’re not gonna get everybody to agree. Ultimately, a lot of it is: if you’re gonna reduce growth, which is the one central mythology, then you have to want less stuff. And people will agree with that in theory, but, ya know, the next sale at Walmart might change their minds.” g
THANK YOU TO OUR VALUED VIMFF 2019 PARTNERS! GOVERNMENT PARTNERS
WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE OF THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
PHOTO: PAT MORROW
DR. JOSEPH RAGAZ
PHOTO COMPETITION PARTNERS
WWW.VIMFF.ORG 20 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
Talking Stick show defies urge to label by Janet Smith
hen Looking for Tiger Lily comes to the Talking Stick Festival, audiences will meet Carla Rossi, a drag clown in whiteface and a fright wig. But don’t be afraid: she’s a trickster, a storyteller, and the living, outsized embodiment of all the cultural collisions and identity crises two-spirit interdisciplinary artist Anthony Hudson has experienced. Carla is part coyote figure, part PowerPoint-wielding speaker, and much more. “I want everyone to be as confused about who Carla is as I am confused about myself,” says Hudson with a laugh, speaking to the Straight over the phone from Portland, Oregon. “I always wanted to be a storyteller, standup comic, director, artist. Ultimately, Carla has allowed me to be all those things.” But Hudson’s show is named for another character—the one the artist grew up watching on a VCR in smalltown Kaiser, Oregon. It was the 1960 TV musical version of Peter Pan, in which the “Indians” in Neverland were blond and blue-eyed—led by Tiger Lily (Sondra Lee in a feathered headband). Audiences will see a clip from the film—the cringeworthy “Ugg-a-Wugg” musical number— in the projections in Hudson’s solo multimedia show. “Those Indians looked like me. I didn’t realize that was wrong. I only realized it in high school,” explains the vivacious artist, who is half Indigenous and half German, inheriting fair features from his mother’s side. “I was afraid of growing up and going out into a world that wasn’t safe. So as a kid I identified with that a lot. But watching Peter Pan again as a teen, I thought, ‘Oh! This is messed up!’ But at same time I still loved it! “I thought, ‘What do I do with this? This is a racist depiction, but also funny and something I love from my childhood.’ So it sort of became a preoccupation for another 10 years. Carla opens the show by coming out dancing to it.” To understand where Hudson is coming from, you have to first journey back to the small town the artist grew up in. “There were a lot of evangelical Christians. I didn’t feel safe there,” Hudson says.
Full Circle: First Nations Performance’s 18th annual Talking Stick Festival spans music, dance, staged readings, storytelling, and much more. Here are a few highlights from the Indigenous arts celebration, which runs to March 2: d WA× HOKS EN SHQALAWIN
(OPEN YOUR HEARTS) GALA CELEBRATION
(February 21 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre) The Louis Riel Métis Dancers launch the fest, amid the event’s visualarts exhibit, Using Tradition.
SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDS (February 24 at the
Roundhouse) If you haven’t seen the Haisla Nation hip-hop duo, prepare to be floored: their politically charged raps cover everything from pipelines to street protests.
CALLING IN THE DANCESTORS (March 1
at the Roundhouse) The allIndigenous burlesque group rocks the house to music from the likes of Kinnie Starr and Redbone. g
In Looking for Tiger Lily, Anthony Hudson uses drag and film to explore gender and race.
Hudson’s respite was spending time on the coast with relatives from the Grand Ronde nation. And later, in high school Hudson started forming new communities. “For me, it was growing up in this space and not really knowing how I identified,” explains Hudson, who wants to share the story now to help other young people in the same position. “I started the first gay-straight alliance in our school—and I was one of two out teenagers in our school. I got death threats over the phone; my home was egged almost nightly. But luckily I had a great support system. I was kind of an unapologetic queer kid. And I had my drama club: we had an amazing auditorium separate from the school, and I spent the entire last year in there.”
It wasn’t until Hudson had travelled to art school in Portland as a young adult that a roommate introduced Hudson to drag—and to Jinkx Monsoon, who went on to find fame as a finalist on Rupaul’s Drag Race. “I spent a good summer with her and was so inspired by what she was doing with drag,” says Hudson, who says the on-stage excursions started simply as “wild drunken nights”. But something started happening whenever Hudson slathered on the white greasepaint that was sitting around the house. “I thought, ‘This could be a way to address race and gender and what I’ve experienced,’ ” Hudson explains. “The whiteface became a weird mask.…I was studying critical race theory in college. And I realized whiteface was a sort of an
inversion of blackface and this could be a kind of reverse minstrel. I could use it to lampoon these structures in society, because I love playing her as a terrible person—but I thought transphobia and racism are terrible too. That’s when I realized she was my coyote character,” Hudson says, referring to the trickster of Hudson’s grandmother’s stories. “Portland is the whitest city in America, and it’s extremely gentrified; the nonwhite people are being pushed further and further out. I thought, ‘I can use this to push back at the city what it’s afraid to confront.’ ” And all that’s led to Looking for Tiger Lily, a show that Hudson says uses “song, dance, drag, and video to put a queer spin on the ancestral tradition of storytelling”.
You can expect a lot of humour, as well—much of it influenced by Hudson’s father. He was a social worker, and as a kid Hudson would often watch him make presentations to mostly white colleagues about the welfare system, explaining why it was better for Indigenous children to stay in Indigenous-family homes. “He would tell his old dad jokes and would break down their resistance or any racism they had,” Hudson recalls. “As a kid, I had watched them surrender over to him; he made them laugh and they were ready to listen to him. Humour is great for teaching and a great coping mechanism, too. And I thought, for this show, ‘I’m going to change it into a PowerPoint, just with singing and dancing.’ ” In Looking for Tiger Lily, the PowerPoint-style text projections include some provocative—and laugh-out-loud funny—play with the labels one should apply: “Indigenous” is “what we say on a grant form”; “American Indian” is “not to be confused with Indian American”. “I love language and I’m a playwright as well as everything else, and language can be a wonderful thing and a horrible, violent thing,” Hudson says. “There’s something funny to me about Native identity, that it’s constantly changed.… Like ‘Indian’—only my family and I can say that; it’s what I grew up with. Around white people we say ‘Native’. I don’t know that there is correct language.” Which brings us to the pronouns Hudson wants used in this article. After a lot of thinking, Hudson asks not to be called “they” but just to be referred to by the name Hudson—that is, when we’re not talking about Carla. “See, even with pronouns I don’t know which ones to use. It’s almost impossible to talk about people without gender!” Hudson observes. “That’s all we all want, is to be free to live without these boxes, these categories. We’re using pronouns to put people in boxes. And my goal is to try to confuse these words.” g The Talking Stick Festival presents Looking for Tiger Lily at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre on Tuesday (February 26).
