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In August 2015, Myles Gray died at the hands of Vancouver police, but his family still waits for answers because the VPD wouldn’t fully cooperate with the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. > BY CHARLIE SMITH
Our 21st Golden Plates issue features some of the city’s top chefs and sommeliers, as well as insights into tipping, Vietnamese cuisine, omakase, bitters, and boodle fight.
As Betroffenheit returns home trailing awards and critical praise from around the world, dance artist Crystal Pite reflects on the journey.
START HERE 18 48 67 55 65 14 69 71 21 13 54 56
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> BY JANE T SMITH
Invaders go snatching in Before We Vanish; Meditation Park gets inside the East Side; Willem Dafoe climbs a writerly Mountain; Birdland might be a cult rave in the making.
58 Arts 69 Music
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From metal to cowpunk, Jason Corbett has played it all, but he says the ’80s-flavoured gloom of ACTORS is closest to his heart. > BY JOHN LUCAS
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STRAIGHT WRITER WINS 2018 GEORGE RYGA AWARD
The Georgia Straight’s Travis Lupick is the 2018 recipient of the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. He’ll receive the award for his first book, Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle With Addiction, which was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in November 2017. Fighting for Space recounts Vancouver activists’ fight for harm reduction, which culminated with the opening of North America’s first supervised-injection facility, Insite, and which continues today with the city’s response to the fentanyl crisis. “I hope that Fighting for Space receiving this award encourages discussion of Canada’s overdose epidemic,” Lupick said. “I worry that public attention is beginning to wane, or that a feeling of hopelessness is leading people to block the crisis from their minds. But the number of deaths remains higher than ever.” The Ryga Award is coordinated by Alan Twigg and B.C. BookWorld. Each year, it is given to an author who has demonstrated an “outstanding degree of social awareness”. Past recipients include Wade Davis, Maggie de Vries, and Bev Sellars. Twigg described the story in Fighting for Space as one in which the city should take pride. “As a native Vancouverite, I see my city as an overly boastful and self-satisfied bubble of unreality that is going downhill fast,” he said. “But there is one thing we have given to the world that can truly be described as ‘world class’ and that’s our courageous and hard-won drug addiction treatment program. “At the outset of his journalism career, [Lupick] has done an exemplary job documenting how a small group of activists put their hearts and minds into inventing a harm reduction program for the city that is saving lives on a daily basis.” Lupick will receive the award at a ceremony at the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch on June 28. Later this month, Lupick will host discussions about Fighting for Space and Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis in Montreal (March 14), Ottawa (March 16), and Toronto (March 19). More information is at fightingforspace.com. > STAFF
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Georgia Straight’s Travis Lupick won the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his book about harm reduction in Vancouver.
Workshops for volunteers and service providers who work with seniors
B.C. GROUP MAY BE REVIVED increasingly risky to cultivate the poppy fields required for heroin TO LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS
In the early 2010s, a group called Stop the Violence B.C. responded to an increase in gang violence across Metro Vancouver with a campaign to legalize and regulate cannabis. The prohibition of marijuana was creating an economic incentive for gang violence, their thinking went. Therefore, laws that forbid marijuana were doing more harm than any consumption of the plant itself. By 2015, the federal Liberal party had adopted the same position, and now the government is scheduled to legalize and regulate cannabis before the end of this summer. Dr. Evan Wood was a vocal member of Stop the Violence and today holds the position of director of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. In a telephone interview, he said there’s talk about getting Stop the Violence back together, this time to advocate for the legalization and regulation of all drugs. “There really needs to be a conversation that moves beyond just cannabis,” Wood told the Straight. “A conversation needs to be had on the question of fentanyl, acknowledging that fentanyl is a natural consequence of prohibition.” Wood described a phenomenon called the “iron law of prohibition”. “Originally, there was opium, a natural product from the poppy plant that was not nearly as toxic as heroin,” he began. As authorities cracked down on opium, innovation led criminal organizations to shift to heroin because it was more potent, less bulky, and therefore easier to smuggle past authorities. Next, America’s “war on drugs” made it
production. “So we discovered that you can make opioids without actually growing a poppy, that we can synthesize it [fentanyl] in a laboratory,” Wood concluded. According to the B.C. Coroners Service, there were 1,436 fatal overdoses across B.C. last year, and fentanyl was associated with 83 percent of them. That compares to an average of 204 deaths for the years 2001 to 2010, a period when fentanyl was not present in B.C.’s illicit-drug markets. “The B.C. Centre on Substance Use is interested in advancing a conversation where we start looking at the harms of prohibition,” Wood said. “There obviously needs to be a conversation about what the return on investment is for the taxpayer.” Geoff Plant was also a member of Stop the Violence as well as serving as B.C.’s attorney general from 2001 to 2005. “Why is it time to think about this again?” Plant asked. “Because of the carnage caused by the fentanyl-opioid crisis, and the recognition that here again we have an area of public policy where criminalization is a failure.” Plant told the Straight there’s no question that legalizing and regulating hard drugs like cocaine and heroin would be “more complicated” than marijuana. But he suggested that there is an experiment already underway from which we can learn about what effects legalization could have on illicit markets. “We’ll find out a little bit about that when we legalize cannabis,” Plant noted. “And, hopefully, we’ll learn something about how to do it better.” > TRAVIS LUPICK
Preparing for End of Life Presentation by Burnaby Hospice Society and Fraser Health Learn about emotional and spiritual needs that arise with a life limiting illness, and explore your thoughts on death and dying. Expand your capacity to provide emotional support to an older adult facing life limiting illness.
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Call 604.985.8713 or email email@example.com @alliesinaging This is one in a series of workshops by the Allies in Aging Volunteer Impact Team. Our goal is to reduce social isolation among seniors in Metro Vancouver. FUNDED IN PART BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S NEW HORIZONS FOR SENIORS PROGRAM.
The Georgia Straight | Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly | Volume 52 Number 2617 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 www.straight.com Phone: 604-730-7000 / Fax: 604-730-7010 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Display Advertising: 604-730-7020 / Fax: 604-730-7012 / e-mail: email@example.com Classifieds: 604-730-7060 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions: 604-730-7000 Distribution: 604-730-7087 EDITOR + PUBLISHER Dan McLeod ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Yolanda Stepien GENERAL MANAGER Matt McLeod EDITOR Charlie Smith SECTION EDITORS
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Future of False Creek South leases in doubt Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver is facing criticism for what it defines as affordable rental housing
wners of strata proper- is that as the leases are coming to ties on False Creek South an end, it’s very hard for people, for lands belonging to the seniors or people on fixed income, City of Vancouver have who own a strata to pay for costly reasons to be anxious. renovations,” Edelson said. “So havThey want to stay in the beauti- ing a significant lease-end value, we ful waterfront community, but the believe, may become part of the way city has yet to decide whether or people can borrow funds in order to not to renew the 60-year leases that pay for major renovations.” will mostly be expiring between The city is working on a new 2036 and 2046. planning program about the future In addition, they do not know of False Creek South. how much they will be paid for What is clear is that more detheir investment if the city decides velopment is coming to the neighto take the land back. bourhood, and current residents According to a former city plan- are open to increased density that ner now working for the False respects the historic design of their Creek South Neighbourhood As- community. sociation, the valuation of the les“In many ways, residents don’t sees’ interest is a want the leases to matter that may end,” Edelson reach the courts. said. “They’d Nathan Edellike to be able to Carlito Pablo son noted that be in a position to based on the “legal work” by the renew the leases, but to do it in the association, the worth of the stake future in a more timely way, because that needs to be paid in case the this has become very stressful.” city does not renew the leases could A LITIGATOR who specializes in be “close to market value”. But according to Edelson, the municipal law suggests that a 2014 city believes that the value of the B.C. Supreme Court decision may residents’ investment is “consider- be worth reading again. Nathalie Baker made the recomably less”. “A lot of the people who bought mendation amid criticism from the property were led to believe, and public about how the City of Vanwe believe that there is a legal case couver defines “for-profit affordfor this, you know, we don’t want it able rental housing”. It’s also a time when civic parties to go to a legal case, but if it were to, that there would be grounds are gearing up for a new election for a serious consideration that in October this year, hence the relthat means virtually freehold,” evance of the nearly four-year-old Edelson told the Georgia Straight court ruling. Baker knows this case well bein a phone interview. False Creek South is one of the most cause she represented the group of residents that sought a judicial redesirable communities in the city. Located between the Burrard and view of a city bylaw that provided Cambie bridges and north of the incentives to developers to build Fairview Slopes neighbourhood, “affordable rental housing”. Through Baker, the West End the 55-hectare community boasts extensive park and green spaces Neighbours Residents Society in that provide a lush setting for most- 2014 argued that the city did not provide a plan for affordable rental ly low-rise residential buildings. It is also an inclusive commun- housing and delivered instead a ity with its equal mix of condos, scheme to subsidize private denonmarket rentals, and housing velopers to build market rentals. At that time, developers were co-ops. The city owns 80 percent of the eligible for city incentives if their land in False Creek South. Of the rental housing had initial rents of 3,155 market and nonmarket hous- $1,443 per month for a studio unit, ing units in the neighbourhood, $1,517 for a one-bedroom, and 825 of the market units are on city- $2,061 for two bedrooms. The numbers have increased owned land. On July 12, 2017, city staff pre- since then. For the year 2018, the city will sented to council a framework to resolve end-of-lease issues regard- reward developers if the starting rates for their “for-profit affording those strata properties. The framework covers 669 resi- able rental housing” in the West dential leasehold strata units and End are as follows: $3,702, three 48 commercial strata units, for a bedrooms; $2,756, two bedrooms; $1,903, one bedroom; and $1,646, total of 717 units. According to the staff report, the studio. In East Vancouver, the city must purchase the lessee’s in- rates are: $3,365, three bedrooms; terest in the strata lot if the lease $2,505, two bedrooms; $1,730, one is not renewed, and this is where bedroom; and $1,496, studio. Going back to the court case, things get complicated. The purchase price cannot be Justice Susan Griffin dismissed based on a schedule provided in the petition filed by Baker’s clients the lease agreement, because there against the rental policy brought was no such provision in the first in by Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver councillors. place. “The subjective nature of what is Staff explained in the report that this leaves the basis for the price ‘for-profit’, and the relative nature to be “the fair market value of the of ‘affordability’ creates considerleasehold tenant’s interest in the able room for disagreement but strata lot evaluated…as if the strata I also find that it creates considerable room for Council to exercise lot lease did not expire”. But according to Edelson, resi- its judgment,” Griffin wrote in her dents and the city do not agree on May 30, 2014, decision. “I conclude that this is what it has done.” what constitutes market value. Those who disagree with how the In addition to protecting the value of their investment, Edelson city defines what is affordable may said that a number of residents are want to read what Griffin wrote also concerned about being able to next: “Despite the thoughtful arguaccess money from financial insti- ments advanced by the petitioner, tutions in order to maintain their I find that the petitioner’s position falls into the category of criticism properties. Edelson noted that many prop- of Council’s political choices. That erties now require renovations, is not a matter on which the Court and residents need to get loans to ought to weigh in. Instead, the forum for these arguments is the finance the work. “An issue that we’re running into ballot box.” -
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Bertram Loeb Research Chair and Professor Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa Followed by international commentaries
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MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 15
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Myles Gray, a 33-year-old Sechelt businessman, was killed by Vancouver police in 2015 and the VPD has stalled an independent investigation.