Children of God returns home after tour
by Janet Smith
s part of the Talking Stick Festival, Children of God is coming home to the Cultch’s York Theatre as part of a cross-Canada tour—and it’s trailing rave reviews. When the musical opened in Montreal last month, the Gazette called it “emotionally shattering” but “ultimately uplifting”. At the same time, travelling from community to community has prompted countless conversations between the creators and cast and the public about an especially painful chapter in Canadian history. It’s been quite a trip for writer, director, composer, and lyricist Corey Payette, who has, with fascination, watched the show’s journey mirror the awakening of reconciliation in this country. “It was always a dream of mine to have the work be something that really inspired people to question the histories that we’ve been told,” the artistic director of local company Urban Ink tells the Straight over the phone. “So much of my upbringing, and so many people’s upbringing, lacked this history. I thought maybe one day, with this show and these characters, that people would not see it as just a family of Indigenous people historically, but as, ‘What if it had been your brother or your sister who had been sent to
Children of God’s journey has mirrored a country grappling with reconciliation. Photo by Emily Cooper.
these schools, and how would that impact your family?’ “Of course I never knew that this show I wrote over all those years would resonate with people so deeply,” he adds. “When it premiered in 2017 we were at a point where people were saying ‘Yes! We really need this right now!’ And it’s given us a snapshot of Canada while the country is grappling with this and saying ‘What does this mean?’ ”
Payette, who is of mixed Oji-Cree and French-Canadian heritage, started writing Children of God in 2010, in part as a way of dealing with his own frustration over not having learned about residential schools in classrooms or history books. Talking to elders and survivors, he built a story that centres on one Oji-Cree family’s residential-school experience. Siblings Tommy (Dillan Chiblow) and Julia (Cheyenne Scott) are snatched by the authorities and placed in a residential school, their mother is barred from seeing them, and the intergenerational trauma sets in. The subject matter can be so triggering that the show comes with trained counsellors and safe spaces. Payette has watched audiences become more and more aware of the legacy of residential schools during tours for Children of God and his follow-up work, Les Filles du Roi, written with Julie McIsaac, about the relationship between French settlers and Mohawks. “The biggest difference now is people are coming up after the show and wanting to talk about what they’re doing in their community,” Payette relates. Children of God has also been at the forefront of a growing wave of Indigenous work addressing the legacy of colonialism. Although there was a dearth of productions
about residential schools and their aftermath when Payette started writing Children of God, it has since been joined by Canadian works as varied as Signal Theatre’s dance-opera Bearing and Cliff Cardinal’s solo Huff. Other milestones Payette points to include actorplaywright Kevin Loring being appointed artistic director for Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre, and Payette’s own Urban Ink growing to present two or three shows per year. “There is more Indigenous work happening, more voices, more perspectives coming out, so it’s fitting we’re being copresented by the Talking Stick Festival for this return,” says Payette, who also has a new musical called Sedna, and has received a commission for another from Bard on the Beach. “Maybe Children of God can help bolster what’s already happening.… The biggest thing that inspires me about the cast for Children of God is these are our next leaders. I know in 10 or 15 years they will take up roles in artistic leadership and they’ll be the game changers.” g The Cultch and the Talking Stick Festival present Urban Ink Productions’ Children of God at the York Theatre from Wednesday (February 20) to March 10.
FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 21
Wen Wei Dance presents
FEBRUARY 19 - 23 | 2019 | 7PM SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE 677 Davie Street Tickets | $37 | wenweidance.ca WORLD PREMIERE Choreography by Wen Wei Wang
â€“ Georgia Straight
Ying Yun performers by Emily Cooper
â€œâ€Śone of the most exciting choreographers in the cityâ€?
Danish Quartet finds a new way to approach Beethoven
by Alexander Varty
ave for a handful of renegades and visionaries, classical musicians tend to put fidelity to the score close to the top of their priorities. That comes with certain constraintsâ€”especially when playing works like Ludwig van Beethovenâ€™s string quartets, which have been analyzed, performed, and reconsidered over and over again during the course of the past 200 years. So itâ€™s refreshing to discover that the young musicians of the Danish String Quartet have a new way of looking at this repertoire. The groupâ€™s 2018 release, PRISM I, the first in a projected series of five, contrasts Beethovenâ€™s Quartet No. 12 in E-flat Major with a work that inspired it and a work that was, in turn, inspired by it: Johann Sebastian Bachâ€™s Fugue in E-flat Major and Dmitri Shostakovichâ€™s Quartet No. 15 in E-flat Minor, respectively. The clarity of the DSQâ€™s playing illuminates the subtle links between the pieces. As violist AsbjĂ¸rn NĂ¸rgaard tells the Straight from a California residency, the record is programmed so as to spark an intuitive grasp of why this music matters. â€œThe idea came spontaneously when I was reading [Lewis] Lockwoodâ€™s brilliant Beethoven biography,â€? NĂ¸rgaard explains. â€œIn the chapters about the last phase of Beethovenâ€™s life, he writes about Beethovenâ€™s lifelong fascination with Bachâ€™s Well-Tempered Clavier; how he was obsessed with these Bach fugues and how he used them in various ways when composing his last five string quartets. At this point in time we had recorded lots of Danish music, contemporary music, and some folk music, so we felt we were ready to tackle some of the cornerstones of the
standard string quartet repertoire. But at the same time, weâ€”like many young musicians, I supposeâ€”felt a little bit bored with the idea of simply adding yet another recording of familiar repertoire to the pile of wonderful recordings. So the idea of framing the late Beethoven quartets in a slightly different way was very attractive to us. â€œMusicology is important and all, but at the end of the day, we wanted to create a project that would make sense on an intuitive level.â€? While the PRISM recordings are built around works from late in Beethovenâ€™s career, the Danish String Quartet wonâ€™t be playing those pieces in its upcoming Vancouver Recital Society concert. Instead, its members will focus on Beethovenâ€™s fourth and 10th quartetsâ€”and on music from the Nordic countries. NĂ¸rgaard notes that the DSQâ€™s recent emphasis on the complex later quartets has given all four musicians a great appreciation for the private side of Beethovenâ€™s work as a whole, and those are qualities theyâ€™ll take into their remarkably elegant interpretations of folk tunes from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. â€œPeople often assume that because we play traditional Nordic folk music, we also play classical music as if we were wearing clogs,â€? he says. â€œBut when we present a set of traditional tunes, we have to show the audience why we are bothering to play this music. And I think this position is one we should also be in when we perform the classical masters. We should never take music for granted, even Mozart and those guys.â€? g The Vancouver Recital Society presents the Danish String Quartet at the Vancouver Playhouse at 3 p.m. on Sunday (February 24).
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22 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 â€“ 28 / 2019
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Feb 20–Mar 10, 2019
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Urban Ink (VAN), Co-produced with the Segal Centre (MTL) Presented with the Talking Stick Festival
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FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 23
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Le Soulier shifts boldly between reality and fantasy by Janet Smith
In the new play Le Soulier, Benoit (Félix Beauchamp) is a boy whose everyday trip to the dentist unlocks deeper questions about his not-so-everyday troubles.
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24 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
rom the outset, the setup in the new play Le Soulier is about as everyday as it gets: a woman takes her son to a dentist appointment. But if you’re acquainted with the writing of Governor General’s Award–winning Quebec playwright David Paquet, you’ve probably figured out that things won’t stay ordinary for very long. And if you know the programming at Vancouver’s Frenchlanguage Théâtre la Seizième, you know there’s bound to be something a little different or surprising going on. In both cases, you’re right. “It starts somewhere normal, a dentist office, but then there are moments of magic and everything shifts and we are not in the world of the realistic,” explains the company’s artistic director, Esther Duquette, sitting in her West 7th Avenue office. Duquette is codirecting the world premiere, commissioned by La Théâtre, with playwright Gilles PoulinDenis—her partner, as the saying goes, in art and life. (As usual with their shows, this one features English surtitles on several nights.) Their previous joint effort was 2016’s Straight Jacket Winter, a wildly innovative, Jessie Award–nominated exploration of loneliness in Vancouver. They built that script together, so working with Paquet is a bit of a departure—but you can still expect the unexpected from Le Soulier. “This is like having a third electron,” Poulin-Denis says, referring to Paquet, whom they’ve been working with closely over two years for the play’s debut. “We wanted to be true to what he wanted,” adds Duquette. “If there’s a link between the two [Straight Jacket Winter and Le Soulier], it’s that we’re wanting to constantly surprise the audience and using theatricality to tell the story in a different way.” In Paquet’s play, it quickly becomes apparent that the problems go much deeper than a toothache for Benoit, the boy who has a meltdown in the dentist’s chair. The plot jumps back and forth in time,
showing moments again and again from different perspectives as it slowly reveals the truth. Poulin-Denis notes it’s essential for the actors to have a clear sense of their own characters’ arc so they can find where they are on the shifting time line. “It’s always great to see the actors’ gymnastics of being really precise in their movement and acting and switches,” he says. “Something very challenging for getting this script up on-stage is to find the comedy, but also the moments when the characters’ tragedies come through.” “It’s like a roller-coaster ride: one moment you’re laughing and the next it can pierce your heart,” Duquette says, stressing that the show, despite its surreal touches, is really about people caring for one another. On top of all this, Le Soulier has a physical component, with movement director and dance artist Noam Gagnon on hand to help those segments flow into the rest of the play. Without giving too much away, Duquette allows there is everything from a Zumba sequence to a karaoke scene. With the creative demands of the script, it helps that Poulin-Denis and Duquette work together so well. It’s rare, after all, to have two directors on a play. “It can be overwhelming for the actors, because two people are giving them notes,” Poulin-Denis says with a smile. “We know each other quite well, and we’ve been together for 13 years. We’re pretty much on the same page. But when we aren’t, it’s good for finding other possibilities.” “Ninety percent of the time, we have the same vision,” adds Duquette, explaining that one of their biggest commonalities is approaching every script differently. “We like to push further. I can’t do the same thing over and over—and you attract new audiences that way, too.” g Théâtre la Seizième presents Le Soulier at Studio 16 from next Wednesday (February 27) to March 9.
La Bohème comes to life in a Parisian flea market by Janet Smith
MUSIC LA BOHÈME
A Vancouver Opera production. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday, February 14. Continues until February 24
d BY NOW VANCOUVER Opera buffs know that the direction-design team of Renaud Doucet and André Barbe will give them a lot to look at. The pleasant surprise is that the pair’s postmodern-Paris-set La Bohème also provides a lot of stunning singing to listen to. In a bold move, the duo open the show in the present day, amid one of the City of Light’s famous, bustling flea markets, complete with antique shops and angling streetfronts and rooftops right out of Saint-Ouen. In a sly play on the nostalgia we all have for Paris, Barbe has slipped a postmark up into the sky above the sepia scene—turning the set into a vintage postcard. A visitor, who’s wearing a pink head wrap that hints she’s going through chemo, turns on an old gramophone at one of the stalls. As it plays the opening bars of Giacomo Puccini’s best-loved opera, the world around her turns to a 1920s scene. A flea-market potbelly stove suddenly becomes the place where the writer Rodolfo and his artist friends warm themselves in their garret; the woman with cancer even steps into the role of dying Mimi. What works most cleverly here is the way Doucet and Barbe circle back to contemporary times, from the beginning of Act 3, when the curtain rises on a homeless person sleeping in a doorway and a girl in a silver
minidress wandering the late-night streets, to Ross Braes’s accordion solo between the third and fourth acts. Doucet and Barbe, who so wowed crowds with their epic design for Turandot last season, make the set intimate here—visually rich, but with enough cozy, narrow streets to contain a story about a few starving artists who look out for one another. The artful setting takes on a whole new dimension when the real singing starts. Ji-Min Park has played the role of Rodolfo more than 100 times, and he brings to it an energy and unleashed passion that fall just to the right side of unhinged. He’s fun to watch. Mimi, perhaps by design, is more restrained; Quebec’s France Bellemare gives her a demure warmth, in both character and voice. And Sharleen Joynt fearlessly vamps it up and easily scales the heights of Musetta’s famous aria. The other star of this production is conductor Judith Yan. She draws out the lyrical beauty of Puccini’s music, easing gradually into, say, Mimi and Rodolfo’s goodbye duet in Act 3. In the end, Doucet’s approach is not to romanticize the love story between Mimi and Rodolfo, but rather to emphasize a community of underdogs trying to get through hard times. For that reason, the effect of this La Bohème might feel different than what you’re used to, especially in the final scene. They achieve something quite magical and transporting. Rather than witnessing the kind of melodramatic tragic love that has you pulling out the Kleenex, we see friends huddled together in the dark, ushering a loved one out of this mortal coil—a scene that could be from 1820, 1920, or 2020 and still affect you. g
Program 2 Feb 28 Mar 1 2 Choreography Jorma Elo 1st Flash Adi Salant WHICH/ONE Crystal Pite Solo Echo
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“Faced with such excellence, a mere critic can only abandon paper and pencil and listen to this heroic but deeply moving artist with awe and amazement” — Gramophone
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SUN MAR 3 at 3pm I VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE The brilliant British pianist returns with a fascinating program that juxtaposes music by Haydn and Brahms with Beethoven’s iconic Diabelli Variations, “the greatest piano piece ever written” according to Paul’s mentor, Alfred Brendel.