VPD delayed probe in Myles Gray killing
he father of modern policing, Attorney General David Eby has Sir Robert Peel, famously said stated that police officers are obliged in the 19th century that the to cooperate with the IIO. Eby forged police are the public and the a reputation before entering politics public are the police. He also noted as a civil-liberties lawyer who took that the police are “the only mem- police brutality seriously. bers of the public who are paid to give But there has been not a word full-time attention to duties which from the Vancouver police board, are incumbent on every citizen in which has a mandate to provide the interests of community welfare general direction to the VPD “in reand existence”. sponse to community needs”. But it’s hard for the communThe seven provincial appoinity to take comfort in Peel’s words tees to the police board, as well as when it comes Vancouver mayor to the death of Gregor RobertMyles Gray. In son, gave Chief August 2015, the Adam Palmer a Charlie Smith 33-year-old busiblank cheque to nessman from Sechelt was killed by refuse to cooperate with the civilsix Vancouver police officers in the ian investigation office. 8300 block of Joffre Avenue in BurMany people, including Eby, naby. According to documents filed fought for years to have independent in court, Gray was pepper-sprayed oversight of municipal police in B.C. and died with significant bruising The public silence of police-board to his face, forehead, and head. members on the VPD’s obstruction Gray also had lacerations to his of an independent probe should set face, a broken nose, a dislocated off alarm bells for every citizen of jaw, hemorrhaged testicles, a broken Vancouver, even after the court petiright orbital bone, bruising and car- tion has been withdrawn. tilage damage across the throat, a Not only does Gray’s death raise a fractured sternum, a fractured rib, red flag about police accountability, and ankle and wrist bruising. it also has financial ramifications for Gray, a landscaper, came to po- taxpayers. Why should one publicly lice officers’ attention after telling a funded body, the IIO, have to take woman that she shouldn’t be water- another publicly funded body, the ing her lawn. Water restrictions were VPD, to a taxpayer-funded court to in place at the time. According to a address something already resolved VPD news release, he “became agi- through provincial legislation? tated” when he was initially stopped There are no public funds availin the 3600 block of Southeast Mar- able for counselling for families copine Drive. Reinforcements were ing with the loss of loved ones killed called even though he wasn’t armed in encounters with the police. There and didn’t have a criminal record. are no public funds available for The Justice for Myles Gray web- these families to be represented by site describes him as a “kind, car- legal counsel at coroner’s inquests. ing, loving person”. Police, however, There are no public funds available claimed on August 13, 2015, that fol- to conduct mandatory drug-testing lowing an altercation that left him of police officers, including testing dead, six officers were sent to hospi- them for steroids. But there’s mastal, including two with “significant sive funding available for lawyers to injuries” who were released the same draft judicial-review applications, day. The VPD alleged that chemical prepare arguments, and delay inagents were used to subdue him, but vestigations of police, sometimes this didn’t work. Gray was 5-10 and enabling the officers to eventually in good physical condition. retire, making them no longer subNormally when there’s a police- ject to the Police Act. involved death, the civilian-overThe president of the Vancouver sight system kicks in and there is an Police Union, Tom Stamatakis, independent investigation. There’s said in 2016 that independent civilalso a coroner’s inquest. ian oversight of police is “absoluteBut in this instance, almost 30 ly necessary”. months after Gray’s death, the “But they should investigate in Vancouver Police Department was a timely way, and it should be done continuing to oppose allowing the transparently,” he told CBC News. Independent Investigations Office of Yet on March 1, Stamatakis tweetB.C. to conduct a second interview ed that there’s not a single province with one of its officers. As a result, the in Canada with civilian oversight IIO announced in October that it had “where witnesses don’t face jeopardy”. filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court Stamatakis also declared in his tweet to seek a judicial order forcing this of- that witnesses are “typically bullied & ficer to cooperate. pressured” to provide information to The VPD continued stonewall- investigators who are looking for—or ing. It was only on March 2 that the are set up to find—discrepancies that IIO announced that the matter had can be “used to allege wrongdoing”. been resolved. The police officer Stamatakis seems to be suggesting was interviewed, the court petition that the deck is stacked against police was withdrawn, and the investiga- with civilian oversight. tion is continuing. In the meantime, a family waits The public was notified through a more than two-and-a-half years for statement on the IIO website. There’s answers about why their son and no mention of this remarkable de- brother died at the hands of police. velopment on the VPD website. It’s shameful. -
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MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 17
From left: Terese Marie Mailhot makes a breath-taking debut (Isaiah Mailhot photo); Timothy Taylor feeds tension in his latest novel (David Middleton photo).
Love and pain glow in brilliant Heart Berries THE RULE OF STEPHENS
By Timothy Taylor. Doubleday Canada,
HEART BERRIES: A MEMOIR 230 pp, softcover By Terese Marie Mailhot. Doubleday Canada, 160 pp, hardcover
In her internationally acnew memoir Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot delivers a devastating meditation on intergenerational trauma. On the pain of growing up Indigenous, poor, and female. Of needing escape, running, rarely finding refuge. Of not being seen. “Nobody wants to know why Indian women leave or where they go,” Mailhot writes. “Our bodies walk across the highway from the dances of our youth into missing narratives without strobe lights or sweet drinks in our small purses, or the talk of leaving. The truth of our leaving or coming into the world is never told.” The beauty of the moment that we are in right now in CanLit is that many of these stories are now being told—and with a brilliance that takes one’s breath away. Mailhot began writing this book in a psych ward, where the nurses “smelled like their homes and lunches and living”. Suicidal over a breakup, she committed herself on two conditions: that she would make it home to spend Christmas with her son, and that the doctors there would allow her to write. The resulting pages formed the foundation for this astounding debut, written as a letter to her then lover, now husband, the writer Casey Gray. The slim, poetic tome chronicles their love affair. But it also tells the story of a woman coming into her own as a writer. And facing a dark past and a debilitating mental illness. Born into the legacy of residential schools, Mailhot, a member of the Seabird Island Band, was raised on a reserve near Agassiz. Her mother was a cynical socialjustice activist who sometimes “had to lock herself away from the world”; her father was violent and frequently drunk. He was found in a hotel, beaten to death over either a prostitute or a cigarette. Mailhot’s own trajectory includes foster care, a teenage marriage, divorce, losing custody of a child, and suicide attempts. In reading all this, though, one never forgets—not for one moment—her strength and tenacity. And dizzying talent.
> TARA HENLEY
Terese Marie Mailhot will join fellow author Chelene Knight for a reading in the Alice MacKay Room of the Vancouver Public Library on Monday (March 12).
18 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Most of what you need to know Timothy Taylor’s new novel is contained in its title, and we’re about to explain that title now. Step away if you have to be surprised. The “Stephens” invoked here are the physicist-philosopher Hawking and the horror-fiction innovator King; the “rule” is that the world has to operate according to rules laid down by either one or the other. Hawking’s universe is mysterious but orderly: forces act on other forces and there are consequences; logic can untangle any snarl. King’s, instead, embraces a mirror-image version of that most fatuous axiom “Everything happens for a reason.” Nothing happens for a reason on his terrain; the world is random and cruel. Are these mutually exclusive world-views? Not when your protagonist has fallen 28,000 feet out of the sky when the airliner she’s riding in disintegrates, and then risen, barely scratched, from the chilly Atlantic off the Irish coast. Catherine Bach is, she thinks, a staunch member of Hawking’s camp. A former trauma doctor in the Downtown Eastside, she wants to do well by doing good, and has come up with a brilliant self-care solution: an ingestible sensor that relays medical information from the body to a diagnostic computer app. Her problems are technological (how can the sensor attach itself to the stomach lining?) and financial (where will the money come from to take this to market?). A predatory venture capitalist offers opportunity, at first, and then a threat, but there are logical ways to deal with Morris Parmer. More problematic is the deep sense of malaise that Bach’s accident and survival have unleashed. Into her selfwilled world something malevolent has ventured, an evil power she visualizes as a swarm of screeching black birds pouring out of her chest. Inexplicable suicides mount around her. Cracks appear in her fortress of reason. And, most troublingly, she acquires a doppelgänger with the power to bring all of her careful plans to naught. The tension between these polarities drives The Rule of Stephens, sometimes uncomfortably. It’s puzzling, for instance, that Taylor’s business whodunit is, at first, far more gripping than his supernatural horror story, with the two tales seemingly uneasy about sharing a single cover. Both angles are eventually reconciled, however, and while we won’t flag whether the ending is happy or not, we will say that Taylor’s third Vancouver-set novel is a compelling tale of morality, medical science, chance, and what it’s like to live right here, right now.
> ALEXANDER VARTY
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20 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
straight stars > B Y ROSE MA RC U S
March 8 to 14, 2018
o you have a handle on it? Is the strategy working? Whatâ€™s behind it? Whoâ€™s behind it? These questions and more keep the obsession going strong as Jupiter in Scorpio begins its fourmonth retrograde cycle on Thursday. The soul-searching and probing mission now takes a deeper dive. The transit aims to uncover what you/we need to know. Peeling it back layer by layer, Jupiter wonâ€™t stop until it gets a better fix on the root of the matter, until it has a better understanding regarding what it is that propels the need or the desire. If you are on track with an empowered initiative, look to Jupiter retrograde to guide you to specific next steps with efficient, cut-to-thechase precision. If you have veered off course, Jupiter retrograde will keep sending you signals until they are too obvious to ignore. The transit also serves to stop the overgrowth, to get it better contained and under control. If you are searching for answers regarding the parts of life that are beyond control or beyond fathomable, look to Jupiter retrograde to assist you to grasp a greater psychological, spiritual, or metaphysical perspective. On Saturday, Mercury in Aries squares Saturn. Itâ€™s an excellent combination for any work or matter that requires a disciplined focus, for setting the record straight, streamlining, and for making efficient use of your time. Perseverance can net a payoff, but thereâ€™s wisdom in knowing when to keep going and when to stop. In contrast, early Sunday Mars trines Uranus. Itâ€™s a well-timed springforward transit. Tuesday, Venus/Saturn starts the day; Sun/Jupiter rounds it out. Substantial gains can be made.
March 20â€“April 19
The stars are conspiring on your behalf. Progressively, Jupiter retrograde will uncover what you need to know. It could reaffirm what youâ€™ve already figured out, can reverse the effect of the overgrowth, and help you manage finances, projects, or circumstances. Saturday calls for added effort or restraint. Sunday sparks synchronicity and intuitive smarts. Tuesday produces/calls for more.