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masseytheatre.com FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 25
Barbs fly amid Panych’s darkly absurd Shoplifters by Darren Barefoot
THEATRE THE SHOPLIFTERS
Written and directed by Morris Panych. An Arts Club Theatre Company production. At the Granville Island Stage on Wednesday, February 13. Continues until March 9
Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director Ø Stephen Smith, Pianist March 9, 2019 | 7:30 pm 6:45 pm | Pre-concert talk
Shaughnessy Heights United Church, 1550 West 33rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC
ticketstonight.ca or call 1.877.840.0457
b “WHY WOULD I put meat under my dress? There’s enough bacteria down there.” Alma (Patti Allan) sits in the storeroom of a big-box grocery store, accused of stealing a couple of steaks via the undercarriage of her house dress. She did take them—that’s never in doubt—but her motives and her fate, as determined by the blustering renta-cops Otto (Dean Paul Gibson) and Dom (Raugi Yu), are the small, slight stories told in The Shoplifters. Alma is a veteran thief. However, she’s chosen a newbie for a fellow steakstealer. When Phyllis (Agnes Tong) gets bustled in, she’s nearly hysterical with fear and anxiety. She’ll do almost anything to avoid prosecution and losing her day job as a coat-check clerk. The two scofflaws and the two security guards snipe, parley, and philosophize their way through the show, which plays out more or less in real time. Playwright and director Morris Panych keeps things tight and punchy as they threaten each other with everything from a ballpoint pen to the evil eye. There’s also a Chekhov’s Taser that plays a supporting role. Allan and Gibson find great
chemistry as they trade barbs. We come to see them both as unlikely champions of the proletariat. The characters recognize their place among the 99 percent and the superstore as the Man, but the show shies away from any serious interrogation of this theme. I know it’s a comedy, but I felt there was room to mine this vein further. Tong and Yu sometimes struggled with the challenge of their one-note characters—Phyllis is hysterical and Dom is a God-botherer. Tong did get the biggest laugh of the night with a bit of physical business that I won’t spoil. If Ken MacDonald’s set suggests anything, it’s that iconic final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the crated Ark of the Covenant is hidden away in a sea of boxes in a warehouse. Save for a few pieces of practical furniture, the entire set is composed of over 800 cardboard boxes, their stacks climbing into the theatre’s flies. It’s very striking, like a lot of brown Lego or the bottom of an untidy Minecraft pit. MacDonald has arrayed little clusters of products—Windex, Gatorade, and the like—around the set, which lighting designer Alan Brodie lights up to accompany the throbbing scene-change music. It’s a neat trick, but the nightclub vibe of these transitions doesn’t match the show’s tone. Perhaps it’s because I just finished binging Season 3, but I saw a lot of the TV series Fargo in this production. They’re both dark comedies and small-time stories of cops and robbers with delusions of grandeur and occasional detours into the absurd. g
Mandel and Attell kick off laughs at JFL fest by Guy MacPherson
COMEDY JFL NORTHWEST DAY 1
At the Orpheum Theatre and Vogue Theatre on February 14
CHOR LEONI March 1,2,3 | 8pm March 2 | 4pm
ERICK LICHTE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
An explosion of choral, jazz, and pop music!
chorleoni.org | 1.877.840.0457 26 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
d THE WEATHER lately has been a joke, so what better time to start the annual JFL NorthWest Comedy festival? With snow blanketing the city on Valentine’s Day, new Just For Laughs owner Howie Mandel (who also dabbles in standup) welcomed the huddled masses to the Orpheum for a patented JFL–style gala. The youthful 63-year-old Canadian comedy legend was a perfect host for the event. Although he has lived in Los Angeles for 40 years, Mandel knew enough about Vancouver to ingratiate himself to the older fans in the crowd. He talked about performing here at Expo 86, and before that on the old Alan Hamel and Alan Thicke talk shows. The famously OCD hypochondriac was then predictably Howie, soliciting medical advice from the audience on a variety of ailments, including the advisability of using “nut cream” on athlete’s foot. Mandel brought out a series of performers who did short, sweet sets. No one overstayed his or her welcome. Regular Mandel opener and pal John Mendoza was first up. He’s a great joke writer of the same vintage as the host. Mendoza says he’s noticed so many Tim Hortons franchises sprouting up in Vancouver he saw one in a Starbucks. Chicago’s Matteo Lane, who described himself as “obviously gay”, hilariously, and sacrilegiously, posited an explanation for how Jesus walked on water that would surely offend the born-again set. Flula Borg, from Germany, did, essentially, Andy Kaufman’s Foreign Man character—a heavily accented comic-wannabe who gets laughs from purposely butchering setups and punch lines. Toronto resident DeAnne Smith
charmed one and all talking about feeling out of place at a Women’s March, while Daily Show contributor Roy Wood Jr. compared the easy pass that some heroes (firemen) get over other heroes (cops). It was an entertaining, tight package that left us wanting more. My only complaint is that there wasn’t a Vancouver comedian on the bill. Our best stack up with the best from anywhere, and it would have been nice to show one of them off to an audience that only comes out to big-ticket affairs. Those of us wanting more then walked a few doors down to the Vogue to catch the doyen of dick jokes, Dave Attell. It was MCed by Louis Katz, who offered up a spot-on analogy: “whiter than a $1,000 vet bill”. Perfect. Guest Morgan Murphy did a set before the headliner. It’s been 12 years since I last saw her here. Not too long ago she was Louis C.K.’s opener (whoops!) and was a writer on the Roseanne reboot (uh-oh!), but don’t hold those credits against her. Murphy is a really good standup. She talked a bit about Trump, then moved on to how women and professional athletes have a lot in common: they’re both irrelevant at 40 and know what it’s like to be traded for a 19-year-old. Attell hit the stage and upped the energy as only Attell can do with his booming voice, unmistakable rhythm, and rapid-fire killer jokes. As you would expect, a good number of them were about “s-e-x” (loved how he spelled out the word because, as he says, he’s a “faith-based comic” who will joke about 12-inch schlongs or “the forbidden hole”), but he’s not married to any particular category. He’s got gags aplenty, from kayak jokes to pottery digs to Bitcoin references (“air guitar currency”, as he calls it). The evening ended with all three comics on-stage riffing with each other. If Day 1 of the comedy fest was any foreshadowing, we’ve got another several days of laughs in the forecast. g
WHEN JUSTICE AND MORALS COLLIDE, WHERE IS THE LINE?
Cantata Singers look to Björk for cosmic concert
by Alexander Varty
The Vancouver Cantata Singers have found songs that are out of this world.
The Vancouver Cantata Singers present Musica Universalis at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre on Saturday (February 23).
GROSS MISCONDUCT By Meghan Gardiner
Mar. 14–23, 2019 Studio B Tickets only $29!
GatewayTheatre.com , H GatewayThtr Ian Butcher & Sereana Malani. Photo: David Cooper & Tim Matheson.
“Above all, Bezuidenhout knows how to make a fortepiano sing.”
A FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE ALLEY THEATRE PRODUCTION
— The Guardian
onsidering its undeniably cosmic content, the Vancouver Cantata Singers’ next concert program came out of the most mundane of circumstances: trying to fulfill the Canada Council’s three-year planning criteria with a grant deadline edging ever closer. “I was looking for threads—vertical threads, as opposed to horizontal, the way you’d program a season—by which I could align our concerts in a larger way,” VCS artistic director Paula Kremer explains, on the line from her South Surrey home. “And I thought of doing a series of concerts around what some people might refer to as the elements: fire and earth and water… And this originally had started out as the ‘air’ concert, air being the space around us.” This, we should explain, is Musica Universalis, a collection of 14 choral works that examine, in one way or another, the music of the spheres. Some, like Björk’s Cosmogony—here arranged by VCS alumnus Kristopher Fulton—address the founding myths of the universe, tales that involve eggbound Sanskrit gods and shining silver foxes. Some invoke more contemporary legends; Robin Salkeld’s I Am Voyager, for instance, pays homage to the space probe Voyager 1, sent on an endless journey into interstellar space in 1977, bearing a golden record encoded with music and text from many earthly cultures. A few of the pieces are more about inner space, local composer Jordan Nobles’s Stasis being an especially poignant meditation. Although the program delves back into the Romantic era through its inclusion of Robert Schumann’s An die Sterne, its focus is primarily contemporary—and Canadian, with half of the featured works coming from B.C.–based composers. Beyond that, the pieces will range from fresh takes on familiar tunes—Kremer takes particular pleasure in noting that the Cantata Singers will perform Eric Whitacre’s arrangement of the Depeche Mode hit “Enjoy the Silence”— to unabashedly avant-garde tests of technique like German composer Wolfram Buchenberg’s Klangfelder Raumschwingungen Oszillationen. “That means ‘sound fields, spatial vibrations, and oscillations’,” Kremer notes. “And it’s all in German nonsense syllables; it sounds almost electronic, in a way, if we do it well. The idea is that these voices are just making sound oscillations; there’s no real poem attached to that.” Adding particular resonance to the program is that it will be held in the atrium of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, one of the most unconventional yet vibrant spaces in the city. “I think it’s a great spot for this concert,” says Kremer. “We love the space; we love using the ramps and the height, so we’ll be singing the first half close to our audience.… but we’ll begin the second half of the concert higher up, and then get higher and higher as we go through our repertoire, until, at the end, we’re going to sing from the very top.” The symbolism is obvious: even in these dark times, it’s still possible for the human spirit to reach for the stars. g
BY ROSEMARY ROWE
“Overflowing with humour, humanity, insights and empathy ... should not be missed.”
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– Calgary Sun
FEB 27MAR 9
CHIAROSCURO QUARTET KRISTIAN BEZUIDENHOUT
FORTEPIANO SUN MAR 10 at 3pm I VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE SCHUBERT & MOZART The celebrated fortepianist joins forces with one of the world’s preeminent period ensembles to perform a program featuring an iconic Schubert masterpiece and an arrangement of a Mozart concerto. Not to be missed!
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FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 27
Zubot finds his place on the West Coast
d IT PROBABLY DOESN’T hurt that he’s living in Britannia Beach, with a view of the sea and the mountains, but violinist Joshua Zubot is making an easy transition into West Coast life, after spending most of his adult existence in the very different climate and culture of Montreal. Granted, he’s still learning the ins and outs of his new locale, but so far he likes what he’s found. “I knew a lot of the players here, and I’d played with them at little gigs here and there, but I still wasn’t sure about the whole scene here and what was happening,” explains the violinist, who’s quickly adopted the same sort of mix of solo projects, collaborative undertakings, session work, and international touring that has long sustained his equally gifted brother, Jesse Zubot. (It probably doesn’t hurt that he’s also picked up some of Jesse’s work, given that the older Zubot is so often on the road with Inuit phenomenon Tanya Tagaq.) “So when I did come here I was actually quite surprised at the energy that was happening. It seemed like I arrived
at a good time for this city. There out. Vancouver’s got a nice little were all these people interested in thing happening right now.” doing new projects, and places to Our town, he believes, is also deplay, and an audience that comes veloping a distinctive musical ethos,
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21
LA BOHÈME Vancouver Opera presents Puccini’s work. Feb 21, 7:30 pm; Feb 24, 2 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. $50-$175. THE MATCHMAKER The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Thornton Wilder’s uproarious play of forbidden young love and mistaken identity. To Feb 24, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Tix from $29. TRUE CRIME The Arts Club Theatre Company and Crow’s Theatre present a mind-twisting encounter created by Torquil Campbell and Chris Abraham. To Feb 24, BMO Theatre Centre. Tix from $29. CABARET Studio 58 presents a play set in 1929 Berlin at the notorious Kit Kat Klub. To Feb 24, 8-3 pm, Studio 58. Tix from $12.50. THE SHOPLIFTERS The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Morris Panych’s play about a career shoplifter. To Mar 9, Granville Island Stage. Tix from $29. YING YUN Wen Wei Dance’s latest choreographic creation. To Feb 23, 7 pm, Scotiabank Dance Centre. $37.
NICK SWARDSON Actor, writer, and comedian performs as part of JFL NorthWest. Feb 21, 6 pm, Vogue Theatre. $39.50.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 COASTAL DANCE FESTIVAL The Dancers of Damelahamid present ancestral and innovative performances from B.C., the Yukon, Quebec, Alaska, Washington state, and Australia. Feb 20-24, 7:30 pm, Anvil Centre. Tix from $25. KIDD PIVOT: REVISOR Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young create a dance-theatre hybrid. Feb 20-23, 8 pm, Vancouver Playhouse. Tix from $35. CHILDREN OF GOD Musical about the children of an Oji-Cree family who are sent to a residential school in northern Ontario. Feb 20–Mar 10, 8 pm, York Theatre. Tix $10-$51.
Joshua Zubot (left) says the local music scene’s energy surprised him; Nilüfer Yanya’s upcoming first LP is titled Miss Universe.
IMPROV VOYAGE Vancouver TheatreSports presents the maiden voyage of the “comedy cruise ship”. Feb 21, 7 pm, The Improv Centre. $45.99-$59.99.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 WATCH WHAT CRAPPENS Podcasters Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam perform as part of JFL NorthWest. Feb 22, 5 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $22.50.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 MICHELLE WOLF New York City-based writer, actor, and standup comedian performs as part of JFL NorthWest. Feb 23, 6 pm, Vogue Theatre. $39.50.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 JNT COMEDY Marijuana-themed comedy show hosted by Andrew Packer. Feb 24, 8 pm, Cannabis Culture Lounge. $10.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 SMETANA TRIO Musically exciting Czech piano trio plays the Bohemian Smetana Trio Op.15, the Russian Arensky Trio No.1, and Rachmaninov Trio Elegiaque. Feb 26, 8 pm, Vancouver Playhouse. $60/55/$15.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 ENDAAYAAN: OPENING RECEPTION FOR NEW EXHIBITION BY JOSH PAWISSTECKLEY Joshua Pawis-Steckley, an
Ojibwe Woodland Artist from Wasauksing First Nation and current artist in residence at Skwachàys Lodge, presents an exhibition of new paintings that reference his life back home and the varying relationships with family and the land. Opening reception Feb. 28. 5 pm; exhibit runs to Mar 28, 2019. Skwachàys Lodge.