April 20â€“May 20
Has your inner voice been nagging at you? Jupiter retrograde can uncover the feelings or the truth youâ€™ve tried to downplay. During this next week, Mercury/Saturn and Venus/Saturn have signed you up for the push-through, forge-ahead, or surpass-it program. Mars/Uranus and sun/Jupiter give you wings. In the mix is a combo of increasing necessity with timely up-for-grabs opportunity. Follow your instincts. GEMINI
May 21â€“June 21
The stars dish a mixed bag for this next week. Some things are easily rolling/come naturally. Others require more effort, study, or investment. Jupiter retrograde requires that you recommit to your health and well-being. It is an appropriate transit to renegotiate a loan, rework the budget, seek counselling, or upgrade equipment, training, and education. Trust at issue? Ask more questions.
June 21â€“July 22
Insight, inner motivation, and resourcefulness increase. Youâ€™ll gain a better opportunity to get to the bottom of unresolved emotions and to pinpoint whatâ€™s in your better interest. Itâ€™s to your advantage to stay on it until you get it sorted out. Mercury, Venus, and Mars/Uranus supply you with fresh fuel. Sunday through Wednesday, take your best shot.
July 22â€“August 22
More time to explore your
inner workings, dive into a personal project, review finances, or plan your next strategy is wise. More time devoted to enriching your home and family life is also smart. Through Wednesday, the stars provide a mix of stop-and-go, pressure-and-ease. Go the distance while the getting is good. When required, work it.
PRESENTED BY THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
August 22â€“September 22
Off and on during this next week, there will be times when more work and effort are required and times when things take on a life of their own. When inspiration, conversation, or momentum is in good flow (i.e., Sunday), milk it for all it is worth. If you get slowed down or jammed up, donâ€™t give up. Perseverance serves you well, especially Tuesday. September 22â€“October 23
Jupiter retrograde, starting Thursday, is a good transit for getting back in touch with yourself and what is most important. Mercury and Venus, freshly into Aries, are working through it with Saturn. Ambition is well placed. Your timing is good, too. Sunday through Tuesday, Mars/ Uranus and sun/Jupiter keep you and opportunity in full swing.
October 23â€“November 21
Jupiter in Scorpio launches into retrograde motion on Thursday. A reprioritizing transit, it underscores the importance of investing your time wisely and prompts you to become more selective regarding who or what gets a piece of you. A particular issue, project, plan, or involvement gains more priority attention. Saturday through Wednesday, you can get more than the usual said and done.
December 21â€“January 19
You can be prompted to revamp goals, shift tactics, or withdraw from a commitment or association as some other avenue, involvement, or battle overtakes you. Through Wednesday, youâ€™ll hit an upswing. Saturday calls for added effort to stop or to go. Sunday, Mars/ Uranus lights a fresh spark. Tuesday is result-generating. Sunday through Wednesday, go and gain.
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January 20â€“February 18
Now through midâ€“next week, your stars are set to unblock or unlock something important. You can get up and rolling more effectively and with better speed. On the list: better insight, fresh ideas, more options, better communication, easier inroad, and increased energy, drive, interest, momentum, and cause. Regarding that list, Sunday through Wednesday is especially opportune.
SAVE THE DATE
November 21â€“December 21
Jupiterâ€™s turn to retrograde on Thursday may be subtle, but even so, the transit holds great gestational potency. Youâ€™ll now dive deeper into a soul-searching or creative process. Youâ€™ll also feel the urge to dedicate more of yourself to the people and the future you envision. Sunday through Tuesday/Wednesday puts your special brand of genius and good timing into full swing.
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MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 21
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Trevor Bird is busy—he runs Fable and Fable Diner, along with several other businesses—but he has learned to step back and trust others to make the right decisions. Tracey Kusiewicz photo.
The flavour of the moment
And he has gotten married and become a father, his twoyear-old boy, he says, loving playing the drums and jumping up and down, especially when he’s not supposed to. “Life is the best it’s ever been,” Bird says in an interview at his Kitsilano restaurant on a chilly weekday Fable’s Trevor Bird—our readers’ pick for chef of the year—says afternoon. “I feel like my vision is really broad. Fable focusing on the present helps him remember what matters is just one piece of Trevor When Trevor Bird went solo in Vancouver’s res- Bird; it’s just one piece in the puzzle, not my betaurant industry six years ago, he did so with a all, end-all. I love catering because I love organBY GA IL JOHNSO N bang. He had just finished as a finalist on Top Chef izing and putting things together; it’s all about Canada’s second season when he opened Fable on connecting puzzle pieces and figuring out probWest 4th Avenue, to critical and popular acclaim. lems. For chefs, problem-solving is something In the city’s highly competitive dining scene, with you want to do. new and notable spots opening all the time, there’s “I’m insanely passionate about business,” he no room for complacency; chefs have to stay at the adds. “I love running numbers. And I want to top of their game. For the Ottawa native, things have broaden my horizons.” only gotten busier and better since he introduced Having gotten his start in the industry at age 14 Vancouver to Fable’s trademark dishes like crispy at Boston Pizza, Bird is only gaining traction in chickpea fritters with curried mayo and “canned” his food-oriented career. He has become known tuna, the fish served in a small glass canning jar with for seasonally inspired dishes that are techniquepotatoes, grape tomatoes, and olive oil. driven yet straightforward, refined but not fussy. Bird has gone on to open Fable Diner, which gives For this year’s Georgia Straight Golden Plates milkshakes, burgers, and fries a good name. He also awards, readers voted him chef of the year. Fable cofounded Meatme, an online marketplace for and won for best local ingredients. Fable Diner, meandelivery service of ethical, humanely slaughtered while, landed best diner and came in second, bemeat, giving people an alternative to factory-farmed hind Cactus Club, in the midprice category. products. More recently, he launched an eponymIf he has all the elements in place for the Trevor ous line of condiments featuring another of his sig- Bird brand to grow, the past five years or so have nature items, a spicy-sweet black-pepper jam. (It is done more than spark his entrepreneurial streak. served with grilled strip loin and wild mushrooms at This period in his life has also been a time of perFable.) He started offering private catering services sonal growth. Bird admits that it all started after and signed on as a brand ambassador for a handful he and his business partner, Kathy Schleyer, had a of companies, including Real Canadian Superstore. frank discussion over drinks one night following He had a second go on Top Chef Canada, on its re- dinner service. cent All Stars edition, again finishing as a finalist. “She said, ‘You’re a great cook but you’re an
absolutely terrible manager,’ ” Bird recalls. “My ego took the biggest hit. But then I reflected on that, and I was like, ‘I am an absolutely terrible manager.’ I like people but I just had no idea how to motivate people, how to keep them around, how to treat them well. I was intense as hell. I was working huge days, and I was expecting that of my staff as well and not giving them a break. “It was a huge revelation for me,” he adds. “I will always thank her for that conversation. At the time, it was very painful to hear, but it sent me down this total journey: how do I show up for people better? How do I lead a team? How do I be happy with myself and project that onto people?” Bird says that that one discussion led him down a spiritual path, one that now sees him practise daily meditation. He describes himself as a “bit of a self-help junkie”; books like Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More are on his list of recent readings. Exercise, too, helps keep him grounded; he’s going for a personal record at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May. And the concept of mindfulness—the state of focusing on the present moment—is one he is working hard to stick to. “Not to get too flaky, but I’m really learning how to be present and accept things as they come and trying to really focus my energy on the matter at hand,” he says. “I try not to get too caught up in the past or future or plans but to just focus on what matters now.” And has the attention he’s been paying to selfbetterment helped with his managerial skills? “I can tell you I don’t scare people out of the kitchen anymore and people last longer than three months,” he says. “Would people say, ‘Trevor’s a great manager?’ I have no idea. But there’s been an improvement. “I’m just starting to be very comfortable with myself as a restaurant owner, as a chef, as a business see page 25
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... CHEF
1. TREVOR BIRD (FABLE)
1. THE PEAR TREE RESTAURANT
1. DINESTY DUMPLING HOUSE
2. David Hawksworth (Hawksworth) 3. Joël Watanabe (Kissa Tanto)
NEW RESTAURANT 1. ST. LAWRENCE
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NEIGHBOURHOOD FOR RESTAURANTS 1. GASTOWN
2. Kitsilano 3. Mount Pleasant
4120 East Hastings St. 604-299-2772 2. Anton’s Pasta Bar 4260 East Hastings St. 604-299-6636 3. Horizons Restaurant 100 Centennial Way 604-299-1155
NORTH SHORE 1. ARMS REACH BISTRO
107C–4390 Gallant Ave. North Vancouver 604-929-7442 2. Tour de Feast 319 Mountain Hwy North Vancouver 604-980-1811 3. The Portly Chef 1211 Lonsdale Ave. North Vancouver 604-971-4377
Various locations 2. Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant 140–3866 Bayview St. 604-275-7811 3. G-Men Ramen Shop 1160–8391 Alexandra Rd 604-276-8391
SURREY, DELTA, WHITE ROCK, LANGLEY 1. MY SHANTI
15869 Croydon Dr., Surrey 604-560-4416 2. Tasty Indian Bistro 8295 120th St., Delta 604-507-9393 3. Olive Garden 20080 Langley Bypass, Langley 604-514-3499
NEW WESTMINSTER, PORT MOODY, COQUITLAM, PORT COQUITLAM
WHISTLER 1. ARAXI RESTAURANT + OYSTER BAR
110–4222 Village Square 604-932-4540 680 Columbia St., New Westminster 604-553-1849 2. Rimrock Cafe 2117 Whistler Rd 2. Taps & Tacos, 97 Moody St., Port Moody 604-932-5565 604-492-0759 3. Elements Urban 3. Wild Rice Market Bistro 122–810 Quayside Dr., Tapas Parlour (tie) New Westminster, 778-397-0028 102B–4359 Main St. 604-932-5569 3. Bearfoot SQUAMISH Bistro (tie) 4121 Village Green 1. MAG’S 99 FRIED CHICKEN 604-932-3433 AND MEXICAN CANTINA 1584 Hwy 99 604-898-9810 BARTENDER 2. Howe Sound Brewing 37801 Cleveland Ave., 604-892-2603 1. AMBER BRUCE 3. Fergie’s Café (tie) (KEEFER BAR) 70002 Squamish Valley Rd, 2. Kaitlyn Stewart Brackendale, 844-898-1537 (Royal Dinette) 3. The Salted Vine Kitchen + Bar (tie) 3. Marc Smolinski 37991 Second Ave., 604-390-1910 (Mission) 1. EL SANTO
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 23
FROM OUR TABLE TO YOURS,
Best New Restaurant
Best Pizza Takeout/Delivery
Best Restaurant Wine List (Imported) 3RD PLACE
Best Restaurant for a Stiff Drink 1ST PLACE
K T R E STAU R A NT S . C O M
24 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018
Flavour of the moment
from page 23
owner, and as a leader that shows up for people the way they need me to and not demand the world of everybody and not put too much pressure on myself as well,” he says. “I’m just getting comfortable with giving up control, removing yourself and being okay with that and empowering your staff to make good decisions. I oversee an amazing team—Max [Straczek] at the diner and Jeremy [Kersche] at Fable— and leave them to their own devices. I trust everything they do.” Being able to step back allows Bird to spend time with his wife and young son. He says he’s home most evenings, which in itself was an adjustment: prior to becoming a dad, he spent the better part of two decades working 12- to 15-hour days. Although he loves the social aspect of the restaurant industry, he laments the way any semblance of work-life balance is elusive to so many. “Learning how to be a father is fucking hard,” he says. “It’s very difficult, as the owner of a small, independent restaurant, to employ people that want a family. The industry doesn’t allow it. It sucks.” He gives a shout-out to places like Cactus Club, where kitchen staff work eight-hour days and have benefits: “It offers a really good place of employment for someone who enjoys cooking. Every young cook should work in a corporate place like that that will teach you a lot of really good skills.” Bird acquired his on-the-job training in several restaurants, including Market by Jean-Georges and Daniel Boulud’s Lumière. It was at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa that he learned from its former executive chef, the late Kurt Waldele, who would become his mentor. The German-born chef was a father figure in the culinary field across the country, cooking at the centre for three