TRAVIS LUPICK Vancouver journalist and author discusses his book Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction. Feb 28, 7-10 pm, Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art. $22.
SATURDAY, MARCH 2 RHYTHM OF DRUM—SPIRIT OF DANCE Vancouver Contemporary Chinese Dance Co. presents Rhythm of Drum—Spirit of Dance, an evening of original crosscultural dance works by award-winning choreographer Chengxin Wei, featuring special guest artists Uzume Taiko. Mar 2, 8 pm, Gateway Theatre. $30/$26. ORGANIC VOICES: LAUDATE SINGERS & ORGANIST EDWARD NORMAN Laudate Singers and guest organist Edward Norman present Organic Voices, a performance of powerful sonority. The concert includes amazing music by Brahms, Britten, Poulenc, Messiaen, Gabriel Jackson’s Missa Sanctae Margaretae, as well as the world premiere of Fire and Snow by composer-in-residence Marco Del Rio. Mar 2, 8 pm, West Vancouver United Church. $30/$25/$10/free. ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.
and while he’s loath to define exactly what that might be, he thinks it bears comparison to the East Coast and West Coast jazz scenes of the 1950s and ’60s. “It’s like in the East, people are squished together, and in the West, there’s just more space,” he notes. “And maybe that’s similar in the music. Even now, where I live, I can see forever.” On the near horizon, however, are two high-profile gigs that will showcase Zubot’s versatility. Some of that, he explains, can be attributed to his having grown up in an atmosphere of family music—his grandfather played professionally in southwestern Saskatchewan dance bands, and his father and uncles continued that tradition—before lucking into some extraordinary classical teachers in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The show closest to his heart is a rare appearance of his string quintet—which also features Jesse on viola, Meredith Bates on violin, Peggy Lee on cello, and James Meger on upright bass—as part of Granville Island’s annual free Winter Jazz festival. The group plays music that is hard to classify, but Zubot explains that it “incorporates different aspects: extended techniques, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of folk, a little bit of texture, noise, rhythm”. “It’s not always easy to find string players who are very, very comfortable with reading and improvising in the moment, just going for it,” he adds. “So it was really nice for me to come to the city and find these great string players who I’m able to do this kind of music with. It’s quite special.” Also special will be his Western Front appearance with American avant-trad singer, guitarist, and banjo player Sam Amidon, whose work puts a 21st-century spin on ancient mountain and murder ballads. This will find Zubot in more of an accompanist’s role, but in the context of another stellar band: also playing will be Lee on cello, local guitar god Paul Rigby, and New York bassist Shahzad Ismaily. It’ll be a very different sound, but that doesn’t faze Zubot in the least. “It’s kind of a normal thing for me to do abstract music and do nonabstract music,” he says. “For me, it’s just what I’ve always done.” by Alexander Varty
Joshua Zubot and Strings open for Peggy Lee’s Echo Painting at Performance Works on Friday (February 22), as part of the free Winter Jazz festival. Sam Amidon plays the Western Front on Monday (February 25).
NILUFER YANYA THRIVES ON MAKING CONNECTIONS d A FEW YEARS back, just as she was starting to build a reputation as one of the U.K.’s most promising young artists, Nilüfer Yanya signed on for an initiative run by her sister, 28 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT FEBRUARY 21 – 28 / 2019
called Artists in Transit. The London, England–based siblings started travelling to Greece, where, in refugee camps and squats, they helped oversee food distribution and work programs. In addition to games and sports, art classes have been a major part of Artists in Transit. “My sister said, ‘I want to go do these refugee workshops in Athens,’ ” Yanya says, on the line from a Chicago tour stop. “So I did it with her for the first time in 2016. I think of myself as quite an open-minded person, but I was surprised at how, when you really commit to going and meeting new people, barriers start to break down in your head. “So we’ve done it for the last three years,” she continues, “and what we’ve seen is the program getting more varied with more people involved. It’s something I never want to stop doing. Becoming someone’s friend is one of the most important things you can do. People don’t want to feel like they aren’t being seen and totally disregarded. We all want to connect with others.” Yanya is doing just that with a career that’s already yielded a couple of glowingly received EPs, Small Crimes and Plant Feed. Those records got her f lagged as a heaven-sent prodigy out to combine the best of PJ Harvey, Amy Winehouse, and Adele. Her upcoming full-length, Miss Universe, which arrives next month, builds on that promise, touching on everything from chillout-room soul (the aptly named “Paradise”) to Kraftwerk-tinted trip-hop (“Baby Blu”) to metalmachine alternative (“In Your Head”) to ocean-breeze new-wave reggae (“Paralyzed”). What’s immediately striking about Miss Universe is the way that the record (whose music is interspersed with short but soothing fake ads for a self-help centre) starts out on the dark side; “Monsters Under the Bed” has Yanya singing “Standing on the edge of reason/Not sure what’s right.” By the time she gets near the finish line, there’s a sense that she’s in a decidedly better place, admitting “All I really want is somebody to hold” in the dance-floor-ready “Tears”. “I kind of wrote a bunch of different songs and then put them together in an order that I felt made sense,” Yanya says. “The end goal is to just get there. I think it’s okay to not succeed, because, even if things don’t go as well as you hope, you can still enjoy your life. Having dark thoughts doesn’t necessarily make everything dark.” Those sound like the words of someone who’s genetically predisposed to seeing the good in everything, even on days when the sadness rolls in. Right from when she started taking piano as a kid, Yanya’s progressive parents instilled in her the idea that nothing brings people together like art— music being one of the most powerful unifying forces on the planet. So if Yanya’s on something of a mission—both with Artists in Transit and in her solo career—that’s hardly by accident. “There was always art around us when we were growing up, and I think that makes you look differently at the outside world,” she says. “Also, my dad’s from Istanbul, and my mom was brought up in London, but she’s Irish and Persian. Having that kind of heritage makes you really interested in finding similarities with others, instead of focusing on differences. You realize you really need to make connections to make sense of your own story.” by Mike Usinger
Nilüfer Yanya opens for Sharon Van Etten at the Imperial on Friday (February 22).
MUSIC LISTINGS CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22
THE MILK CRATE BANDITS New OrleansMEN I TRUST Electro-pop trio from Montreal. inspired jazz. Mar 2, 8-11:55 pm, Roundhouse Feb 22, 7 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $17. Community Arts & Recreation Centre. $15. JEFF LANG Blending rock, roots, folk, blues, QUIET CITY An intimate evening of music ballads, instrumentals, improvisation featuring Alex Zhang Hungtai, Dolphin Midand a high level of musicality, Australia’s wives, Military Genius, and Sandy Ewen. Mar 6, Jeff Lang is an incomparable singer/ 7 pm, Red Gate Gallery. $25. songwriter with virtuosic guitar chops including his signature slide. Feb 22, 8 pm, TODDCAST PODCAST CHEAP THRILLS St. James Hall. $25/$30. VOL. 14 Intimate and interactive show featuring the Jake Touzel Band. Mar 7, 8 pm, Railway MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND American Stage and Beer Café. Win your way in. singer–songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performs tunes from new album A Million CARLOS DEL JUNCO Canadian blues-jazz and One. Feb 22, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $17.50. harmonica ace. Mar 7, 8 pm, St. James Hall. $28/$24. SNOOP DOGG & FRIENDS American rapper, with guests Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G, RECOVERY BLUES Fundraiser featuring Kurupt, and Luniz. Feb 22, 8 pm, Rogers Arena. blues artists Sue Foley and Rita Chiarelli, $109.50/$99.50/$89.50/$69.50/ hosted by Corey Lavigne. Mar 8, 7 pm, The $54.50/$39.50. Metro. $40. CHAMPIAN FULTON Jazz vocalist and THE VANRAYS East Van soul-rock band, with pianist from New York City. Feb 22-23, 8 pm, guests the Pillocks. Mar 16, 7 pm, Fox Cabaret. Frankie’s Jazz Club. $25. $10/$12. FOREIGNER Anglo-American rockers from IMAR The Rogue Folk Club presents quartet the ‘70s. Feb 22-23, 8 pm, Hard Rock Casino from Glasgow, Scotland. Mar 20, 8 pm, St. Vancouver. $131.25/$141.25. James Hall. $28/$24. WINTER JAZZ ON GRANVILLE ISLAND TERROR JR. American pop duo composed Three days of free concerts. Feb 22-24, 8 pm, of David “Campa” Benjamin Singer-Vine and Performance Works. Free. Lisa Vitale. Mar 26, 9 pm, Venue. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, $22.50. SHARON VAN ETTEN American indie songwriter and musician, with guest Nilüfer Yanya. BONFIRE NIGHTS MUSIC FUNDRAISER Feb 22, 9 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $28.50. Blue Dirt Girl, Sarah Wheeler, and Reid Jamieson play a fundraiser for Aunt Leah’s Place. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 Apr 5, 7:30-11 pm, The Notional Space. $20. MORRISSEY Former singer for the Smiths SAVES THE DAY Rock band from New Jersey, performs material from latest solo album. with guests Remo Drive and Mighty. Feb 23, Apr 15, Orpheum Theatre. Tix on sale Feb 22, Biltmore Cabaret. $25-$30. 10 am. PARK SOUND PRESENTS Monthly musical MARIZA Portuguese fado singer. Apr 17, 10 showcase features Hello Victim, Cassandra pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Maze, and Leche Malo. Feb 23, 7 pm, Park From $15. Sound Studio. $8-$10. MATT ANDERSEN & THE MELLOTONES COMMON KINGS Reggae band from Orange Canadian blues singer-songwriter and guitar- County, California. Feb 23, 7 pm, Venue. $22.46. ist, with guests Wild River. Apr 25, 8 pm, Chan FRASER VALLEY ACOUSTIC GUITAR FESCentre. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, $46.50. TIVAL Featuring Russian/U.S. guitarist Piotr THE PALMS Pop trio from L.A. Apr 29, 9 pm, Pakhomkin. Feb 23, 7:30-10 pm, Auditorium Fox Cabaret. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, $15. - KPU Langley. $25/$20. SUZIE VINNICK Roots and blues singer, with DEAD MEADOW L.A.- based psych-rock guests Harris & DeBray. May 17, 7:30-10:30 pm, band. Feb 23, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $17.50. ANZA Club. $35-$40. FIESTA AFRICANA DJ Marc Fournier and THE ROOTS Grammy-winning band drummer Yoro Noukoussi present new and performs as part of the TD Vancouver Intervintage African, Latin, and tropical dance music. national Jazz Festival. Jun 28, 8 pm, Queen Feb 23, 10 pm, The Backstage Lounge. $10. Elizabeth Theatre. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, from $79. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 ROB ZOMBIE AND MARILYN MANSON JAZZ VESPERS Quintessential Jazz performs American shock-rockers coheadline on their standards and original tunes. Feb 24, 4-5 pm, Twins of Evil Tour. Aug 4, 7 pm, Rogers Arena. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, $119.50/$89.50/$69. St. Andrew’s United Church. By donation. REID JAMIESON Local singer-songwriter 50/$49.50/$39.50. performs a matinee album release show. Feb PRETTYMUCH American-Canadian 24, 2-5 pm, WISE Hall. $10-$20. boy band from L.A. Aug 16, 7 pm, Queen WAXAHATCHEE Katie Crutchfield performs Elizabeth Theatre. Tix on sale Mar 1, 10 am, tunes from latest release Great Thunder. Feb $49.95/32.50/29.95. 24, 8 pm, WISE Hall. $20. MARINA Welsh singer and songwriter COIN Indie-pop quartet from Nashville. Feb Marina Lambrini Diamandis. Oct 9, 9 pm, 24, 8 pm, Venue. $25. Orpheum Theatre. Tix on sale Feb 22, 10 am, $69/$53.50/$43.50.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 PARTNER Rock duo from New Brunswick, with guests Dude York. Feb 20, Fox Cabaret. $13.50. COLD CAVE American synth-pop/dark-wave artist Wesley Eisold. Feb 20, 8 pm, Imperial. $26.50. DANNY MICHEL The Rogue Folk Club presents Canadian folk-pop singer-songwriter. Feb 20, 8 pm, St. James Hall. $20/$16.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 STEPHEN FEARING Canadian folk singersongwriter. Feb 21, Bez Arts Hub. $32. TEENAGE FANCLUB Alt-rock band from Scotland. Feb 21, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $29.50.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 ROSIE & THE RIVETERS Folk anthems that paint a portrait of a woman’s voice in a man’s world. Feb 27, 8 pm, Evergreen Cultural Centre. $29/$15.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 ROBYN Swedish electro-pop singer-songwriter and producer. Feb 28, 7 pm, Pacific Coliseum. $59.50.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1 LONG RANGE HUSTLE Toronto-based indierock quintet. Mar 1, 7 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $13. BAILEN Melodic pop sibling band. Mar 1, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $12.
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SATURDAY, MARCH 2 THE COATHANGERS Punk rock/garage band from Atlanta. Mar 2, Imperial Vancouver. $17.50. BHAD BHABIE American rapper and Internet personality. Mar 2, 7 pm, Venue. $30/$35. LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO Ninemember choral group. Mar 2, 8-10 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. ANTIBALAS Brooklyn-based Afrobeat band. Mar 2, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $25.