decades, often for heads of state, dignitaries, and royalty. He championed Canadian cuisine long before it became a trend. “He was a very successful businessman,” Bird says. “Watching him take on everything he took on, and how he integrated the food realm into his life, was so impressive.” As for what’s next, Bird says he wants to focus on expanding his catering business and the distribution of his black-pepper jam (which can currently be found in several local food stores, such as Edible Canada on Granville Island and Kitsilano’s Pete’s Meat Butcher Shop and Deli). He’s excited about Fable’s recently revamped menu. Classics like the chickpea fritters, canned tuna, and steak and black-pepper jam are still there, but new dishes, developed by Kersche, have been added, such as charred beets with smokedalmond cheese and oysters accompanied by smoked shiitake mushrooms, pickled honey mushrooms, and driedporcini foam. The brunch menu is next up for a refresh. (The form of the menu has changed too, from a sheet of paper to a book made out of recycled chopsticks by ChopValue Manufacturing.) Meantime, he’s content being entrenched in the sector he grew up in while being able to prioritize his family. “If you can make it in the restaurant industry or food industry, I respect the hell out of you,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s take-away meal services or healthy-meal prep; if you’re making it work, all the power to you. If you’re doing tasting menus and making it work, that’s amazing; if you’re making burgers at a burger joint and making it work, that’s amazing. I would never knock anybody else’s hard work. “Being chained to a stove is something I can’t do anymore,” he says. “You have to set your boundaries and expectations. I run my businesses; my businesses don’t run me.” -
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... PACIFIC NORTHWEST
1. ASK FOR LUIGI
2183 West 4th Ave. 604-738-2025 2. Hawksworth Restaurant 801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 3. West 2881 Granville St. 604-738-8938
305 Alexander St. 604-428-2544 2. Savio Volpe, 615 Kingsway, 604-428-0072 3. CinCin Ristorante + Bar 1154 Robson St. 604-688-7338
CONTINENTAL 1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT
LATIN AMERICAN 1. CUCHILLO
261 Powell St. 604-559-7585 2. Chicha 136 East Broadway 604-620-3963 3. El Camino’s 3250 Main St. 604-875-6246
568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119 2. Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant 555 West Hastings St. 604-669-2220 3. Cactus Club Cafe Various locations
1. LES FAUX BOURGEOIS
663 East 15th Ave. 604-873-9733 2. Le Crocodile 100–909 Burrard St. 604-669-4298 3. L’Abattoir 217 Carrall St. 604-568-1701
GREEK 1. STEPHO’S SOUVLAKI GREEK TAVERNA
Various locations 2. The Greek by Anatoli 1043 Mainland St. 604-979-0700 3. Apollonia Greek Restaurant (tie) 1830 Fir St. 604-736-9559 3. Olympia Souvlaki, Pizza & Pasta Restaurant (tie) 998 Denman St. 604-688-8333
1st Best Continental 1st Best Pre-Theatre Restaurant 1st Best Restaurant Atmopshere sp 2nd Best Restaurant Overall 2nd Best Restaurant Wine List (B.C.)
Various locations 2. Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca 1133 Hamilton St. 604-688-7466 3. Provence Marinaside 1177 Marinaside Cres. 604-681-4144
MEXICAN 1. SAL Y LIMÓN
Various locations 2. La Taqueria, various locations 3. La Mezcalaria Various locations
SPANISH 1. ESPAÑA
1118 Denman St. 604-558-4040 2. Bodega on Main 1014 Main St. 604-565-8815 3. The Sardine Can 26 Powell St. 604-568-1350
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 25
we c a t e r t o yo u, wit h ease & grace
Exec chefs dish on careers
emale chefs may still be outnumbered by their male counterparts, but Vancouver is seeing more women take on leading roles in the restaurant industry. With International Women’s Day on March 8, we lift our glass to four who have recently risen to the top rank. Here’s to them.
Photo Melissa Gidney
EVA CHIN The executive chef of Roy-
c o r p o ra t e
al Dinette moved to Vancouver from her native Hawaii in 2016 (after first visiting the West Coast in 2011) following her training in both Japanese and classical French cuisine in the United States, Japan, and parts of Europe. While living in Hong Kong, she opened a successful New American pop-up called the Lazy Hog. Locally, she worked at Hawksworth and Pidgin prior to joining Royal Dinette. A passion for food runs in her family. “My grandparents were farmers and fishermen, and I was blessed Royal Dinette’s Eva Chin says that it’s tough to achieve work-life balance as an with the bounty of the Hawaiian executive chef, but she enjoys learning about food every day. Nora Hamade photo. Islands,” Chin says. “I greatly appreciated how food was sourced natur- heart, it’s the Boston brown bread when she was hired to join the Oliver ally, and I wanted to pursue the path with blond apple butter, shaved apple, & Bonacini Café Grill in Blue Mounof working with food at a very young and a scoop of butter-tart ice cream, tains, Ontario. She helped launch age. I believed that food brought finished with aged balsamic vinegar. Jamie Oliver’s Toronto restaurant, strangers together and that a single “This dessert combines all the Jamie’s Italian, before moving to bite can change a whole perspective.” memories I love about fall and win- Vancouver in 2016, having been Although she admits that one of ter, both in America and Canada,” she hired by Glowbal Group as executive the most frustrating aspects of her says. “I went to college in Boston, and chef of Italian Kitchen. Her love of cooking goes back to industry is workfor the life of me, life balance (when I can never shake childhood. “I grew up making fresh she does have the vivid memory pasta, stocking shelves, and eating a some downtime, of my first bite of lot of amazing food in my grandparGail Johnson she loves readbrown bread. Fresh- ents’ deli,” Binelli says. “My cooking ing, being by the water, and “chasing ly steamed, the scent of molasses shak- career started when I was seven years the next great hot pot”), she thrives ing up my every taste bud. Then the old with my mom, the most intuitive on the energy she finds herself sur- countless jars of blond apple butter I’d and spontaneous cook I have ever rounded by day in, day out. receive from my roommates and their met. Guided by her teaching, I learn“It inspires me to be my best and families—the best apple butter I can ed that food doesn’t have to be fussy to be satisfying. I found it incredibly do my best every second of the day,” ever remember. she says. “I love the unpredictability “When I first met my wife, I found satisfying to cook for the people I of working with nature’s resources, out her favourite tart was butter tart. loved. It was my way to take care of and I love how much I grow and I had never tried one before. When my family.” Even having discovered the joy of learn about myself and the food I learned about it, I came to enjoy it I work with every day. The con- more and more, and not only does cooking, Binelli didn’t plan on being stant evolution and progress of our it represent my love for my wife but a chef. Languages were another pasindustry is something I love.” also what she reminds me every sion; she went to school to become an Chin describes the food at Royal day—the beauty of Canada and why English and German translator. After finishing university, she went travelDinette as New American farm-to- I am living here right now.” ling, ultimately ending up in Denver, table fare, while also adding the term vulnerable: “By embracing what our SIMONA BINELLI Hailing from where a chef friend needed someone local land has to offer and the limita- Terracina, a seaside resort in the with experience in Italian cuisine to tions that nature brings upon us, we south of Italy’s Lazio region, Binelli help out in his kitchen. “It was a call I didn’t see coming,” she says. “From acknowledge that we must cook with is the executive chef at Dalina. After working at several Italian the moment I stepped into a profesvulnerability to push boundaries.” If there’s one dish on the current restaurants in London, England, sional kitchen in 1997, I learned from menu that’s especially close to her Binelli moved to Canada in 2007, see next page
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... OVERALL
1. SAVIO VOLPE
1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT
1. BEL CAFÉ (ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIA)
615 Kingsway 604-428-0072 2. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119 3. AnnaLena Restaurant 1809 West 1st Ave. 778-379-4052
one of the best beers Mil d from beyond the Lower Mainland... 26 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 2. giovane cafe + eatery + market (Fairmont Pacific Rim) 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5501 3. 1927 Lobby Lounge (Rosewood Hotel Georgia) 801 West Georgia St. 604-682-5566
1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT
801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 2. Bishop’s 2183 West 4th Ave. 604-738-2025 3. Le Crocodile 100–909 Burrard St. 604-669-4298
1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT (ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIA)
801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 2. YEW seafood + bar (Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver) 791 West Georgia St. 604-692-4939 3. Botanist (Fairmont Pacific Rim) 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5500
1. CACTUS CLUB CAFE
1. CACTUS CLUB CAFE
Various locations 2. Fable Diner 151 East Broadway 604-563-3463 3. Burgoo Various locations
Thanks for voting us
801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 2. AnnaLena Restaurant 1809 West 1st Ave. 778-379-4052 3. Robba da Matti 1127 Mainland St. 604-558-1174
1. CAFÉ MEDINA
780 Richards St. 604-879-3114 2. Jam Cafe 556 Beatty St. 604-379-1992 3. Yolk’s Various locations
Various locations 2. Earls Restaurant Various locations 3. White Spot Various locations
Various locations 2. Jam Cafe 556 Beatty St. 3. Café Medina 780 Richards St. 604-879-3114
Dalina executive chef Simona Binelli quips that her cooking career began at the age of seven when she started making food with her mom. Jeremy Wong photo.
the people around me. In all honesty, I cannot remember a day spent in the kitchen when I failed to have an opportunity to learn something new. I’m still learning my craft. “I learned very quickly that in order to work in a kitchen, five things were a must: energy, work ethic, practice, emotional intelligence, and passion,” she says. “A love of food is not the only passion needed to succeed in the culinary arts. You must have a passion for discovery.” There are drawbacks to her career; for instance, few friends want to cook for her, given her kitchen skills. On the plus side, she says being at Dalina has made work-life balance a reality, allowing her time for hobbies like running, cycling, hiking, and yoga. “Being active and enjoying the outdoors is very important to me; they keep me balanced and energized,” she says. “Endurance sports give me the physical strength to cope with the physical requirements of my job. “As a chef and leader, I make sure I set the tone in the kitchen and make sure that whoever works in my kitchen has a positive and safe workplace,” she adds. “It is important to have a happy kitchen and a constructive environment around you when working long days and always under stress.” Among her current favourite creations on Dalina’s seasonally changing menu are the uovo affogato (“creamy, smoky, salty, spicy, crunchy”) and farinata, a traditional
and flavourful chickpea pancake that also happens to be vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. MARIANA GABILONDO Gabilondo
was 11 when she left her hometown of Mexico City, eventually moving to Montreal, where she trained for four intense years. Wanting to be closer to friends, she came to Vancouver two years ago. Within weeks she started at La Mezcaleria—and never looked back, becoming executive chef in late 2016. She admits she fell into her cooking career inadvertently; her first job was in a kitchen. However, she quickly discovered an aptitude and passion for food and restaurants. “I love everything about this job: the late nights and early mornings, the products and combinations, the history and culture behind it all, the effect I can see that food has on people, both physically and mentally,” Gabilondo says. “Most of all, I love the effect that food has on memories and emotions. It’s very personal.” Gabilondo is drawn to creative expression both inside and out of the kitchen. Her time away from the restaurant often involves reading, writing, visiting art galleries, and doing her own art projects. Despite not having an abundance of spare time, she remains excited about coming up with new menu items and being part of an establishment where coworkers feel like family.
see next page
A VANCOUVER ICON
1. JOE FORTES SEAFOOD & CHOP HOUSE
1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT
777 Thurlow St. 604-669-1940 2. Bishop’s 2183 West 4th Ave. 604-738-2025 3. White Spot Various locations
568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119 2. Stable House Bistro 1520 West 13th Ave. 604-736-1520 3. Cibo Trattoria 900 Seymour St. 604-602-9570
ATMOSPHERE 1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT
568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119 2. Nightingale 1017 West Hastings St. 604-695-9500 3. Robba da Matti 1127 Mainland St. 604-558-1174
FOR A WORKING LUNCH 1. CACTUS CLUB CAFE
Various locations 2. Earls Restaurant Various locations 3. Meat & Bread, various locations
PATIO 1. DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT
1253 Johnston St., Granville Island 604-685-7070 2. Mahony & Sons, various locations 3. Cactus Club Cafe, various locations
VIEW 1. SEASONS IN THE PARK
Queen Elizabeth Park (West 33rd at Cambie) 604-874-8008 2. Salmon House on the Hill 2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver 604-926-3212 3. Cactus Club Cafe 1790 Beach Ave. 604-681-2582
Photo by Steph Yu
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST...
Thanks for the love Vancouver! The feeling is mutual. We really enjoy feeding you delicious plant-based comfort food with a Mediterranean twist.
USE OF LOCAL INGREDIENTS 1. FABLE
1944 West 4th Ave. 604-732-1322 2. Forage 1300 Robson St. 604-661-1400 3. Farmer’s Apprentice 1535 West 6th Ave. 604-620-2070
Best Food Truck + Best New Restaurant
Dine in at our restaurant at
4298 Main St Grab a bite from the truck parked at
884 W Cordova Mon-Fri Follows us @ilovechickpea
Or let us cater your next event
email@example.com MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 27
thank you! Di Beppe executive chef Letitia Wan (left) mostly learned her skills on the job; La Mezcaleria’s Mariana Gabilondo loves how food has an impact on emotions.
Exec chefs dish
from previous page
A big thank you to the readers of the Georgia Straight for voting Urban Fare the Best Picnic Supplier and Runner-up for Best Grocery Store Cafe.
Overwaitea Food Group LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly BC Owned and Operated.
“I am incredibly proud of the work that we have done over the last year for Mezcaleria in its essential quality and product,” Gabilondo says. “Being creative, being a good cook, being successful as a chef is amazing, but it all comes in as second fiddle to the real enjoyment of being with my staff and working as a team with them. They are the life and breath of what we do every day. They are the element of energy that never stops flowing around me. They are what I am really grateful for every day.” LETITIA WAN Wan, executive chef at Di Beppe, moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong when she was 12. “I’ve always liked working with my hands,” Wan says. “The most memorable part of travelling as a child were the food memories. Food is a strong part of Cantonese and Hong Kong culture. My mother encouraged me to enroll in a culinary course without thinking I would actually be committed to it long-term.” Formerly of Ask for Luigi, where she was chef de cuisine, she took a pastry course a few
years ago but has otherwise learned on the job. Wan, who enjoys flipping through cookbooks and foraging for mushrooms and wild plants, says there is nothing she does not love about her job. “There are always hiccups and hurdles, but figuring out a solution is just part of the day.” She has created the entire menu at Di Beppe. It includes antipasti, such as bruschetta and beef carpaccio, and pizza “in pala/al metro”. “Pala means ‘shovel’,” Wan explains. “Supposedly, pizza was shaped on whatever was available, in this case a shovel, and then baked. In pizza terms, it’s a fluffier version that is twice-baked. Ours is not twice-baked but is fluffy, and the name refers to the oblong-rectangular shape rather than the traditional round pizzas. Al metro refers to metre; roughly, ours is three-quarters of a metre.” Then there are pasta dishes, including alici e burro (with Sicilian anchovies, butter, and bread crumbs) and oven-baked pizzoccheri (a flat ribbon pasta) with Brussels sprouts and fontina Val d’Aosta. “There’s a lot of thought that went into everything on the menu,” Wan says. “There isn’t an item that I wouldn’t be proud of.” -
ancosuver V u o y k n a h T voting for u for Kid friendly Bestaurant rest KITS MAIN ST
1876 West 1st Ave 604.730.0321 4186 Main Street 604.566.9779 WWW.ROCKYMOUNTAINFLATBREAD.CA
28 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
1st Place - BierCraft Best Restaurant Import Beer Selection
Hoi An Café serves authentic plates from central Vietnam like cao laˆ` u, yellow rice noodles with pork. Lucy Lau photo.
Vietnamese varies wildly > BY L UC Y LA U
n a stretch of Victoria Drive peppered with Vietnamese restaurants, Hoi An Café (5002 Victoria Drive)—with its cheery, sunshineyellow signage and relaxed vibe—is notable for drawing a consistent and famished crowd seven days a week. Here, it’s not just your standard pho’ and lemongrass chicken that are keeping bellies full but square bowls of golden rice noodles, each bed topped with a healthy heaping of barbecued pork, an irresistibly savoury garlic sauce, and fistfuls of crushed peanuts, cilantro, and green onion that diners mix together—adding extra herbs, greens, and shredded banana blossom as they please—before digging in. Called cao l u, or cao l u đăc biê t ˙ ˙ at Hoi An when shrimp is substituted for half of the pork, the dish is a specialty of the tiny central Vietnamese town of Hô·i An, where co-owner and chef Hai Le hails from. According to Hai’s partner, Lillian Le, Hoi An, which the couple took over from Hai’s sister in 2014, is the only place
in Vancouver that offers the food in its authentic form. “Anyone who has travelled to Hô·i An, they know these dishes,” Lillian tells the Georgia Straight during an interview at the eatery. “They’re everywhere: on every single corner, every street, every place you go.” Produced at the East Side spot from a family recipe that requires soaking the noodles overnight in tamarind-and-turmeric water, which gives them their bright-yellow hue, and a lengthy seasoning process for the pork, the well-balanced dish— at once pleasantly chewy, light, and crisp—remains largely undiscovered in the western world, which typically reduces Vietnamese cuisine to bowls of hearty beef-noodle soup. However, in the same way Chinese food differs greatly depending on the area from which it originates, Vietnamese fare can range wildly in style, depth, and flavour among the northern, central, and southern regions of the Asian nation. “[Food from] the south is more sugary, a little sweet,” Lillian explains. “The north is kind of lighter in flavour. Central is more strongflavoured and spicy.”
At Hoi An, other hard-to-find central Vietnamese plates include mì quang, also a dry yellow-ricenoodle dish, though this one boasts a smattering of broth that lends each slurp a warm sweetness. There’s also the bánh bô·t lo· c, pork-and-shrimp tapioca dumplings—with optional banana-leaf wrapping—that Hai and his team make from scratch every morning. They’re sprinkled with roughly chopped red chilies and green onions and served with a side of fish sauce. “When you do this kind of food, it has to be authentic,” Lillian says, “because people from central [Vietnam], they’re very picky.” Rose Nguyen, co-owner of Mr. Red Cafe (2131 East Hastings Street and 2680 West Broadway), describes northern Vietnamese cuisine, which she and her husband, chef Hong Duong, specialize in, as more subdued. “The cooking style is more subtle,” she says during a chat at the restaurant’s Kitsilano location, “and we are always conscious about the combination of tastes: salty, spicy, sour, and sweet.”
1. BAO BEI CHINESE BRASSERIE
1. BANANA LEAF
1. SIMBA’S GRILL
163 Keefer St., 604-688-0876 2. Peaceful Restaurant Various locations 3. Kirin Restaurant Various locations
Various locations 2. Tropika Various locations 3. Hawkers Delight 4127 Main St. 604-709-8188
825 Denman St. 604-974-0649 2. Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant 2149 Commercial Dr. 604-216-1060 3. Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant 5–736 East Broadway 604-879-2001
3106 Cambie St. 604-736-6664 2. Vij’s Rangoli 1480 West 11th Ave. 604-736-5711 3. Sula Indian Restaurant 1128 Commercial Dr. 604-215-1130
1938 West 4th Ave. 604-730-5579 2. Bob Likes Thai Food Various locations 3. Sawasdee Thai Restaurant 4250 Main St. 604-876-4030
70–200 Granville St. 604-568-3900 2. Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 West Broadway 604-872-8050 3. Minami 1118 Mainland St. 604-685-8080
KOREAN 1. SURA KOREAN
Various locations 2. Kyo Korean BBQ & Sushi House 2993 Granville St. 604-739-8868 3. Damso, various locations
1. CALABASH BISTRO
428 Carrall St. 604-568-5882 2. The Reef Various locations 3. Jamaican Pizza Jerk 2707 Commercial Dr. 604-876-3343
1. ANH AND CHI
3388 Main St. 604-874-0832 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia St. 604-682-5777 3. Mr. Red Cafe, various locations
Various locations 2. Jamjar Various locations 3. Saj & Co 813 Davie St. 604-559-2447
Various locations 2. East Is East Various locations 3. Afghan Horsemen Restaurant (tie) 202–1833 Anderson St. 604-873-5923 3. Jamjar (tie) Various locations
BISTRO 3305 Cambie St. (604) 874 6900
1. MIKU VANCOUVER
WESBROOK @ UBC 3340 Shrum Lane (604) 559 2437
see next page
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST...
TAP & TAPAS 1191 Commercial Dr. (604) 254 2437
Best Restaurant To Cure A Hangover
2481 Hastings Street East www.whatsuphotdog.ca
Thank you for voting for us!