SUNDAY, MARCH 3 BILLY IDOL Rocker from the ‘80s. Mar 3, 8 pm, Vogue Theatre. $114.50/$99.50/$64.50. MUSIC LISTINGSare a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.
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DANIEL ROMANO Canadian country-folk-rock singer-songwriter and poet, with guests Dead Soft. Feb 25, 7 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $9.99-$16.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 CURRENT JOYS American singer-songwriter Nicholas Rattigan. Feb 26, Biltmore Cabaret. $13. BEIRUT Indie-rock/world-music band from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Feb 26, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $69.50/$49.50/$35. ANDREA GIBSON American spoken-word performer, poet, and activist. Feb 26, 8 pm, WISE Hall. $22.50. ROYAL TRUX American rock band featuring Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty. Feb 26, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $30.
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INTERVIEWS DAILY C OV E RGI R LE S C ORT S .C OM
It’s time to consider the extra lobster
by Dan Savage
wo weeks ago, a long-time reader challenged me to create a new sexual neologism. (Quickly for the pedants: you’re right! It is redundant to describe a neologism as “new”, since neologisms are by definition new: “ne•ol•o•gism noun a newly coined word or expression”. You got me!) “Neo-Neologisms, Please!” was too polite to point it out, but my two most famous and widely used neologisms have been around so long—pegging (2001) and santorum (2003)—that they’re practically paleogisms at this point. So I accepted NNP’s challenge and proposed “with extra lobster”. My inspiration: on a visit to Iceland, I was delighted to discover that “with extra lobster” was a menu item at food carts that served lobster. This delighted me for two reasons. First, lobster is fucking delicious and getting extra lobster with your lobster is fucking awesome. And, second, “with extra lobster” sounded like it was a dirty euphemism for something equally awesome. I offered up my own suggested definition—someone who sticks their tongue out and licks your balls while they’re deep-throating your cock is giving you a blowjob with extra lobster—and invited readers to send in their own. It was my readers, after all, who came up with the winning definitions for pegging (“a woman fucking a man in the ass with a strap-on dildo”) and santorum (“the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”). What follow are the best readersuggested definitions for “with extra
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lobster”, with occasional commen- a.k.a. “the lips”, fewer know the name for the area between the labia minora. tary from yours truly… The spot where the opening to the b “WITH EXTRA lobster” sounds to me vaginal canal can be found—also part like going down on someone—re- of the vulva—is called the “vaginal gardless of sex—when it’s a little more vestibule”. According to my thesaurodoriferous than you would like be- us, lobby is a synonym for vestibule. So cause they haven’t bathed in a while. this proposed definition of “with extra For example: “Things were getting hot lobster” is pretty apt. Now, some will and heavy with my Tinder date last quibble with the lobbyish implication night, and then I started to go down that a vagina is a space that needs to be and was surprised with extra lobster.” entered. One can have a good time— great sex with lots of extra lobster— b I THINK I have a good candidate for without anyone being penetrated, i.e., your “with extra lobster” defi nition! without anyone entering the lobby. It could be applied to a man who has an exceptionally large and dangling foreskin (“His penis comes with b AS A VEGAN, Dan, I strongly object extra lobster!”) or a woman whose to “with extra lobster”. It reinforces labia protrude (“I love pussy with the speciesist notion that it is permissible to consume lobsters, sentient life extra lobster!”). forms that feel pain, and associating a b WHEN I first started dating my wife, sex act with the violence of meat conshe kept her lady parts waxed clean, sumption further desensitizes us to and they looked a bit like a lobster acts of sexual violence. claw, even being slightly red if the waxing was recent. We nicknamed Fuck off. her vagina and surrounding area “the Lobster”, or “Lobby” for short. So I would suggest that “with extra lob- b WHEN YOU SEE a gorgeous ultraster” should mean anytime you get feminine creature far more gorgeously some extra lobster in on the act—from feminine than my straight CIS ass will normal lesbian sex (two lobsters!) to ever be. But under all the silks and a standard-issue male-fantasy three- stockings and satin panties… there’s a some (two lobsters and one cock) to a wonderful and welcome surprise! That surprise second go-around after you girl comes WITH EXTRA LOBSTER! thought the sex was over. b I’VE LEARNED about fursuits from The area surrounding the vagina al- you, Dan, and so many other crazy ready has a name: the vulva. While things—like the guy who wanted to most people are familiar with the labia be sexually ravished and then torn majora and minora parts of the vulva, apart and eaten by zombies. With that
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pussy with extra chowder to me—and what you’ve described already has a perfectly good (and widely used) name: cream pie. And, please God, let’s leave Trump out of this. There’s no need to associate something so vile and disgusting with eating another man’s come out b THIS ISN’T A definition for “with exof your wife’s lobby. tra lobster”, but I wanted to share it. I live in Uganda and many of the streets b “WITH EXTRA LOBSTER” should refer are lined with stalls that sell BBQ to any intimate pleasure where your chicken. If you know to ask for the expectations are greatly exceeded! special chicken, they’ll often sell you I’m a gay man in my sixties, and my weed. “Special chicken” has become husband and I have been together for my favorite euphemism for weed! g Sounds more like
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I agree with the last two writers: “with extra lobster” shouldn’t refer to any specific sex act—and it should never involve actual lobsters and/or mental images of the current president of the United States—but should, instead, be a general term meaning “expectations exceeded”. When someone really comes through for you, when they knock your socks off, when they make you see stars—when they really WOW you—then you got boned or blown or fucked or flogged or torn apart and eaten by zombies with extra lobster! And with that sorted and settled, a bonus neologism to close the column…
b I USED TO hook up with a cuckold couple with a particularly naughty fetish: I’d fuck the woman, fill her up, and her man would eat it out of her. So, say you hooked up with a woman, let’s call her Melania, and her husband, call him Donald, ate her pussy after you filled her with come. Donald is eating pussy with extra lobster!
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b I BELIEVE your example of “with extra lobster” regarding an extra WOW factor during something sexual is perfect and doesn’t need extra explanation. As the saying goes, Dan, you pegged it!
and too improbable—and euphemisms that describe things that have never happened or only happen very, very rarely are unlikely to enter the lexicon.
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decades. I also have a friend with benefits. One night we were camping and I blurted out, “I would like to cuddle with you.” What happened next was 12 courses—at least—with extra lobster! We’ve managed to rekindle this energy every couple of years over the past 25!
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in mind, I think “with extra lobster” shouldn’t refer to a sex act. It should be ENTIRELY literal: an act of bestiality performed not with one lobster but with two or more lobsters. (The zombie guy hooked me on Savage Love. I’m too shallow for the actual problems and stuff. More freaks, please!)
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