1. CAZBA RESTAURANT
Various locations 2. Persian Gulf Restaurant 114 West 15th St., North Vancouver 604-971-5113 3. Zeitoon, various locations
#5-736 West Broadway | 604.879.2001
fassil.ca MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 29
Cakes, Pastries, Breads, and More! 100% Gluten Free using all natural ingredients 3385 Cambie Street • 604.873.9993 OPEN EVERYDAY • lemonadebakery.ca
from previous page
According to Nguyen, each dish prepared at Mr. Red—its name a reference to Duong’s childhood nickname—has a story. There’s the bún nem cua beˆ, deep-fried pork-andcrabmeat spring rolls that are crafted using a recipe passed down from Nguyen’s mother; the bún cha Hà Nô·i, a platter of grilled pork belly, vermicelli, and fresh herbs that is said to originate from Hanoi, where Nguyen and Duong were raised; and the cha coˆ m làng Vòng, deepfried rice cakes made following the traditions of Vòng village, an area situated just outside the Vietnamese capital, where the harvesting of young sticky rice has been elevated to an art form. Another star at Mr. Red is the cha cá Hà Nô·i, a feast consisting of pan-fried basa (catfish) fillets marinated with turmeric, dill, and green onions that’s served hot in a cast-iron skillet with crushed peanuts, herbs, and a spicy shrimp paste for dipping. Considered a staple in Hanoi, the meal is so difficult to perfect that Duong woke Nguyen up at the pair’s home when, after much trial and error, he figured out a foolproof recipe at 1 a.m. one morning. “The dish looks like art because of the f lavour and the way you keep the fish still warm until the end of your meal,” Nguyen notes. For each plate, Nguyen rattles off the exact address or location in which the best-made version of the food can be found in her hometown, where, growing up, she watched her grandparents and mother work tirelessly to produce pho’ at street stalls and a small family-owned shop. “I want my grandparents to be proud of me when they are in heaven now,” she says. “I think northern Vietnamese cuisine is a beautiful cooking style.” Southern Vietnamese food, by contrast, tends to be sweeter and uses ingredients such as
House Special’s Yen Do (left) and Victoria Do. Craig Takeuchi photo.
lemongrass and coconut milk more liberally, says House Special chef Yen Do, who was born in Saigon. This cookery—wherein the quality of pho’ is dictated by its f lavour rather than the clarity of the broth, and soup noodles are enjoyed with hoisin sauce instead of the north’s preferred gi m toi o’t (a rice vinegar, garlic, and chili mixture)—is the most easily accessible of the country’s regional cuisines in Vancouver. At the family-owned House Special (1269 Hamilton Street), however, Yen and her kids, co-owners Patrick and Victoria Do, aim to put a modern spin on southern Vietnamese street food that’s designed for sharing. Consider the restaurant’s take on bánh tiêu, a hollow Vietnamese doughnut dotted with sesame seeds that’s readily available throughout Saigon; here, it’s stuffed with shredded-duck confit and pickled carrots and daikon so it’s a cross between a bánh mì and Chinese bao. And then there are the handmade pho’ bò viên soup dumplings, which mimic xiaolongbao, except instead of pork they’re filled with beef balls and House Special’s carefully simmered broth, plus
sriracha, hoisin, and basil. In an effort to cater to Vancouver’s tastes, there are gluten- and dairyfree items and even a vegan pho’ prepared using a medley of charred vegetables that includes “leeks and secret stuff ”, Patrick reveals. “[Food from Vietnam’s] south is more f lavourful,” Yen states matter-of-factly—and with decided bias—during an interview alongside Patrick and Victoria at the Yaletown establishment. “Generally speaking, you could say that southern [Vietnamese] food is a little bit richer,” Patrick adds. “It’s almost like if you look at southern food in the States, where it’s a little bit more like soul food.” Given Saigon’s status as the metropolitan centre of Vietnam, the food there is occasionally inf luenced by cuisines from around the world—much like the menu at House Special. A prime instance of this is the joint’s popular Uncle Hing’s Chicken Wings: spicy nu’o’c mă´m (fish sauce) chicken wings for which the Dos “deconstructed” the recipe after they smuggled home a vial of a relative’s homemade Cajun-inspired sauce from Texas. “People [in southern Vietnam] are willing to try different things and infuse different cultures, and that’s kind of what we do with House Special,” Patrick explains. “We take different cultures and food that we ate growing up…and we try to make that into something unique and something cool.” No matter what region’s cuisine you choose to explore, you can thank Vancouver’s rich Vietnamese-immigrant population for bringing so many delicious options to the city—and their parents, grandparents, and so on for the meticulously mastered (and top secret) recipes they’ve managed to keep in the brood. “My husband’s family feels very strongly about this kind of food, and no one here was serving this,” Lillian says of Hoi An’s central Vietnamese fare, “so it’s kind of special.” -
THANKS FOR VOTING US AMONGST THE BEST CHICKEN IN VANCOUVER 30 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
@HOMERSTCAFEBAR (604) 428-4299 HOMERSTREETCAFEBAR.COM
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E N Y R EVE
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Downtown | 534 West Pender Mount Pleasant | 2190 Main St
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Chef J-C Poirier hit upon a career apex with his Québécois restaurant St. Lawrence. Luis Alberto Valdizon photo.
Top chef revives the classics
AFGHAN HORSEMEN RESTAURANT SINCE 1974
After 20 years of experience, J-C Poirier finally found himself—in St. Lawrence > BY TA M MY KWAN
hef J-C Poirier has many culinary accomplishments attached to his name, most notably Ask for Luigi, his humble Railtown Italian eatery, which seems to be perennially busy and was voted best new restaurant in 2015’s Golden Plates by local chefs and restaurateurs. His roster of dining
establishments with his partners at Kitchen Table Restaurants (Pourhouse, Joe Pizza, Di Beppe) continued to expand over the years, but none hit close to home for Poirier until the debut of St. Lawrence last summer—his pièce de résistance that showcases Quebec cuisine and classic French cooking at its best. It was a highly anticipated project—a culmination of more than 20
1. J-C POIRIER (ST. LAWRENCE)
1. BAO BEI CHINESE BRASSERIE
1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT (TIE)
2. Alex Chen (Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar) 3. Hector Laguna (Botanist)
163 Keefer St. 604-688-0876 2. Dynasty Seafood Restaurant 108–777 West Broadway 604-876-8388 3. Peaceful Restaurant Various locations
269 Powell St. 604-620-3800 2. Botanist 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5500 3. Mak N Ming 1629 Yew St. 604-737-1155
1. TOSHI SUSHI (TIE)
1. KINGYO (TIE)
871 Denman St. 604-608-1677
1. KINOME JAPANESE KITCHEN (TIE)
1. CINARA (TIE)
350 West Pender St. 604-428-9694 2. Bauhaus Restaurant 1 West Cordova St. 604-974-1147 3. España 1118 Denman St. 604-558-4040
Various locations 2. Sura Korean Various locations 3. Haru Korean Kitchen (tie) 324 Cambie St. 778-379-9488 3. So Hyang Korean Cuisine (tie) 6345 Fraser St. 604-729-0702
1898 West 1st Ave. 604-731-5370 2. Fayuca 1009 Hamilton St. 604-689-8523 3. La Mezcaleria (tie) Various locations 3. Sal y Limón (tie) Various locations
1. HAWKERS DELIGHT
1. ASK FOR LUIGI
305 Alexander St. 604-428-2544 2. Savio Volpe 615 Kingsway 604-428-0072 3. Cinara 350 West Pender St. 604-428-9694
3106 Cambie St. 604-736-6664 2. Vij’s Rangoli 1480 West 11th Ave. 604-736-5711 3. Chutney Villa (tie) 147 East Broadway 604-872-2228 3. East Is East (tie) Various locations
1938 West 4th Ave. 604-730-5579 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia St. 604-682-5777 3. Kin Kao 903 Commercial Dr. 604-558-1125
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1. SIMBA’S GRILL
1. SUSHI BY YUJI (TIE)
BEFORE THE ENTRANCE TO GRANVILLE ISLAND, RIGHT BEHIND THE STARBUCKS
2252 Kingsway 604-434-0003 2. Masayoshi 4376 Fraser St. 604-428-6272 3. Octopus’s Garden 1995 Cornwall Ave. 604-734-8971
269 Powell St. 604-620-3800 2. L’Abattoir 217 Carrall St. 604-568-1701 3. Le Crocodile 100–909 Burrard St. 604-669-4298
181 East 16th Ave. 604-874-5173
for a Reservation today call 604.873.5923
568 Beatty St., 604-879-7119
825 Denman St. 604-974-0649 2. Addis Cafe Ethiopian Restaurant (tie) 2017 Commercial Dr. 604-254-1929 2. Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant (tie) 5–736 East Broadway 604-879-2001 3. Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant 2149 Commercial Dr. 604-216-1060
1. ST. LAWRENCE
2511 West Broadway 778-379-1925
1833 Anderson St. (2nd Floor) Vancouver
CHEF OF THE YEAR
1. ST. LAWRENCE
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INDUSTRY EXPERTS’ BEST…
years of culinary experience—that Vancouver greeted with open arms (and appetites). It should come as no surprise that Poirier’s local peers have voted him chef of the year and named St. Lawrence best new restaurant in the Georgia Straight’s annual industry-insiders survey of more than three dozen chefs, food and beverage directors, and restaurant managers.
4127 Main St. 604-709-8188 2. Marutama Ra-men Various locations 3. Bon’s Off Broadway 2451 Nanaimo St. 604-253-7242
350 Robson Street Fraser and Kingsway
648 Main Street
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 31
Top chef revives classics
from previous page choose) include la terrine du jour
JOIEFARM WINERY FOR THE WIN! Thank You For Voting Us Best BC White Wine Winery 2825 Naramata Road, Naramata BC · joiefarm.com · @joiefarm
32 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Born in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, the mastermind behind St. Lawrence has always toyed with the thought of opening a restaurant that served delicious dishes inspired by his hometown. “It was very easy for me to come up with the idea, and it’s been with me for a few years because it’s a cuisine that’s very much home,” Poirier explained to the Straight in a phone interview. “The concept of St. Lawrence is very much me, and it basically ref lects who I am, where I come from, and the progression of my career.” As soon as guests step inside the Powell Street spot, they will be charmed by the homey décor, the French music playing in the background, and the energetic staff, who speak the romantic language to customers. “I want people to be surprised and make people feel like they’ve [been] transported to somewhere else,” he added. Classic French cooking with Quebec f lair defines the menu concept at St. Lawrence. “I treat Quebec as if it were a region in France. The culture is still the same, but the surroundings and food are different,” Poirier said. “It’s like country cooking, a meat-and-potato kind of style. I do it in a more refined, elevated way, but it never seems pretentious.” The seasoned chef-owner understands and appreciates that many of his peers want to introduce innovative creations and new f lavours to the city, but he wants to go in the opposite direction and reintroduce the traditional favourites. “I want to bring the good old classics back, like the classic French with all the sauces, the butter, the cream, the egg yolks,” Poirier said. “It’s great to give birth to new dishes, but if you can bring back something to life, then it’s even greater because then it’s magic.” Poirier’s favourite menu items (though it was hard for him to
(house-made terrine of the day); quenelle de poisson, moules, and sauce Normande (fish quenelle [creamed fish mixture with a light egg binding], mussels, and cream sauce); and tourtière de ville au cerf (venison traditional meat pie), among many others. He’s conservative with the menu, partly because the response from guests has been overwhelmingly positive. But customers can expect changes to come when warmer weather begins to arrive—think more fish, lighter sauces, and more veggies. St. Lawrence will likely be Poirier’s last restaurant venture before he retires. (Don’t worry, there’s still many more years before that will happen.) “It’s almost like after cooking for 20 years, I’ve finally found myself and what I like to cook,” Poirier said. “From the execution to preparation to the plating, people can really taste the passion, love, and commitment that I put in there. For me to open another restaurant would probably make no sense, because this is it. This should be my last because I’m very much driven by this love and passion of my culture that I sort of created for me. It’s my masterpiece.” As you’d expect, it’s not an easy task to make weekend dinner reservations at this relatively new hot spot. Instead of waiting a month or two for a Saturday-evening seating, try going on a Tuesday or Wednesday for a better chance of getting a table. Besides St. Lawrence, Vancouver is home to several other renowned eateries that have been lauded by the city’s food-industry insiders for 2018’s Golden Plates. From f lavourful cuisines like Korean and African (Damso and Simba’s Grill) to restaurant newcomers (Botanist and Mak N Ming), there’s no shortage of impressive places to dine in around town. -
THANK YOU GEORGIA STRAIGHT READERS we are honoured to be selected as
B E S T R E S TA U R A N T G R O U P 2 1 S T A N N U A L G O L D E N P L A T E S AWA R D S
MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 33
Leave it to omakase masters > B Y TA M M Y K WA N
apanese food has a special place in Vancouver’s heart— the Asian cuisine and our city go together like tea and dim sum, naan and chicken curry, and vanilla-bean ice cream and molten chocolate cake. It’s not rare for Vancouverites to enjoy Japanese meals several times a week, especially when there are so many affordable sushi joints in the Lower Mainland that serve high-quality and tasty menu items. Over the years, the city’s palate for Japanese cuisine has obviously matured and become more refined. Some customers now prefer chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) or the freshest sashimi from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market over edamame and agedashi (deep-fried) tofu. Vancouver’s classic sushi restaurants have had their time to shine, but now the spotlight is slowly shifting toward Japanese dining establishments that focus on serving omakase (chef ’s creation) menus. Omakase directly translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” which means the meal is carefully chosen and created by the chef. It takes more than skill and technique to serve excellent omakase—you need to have imagination and creativity to be able to execute a truly memorable multicourse dining experience, which can be difficult when people have different tastes. “Customers who order omakase always expect something innovative and surprising that is not on the menu,” Masayoshi Baba, chef and owner of Masayoshi (4376 Fraser Street), explained to the Straight in an interview at his restaurant. “Originality is my definition of omakase. It’s a gamble for both the customers and the chef.” Baba opened his restaurant in 2015, garnering plenty of local attention and critical acclaim. At the time, he was still offering an à la
In the Japanese tradition of omakase dining, restaurant patrons let the chef make all the decisions in creating a multicourse meal. Leila Kwok photo.
carte menu, but he decided to switch over to the omakase-only concept last year. Though Masayoshi is one of the first eateries to offer only omakase, it isn’t the first. The West End’s Sushi Bar Maumi (1226 Bute Street) was the first to offer just this type of Japanese menu in the city and is well known for its nigiri (sushi rice topped with raw fish) omakase and long list of dining rules.
The art of omakase starts with basic Japanese culinary traditions. “Usually, Japanese chefs think about five tastes, five colours, and five techniques,” Baba explained. “Five tastes is sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty. Five colours is white, yellow, red, blue, and brown. Five techniques is raw, simmer, bake, deep-fry, and steam.” see next page
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST...
680 COLUMBIA STREET, NEW WESTMINSTER 604.553.1849 | elsanto.ca
1. JINYA RAMEN BAR
1. BLUE WATER CAFE
Various locations 2. Juke 182 Keefer St. 604-336-5853 3. Homer St. Cafe and Bar 898 Homer St. 604-428-4299
Various locations 2. Ramen Danbo Various locations 3. Marutama Ra-men (tie) Various locations 604-688-8837 3. The Ramen Butcher (tie) 233 East Georgia St. 604-806-4646
1. KIRIN RESTAURANT
1095 Hamilton St. 604-688-8078 2. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House 777 Thurlow St. 604-669-1940 3. The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant 102–1535 Johnston St., Granville Island 604-669-9030
Various locations 2. Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant Various locations 3. Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant 1132 East Hastings St. 604-253-4316
HOT POT 1. LITTLE SHEEP MONGOLIAN HOT POT
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Best Organic Dining in Vancouver! 1025 Commercial Dr. 604.707.0088 | Mon-Sat 9-9 • Sun 9-8
34 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
1. THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR
Various locations 2. Gotham Steakhouse & Bar 615 Seymour St. 604-605-8282 3. Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar 637 Hornby St. 604-683-7671
Various locations 2. La Taqueria Various locations 3. Sal y Limón Various locations
405–5300 No. 3 Rd, Richmond 604-231-8966 2. Landmark Hot Pot House 4023 Cambie St. 604-872-2868 3. Fatty Cow Seafood Hot Pot 5108 Victoria Dr. 604-568-6630
1. MIKU VANCOUVER
1. PEACEFUL RESTAURANT
70–200 Granville St. 604-568-3900 2. Minami 1118 Mainland St. 604-685-8080 3. Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 West Broadway 604-872-8050
1. TRACTOR EVERYDAY HEALTHY FOODS
Various locations 2. Noodlebox Various locations 3. Legendary Noodle 1074 Denman St. 604-669-8551
2. Chickpea Food Truck 3. Mom’s Grilled Cheese
1. ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
Various locations 2. White Spot Various locations 3. McDonald’s Various locations
Various locations 2. Railtown Cafe Various locations 3. Cactus Club Cafe Various locations
how he began to offer omakase at his restaurant: a few customers from Los Angeles working in the movie industry asked him to make omakase for them 15 years ago. “I didn’t know how Japanese restaurants in L.A. served omakase, so I made my own omakase and served it to them,” Hoshika told the Straight in an interview at his eatery before the dinner service began. “They told me that they really enjoyed it and kept coming back. That was the first time I started creating omakase.” Hoshika opened his restaurant in 1993, after many years of culinary experience in Japan and Vancouver. He explained that there weren’t many restaurants offering omakase back then, and he believes it’s a good thing that more Japanese restaurants around town are now serving this type of menu. “Omakase is my responsibility. Customers have to trust me, and then I use my imagination to make food for them,” Hoshika said. “People are born everywhere, so they are probably fed many different ways. I try to combine Vancouver and Japanese cuisine style together, and I also add my own style and creativity.” Guests who want to try his omakase ($100 per person with a 24hour advance reservation; $120 per person for walk-ins) will be able to taste appetizers, sashimi, sushi, main course, and desserts. Hoshika’s original menu creations include foie gras sushi and uni (sea urchin) shooters. “I’ll always include them in my omakase menu,” he said with a smile. Omakase is different every time, and it certainly requires trust from both the customer and the chef. For Vancouver diners who believe they are sophisticated enough to move on from California rolls and the like, perhaps it’s time to leave their culinary comfort zone. “Why should people try omakase? It’s like a mystery,” Hoshika said. “It’s an experience, and [customers] don’t know what is coming next. It’s a surprise made with passion.” -
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... DOUGHNUT SHOP 1. CARTEMS DONUTS
Various locations 2. Lucky’s Doughnuts Various locations 3. Lee’s Donuts 122–1689 Johnston St., Granville Island 604-685-4021
INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOP 1. REVOLVER COFFEE
325 Cambie St. 604-558-4444 2. Matchstick Coffee Roasters Various locations 3. Elysian Coffee Roasters Various locations
COFFEE SHOP (LOCAL CHAIN) 1. JJ BEAN COFFEE ROASTERS
Various locations 2. Caffè Artigiano, various locations 3. Blenz, various locations
CASINO FOR EATS 1. TRAMONTO AT RIVER ROCK CASINO RESORT
8811 River Rd., Richmond 604-247-8573 2. Parq Vancouver 39 Smithe St. 604-683-7277 3. Grand Villa Casino Hotel & Conference Centre (tie) 4331 Dominion St., Burnaby 604-436-2211 3. Starlight Casino (tie) 350 Gifford St., New Westminster 604-777-2946
COFFEE SHOP (NATIONAL CHAIN) 1. STARBUCKS
Various locations 2. Tim Hortons Various locations 3. Second Cup Various locations
FAIR TRADE COFFEE 1. ETHICAL BEAN COFFEE
1315 Kootenay St. 604-431-3830 2. Salt Spring Coffee B.C. Ferries Tsawwassen kiosk 604-948-2264 3. Level Ground Trading www.levelground.com
TEAHOUSE 1. THE SECRET GARDEN TEA COMPANY
2138 West 40th Ave. 604-261-3070 2. DAVIDsTEA, various locations 3. O5 Rare Tea Bar 2208 West 4th Ave. 604-558-0500
JUICE BAR 1. THE JUICE TRUCK
2. Glory Juice Co. 3. The Juicery Co.
ENERGY DRINK 1. RED BULL
Best private Liquor store
Live social. Drink local.
1218 West Pender Street, Vancouver 604.685.1212 W W W. C OA L H A R B O U R L I Q U O R S T O R E . C O M OPEN
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NOW FOR THE IMPORTANT QUESTION, WHERE SHOULD WE GO TO EAT?
Baba incorporates many different Japanese cooking techniques into his omakase menu, but he emphasizes that fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients are just as important. Creating an omakase dining experience for his customers is a way to show off culinary skills that he’s honed over 20 years. “Because omakase is such a long tasting menu with many courses, I cannot include strong f lavours with each dish because your stomach will get tired,” Baba said. “In traditional Kyoto omakase, rice is always first. My style of omakase is modern kaiseki [traditional multicourse Japanese dinner] and I serve rice at the end. “We would like all of our customers to be open-minded when you eat omakase,” he added, “because if you aren’t open-minded, then you can’t enjoy fully the food and the experience.” Guests who dine at Masayoshi can choose between three omakase menus: nigiri sushi with 14 pieces, an appetizer, and dessert ($80 per person); nigiri sushi with 16 pieces, an appetizer, miso soup, and dessert ($110); or Baba’s original creation, which must be ordered three days in advance and which consists of seven courses and includes hot and cold dishes and sushi ($120). Reservations are a must, and there are only two seatings each evening—at 6 and 8 p.m. “I like how it [omakase] is always challenging because I don’t decide on the menu until the very last minute, so it can change anytime,” Baba said. “When it snows, I may add something hot or warm, or I may add more salt if it’s a hot day. It’s always challenging and never the same, and that’s my favourite part about serving omakase.” Unlike Masayoshi and Sushi Bar Maumi, Kitsilano’s Octopus’ Garden (1995 Cornwall Avenue) offers omakase in addition to its regular menu—much like the legendary Tojo’s (1133 West Broadway). Owner and chef Sada Hoshika recently celebrated Octopus’ Garden’s 25th anniversary. He recalled
RESTAURANTS 131 Water Kitchen & Bar: 131 Water Street Al Porto Restaurant: 321 Water Street Bauhaus Restaurant: 1 W. Cordova Street Brioche: 401 W. Cordova Street Coquille Fine Seafood: 181 Carrall St. Crab Park Chowdery: 221 Abbott Street Di Beppi: 8 W. Cordova St. Gringo: 27 Blood Alley Guu Otokomae: 375 Water Street Haru Korean Kitchen: 324 Cambie St. Jules Bistro: 216 Abbott Street Kofta Meatball Kitchen: 320 Cambie St. L’Abattoir: 217 Carrall Street La Casita: 101 W. Cordova Street La Mezcaleria: 68 E. Cordova St. Local Public Eatery: 3 Alexander St. MeeT: 12 Water Street MoMo Sushi: 375 Water Street Mosquito: 32 Water Street Nicli Antica Pizzeria: 62 E. Cordova Street Old Spaghetti Factory: 53 Water Street Peckinpah: 2 Water Street Pidgin: 350 Carrall Street Pourhouse: 162 Water Street Revel Room: 238 Abbott Street Rodney’s Oyster House: 52 Powell Street Salt Tasting Room: 45 Blood Alley Sitar: 8 Powell Street Six Acres: 203 Carrall Street
@MYGASTOWN FACEBOOK/GASTOWN @GASTOWN Get the inside scoop on restaurants, shopping and events at gastown.org
Steamworks: 375 Water Street Tacofino: 15 W. Cordova Street Tempranillo: 280 Carrall St. The Alibi Room: 157 Alexander Street The Black Frog: 108 Cambie Street The Diamond: 6 Powell Street The Flying Pig: 102 Water Street The Greedy Pig: 307 W. Cordova Street The Irish Heather: 210 Carrall Street
The Poke Shop: 306 Water Street The Sardine Can: 26 Powell Street TUC Craft Kitchen: 60 W. Cordova Street Water Street Café: 300 Water Street Vera’s Burger Shack: 213 Carrall Street COFFEE SHOPS / DELI’S Bambo: 301 W. Cordova Street Buro Coffee: 365 Water Street Coffeebar: 10 Water Street Cottage Deli: 131 Water Street David’s Tea: 164 Water Street East Van Roasters: 319 Carrall Street Meat & Bread: 370 Cambie Street Milano Espresso Lounge: 36 Powell Street Nelson the Seagull: 315 Carrall Street Revolver Coffee: 325 Cambie Street Silvestre Deli: 317 Water Street Smart Mouth Café: 131 Water Street Soft Peaks: 25 Alexander Street Starbucks Coffee: 199 Water Street Strike Mvmnt: 299 Cordova Street The Birds & The Beets: 55 Powell Street Timbertrain: 311 W. Cordova Street Trees Organic: 321 Water Street PUBS & BARS Clough Club: 212 Abbott Street Guilt & Company: 1 Alexander Street Lamplighter: 92 Water Street M.I.A.: 350 Water Street Portside Pub: 7 Alexanders Street The Blarney Stone: 216 Carrall Street The Bourbon: 50 W. Cordova Street The Cambie: 300 Cambie Street The Charles Bar: 136 W. Cordova Street The Metropole Pub: 320 Abbott Street
2. Monster 3. Body Energy Club Smoothies
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 35
vancouver’s only Central Texas Smokehouse
HOLE IN THE WALL
Think you know BBQ? You don’t know Dixie’s. Well, maybe some of you do... Thanks for your votes Vancouver!
337 East Hastings St. 778-379-4770 meatatdixies.com
THANKS FOR VOTING US #1 BEST LEBANESE
BEST MIDDLE EASTERN
Want Nuba At Your Event? Visit: www.nuba.ca/catering 36 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Reaching the tipping point > BY TRAVIS L UPICK
Seriously, thank you. We’re proud to serve up Vancouver’s favourite ice cream.
Jay Z left a US$11,100 gratuity at a New York City establishment, focusing public attention on what’s an appropriate tip. Mikael “Mika” Väisänen photo
“I think it needs to be eliminated. It’s an absolute disgrace.” But McGarrigle added that the lower liquor-serving wage is likely to remain as long as tipping does. Ian Tostenson is president and CEO of industry group the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association. He acknowledged there are problems with tipping but argued that, on balance, it’s for the best, for both customers and restaurant employees. He suggested that certain problems that do exist with tipping can largely be addressed with the public better understanding details of how tipping works in B.C. For example, many people are now aware that a percentage of what they tip their server actually goes to kitchen staff, hostesses, and so on. But Tostenson added that it’s his experience that many people don’t know that this percentage—usually five percent in B.C.—is paid regardless of what the customer tips. “If you tip less than five percent,
recent evening at the Playroom in New York City left rapper Sean Carter with a dent to his wallet. The bill for the man better known as Jay Z came to US$80,035. According to a copy of the receipt shared online, the server, Dayhana, received a standard tip on top of that: 15 percent, which came out to US$11,100. It sounds like a lot for one night’s labour. But Gavin McGarrigle, the B.C. area director of general trade union Unifor, told the Straight that there’s a lot wrong with tipping, tipping culture, and related labour-market issues that tipping allows to be overlooked. “People like to hear stories of servers making out with hundreds of dollars a day in tips,” he said in a telephone interview. “But they’re forgetting that they probably don’t have benefits, they probably don’t work full eight-hour shifts five days a week, they have to tip out [share with other staff] on top of that, and they certainly don’t have a pension plan.” In addition, McGarrigle pointed to a structural problem that’s wholly justified by the unwritten social contract that says Canadians are tippers. In B.C., servers who work with alcohol can be paid $1.25 below the minimum wage, the rationale being that they’ll more than make up the difference with tips received on the wider profit margins that characterize alcohol sales. And because a majority of servers are women—81 percent, according to Statistics Canada—the lower wage amounts to sexism, McGarrigle argued. “It’s very much a gender thing. It affects women far more than men. It enhances a gender pay gap,” he said.
it’s coming out of their pocket,” he said. “If you tip nothing, it’s still coming out of their pocket.” Tostenson offered an alternative that patrons can exercise in instances when a meal fails to meet their expectations. “Should you tip if you have bad service?” he asked. “I think you should really talk to the manager before you make that decision. Talk to the server or talk to the manager. Don’t just walk out and don’t tip. Say you’ve had a bad experience or that the food wasn’t good, and they’ll fix that. They’ll do something to make that happen.” Oh, and should Jay Z have tipped Dayhana 20 percent instead of the 15 he left her? Whether the standard tip in North America has officially risen to 20 percent has become a common question, Tostenson said. “I’ll tip at least 20 percent,” he replied. “If you get good service, good food, have a great time, and get a $100 bill, what’s 20 bucks?” -
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... SOUPS
3 A.M. MEAL
1. THE NAAM RESTAURANT
Various locations 2. Liquids + Solids Various locations 3. The Stock Market 1689 Johnston St., Granville Island 604-687-2433
2724 West 4th Ave. 604-738-7151 2. Lucy’s Eastside Diner 2708 Main St. 604-568-1550 3. Denny’s Restaurant Various locations
1. FRITZ EUROPEAN FRY HOUSE
718 Davie St. 604-684-0811 2. La Belle Patate 1215 Davie St. 604-5691215 3. Belgian Fries 1885 Commercial Dr. 604-253-4220
1. FABLE DINER
1. MEAT & BREAD
151 East Broadway 604-563-3463 2. Lucy’s Eastside Diner 2708 Main St. 604-568-1550 3. Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe 2095 West 4th Ave. 604-732-6810
Various locations 2. Railtown Cafe Various locations 3. La Grotta del Formaggio 1791 Commercial Dr. 604-255-3911
BISTRO 1. BISTRO WAGON ROUGE
FISH AND CHIPS 1. PAJO’S
Various locations 2. Go Fish 1505 West 1st Ave. 604-730-5040 3. The Fish Counter 3825 Main St. 604-876-3474
1869 Powell St. 604-251-4070 2. Au Comptoir 2278 West 4th Ave. 604-569-2278 3. Jules Casual French Bistro 216 Abbott St. 604-669-0033
1. SIEGEL’S BAGELS
Various locations 2. Rosemary Rocksalt Various locations 3. Solly’s Bagelry Various locations
Various locations 2. MeeT Various locations 3. White Spot Various locations
1. FRITZ EUROPEAN FRY HOUSE
1. VERA’S BURGER SHACK
Various locations 2. Romer’s Burger Bar Various locations 3. White Spot Various locations
718 Davie St. 604-684-0811 2. Belgian Fries 1885 Commercial Dr. 604-253-4220 3. McDonald’s Various locations
1. VIRTUOUS PIE
The only place in the world with
238 avours on Location!
La Casa Gelato | 1033 Venables St | 604 251 3211
Various locations 2. Tacofino Various locations 3. Connie’s Cookhouse (tie) 2135 West 4th Ave. 604-738-0980 3. Martini’s Restaurant (tie) 151 West Broadway 604-873-0021
RESTAURANT TO CURE A HANGOVER 1. MCDONALD’S
Various locations 2. What’s Up? Hot Dog! 2481 East Hastings St. 604-879-8364 3. Bon’s Off Broadway 2451 Nanaimo St. 604-253-7242
RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE 1. CACTUS CLUB CAFE
Various locations 2. AnnaLena Restaurant 1809 West 1st Ave. 778-379-4052 3. Robba da Matti 1127 Mainland St. 604-558-1174
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 37
Filipinos connect to roots with boodle fights > BY C A RL ITO PA BLO
ating with one’s hands is common among many peoples across the world. Even in the West, not all foods are eaten with a knife and fork. Think pizza, chicken wings, and hamburgers, to mention a few. During the past few years, local Filipino restaurants have taken the concept of eating without utensils to another level through the “boodle fight”. Derived from a military style of eating in the Philippines, where everyone eats the same food together regardless of rank, the boodle fight eschews not only cutlery but plates and serving platters as well. Boodle, or enough food to feed a small army, is piled on tables covered with banana leaves. After everyone has washed their hands, the fight is on until the grub runs out. At both Kulinarya Filipino Eatery and Grandt Kitchen, this dining experience is also known as kamayan (A Tagalog word meaning “eating with the hands”). Kulinarya opened its first locaSurrey’s Grandt Kitchen offers boodle fights, in which diners devour Filipino food, piled upon banana leaves, with their hands. tion in Coquitlam in 2009, and it started offering kamayan-style din- staple food, like a parade of colours sauce). Second came pakbet (Asian bok choy). Then fried eggplant, ing at 114 –2922 Glen Drive in 2013. and f lavours. vegetables with shrimp paste). Next longanisa (sausage similar to choAccording to the establishment’s First was kare-kare (beef and were lumpia (spring rolls), fol- rizo), and fried plantains. Next in co-owner Rosette Samaniego, the vegetables simmered in peanut lowed by steamed pechay (Filipino line was crispy pata (pork leg boiled communal hand-to-mouth dining style caught on among families and young people of various backREADERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... grounds through word of mouth and social media. SPECIALTY GROCER GROCERY STORE CAFÉ ORGANIC DINING “We had a feeling that because it’s different, it will be well received,” 1. MEINHARDT FINE FOODS 1. MEINHARDT FINE FOODS 1. APHRODITE’S Samaniego told the Georgia Straight ORGANIC CAFÉ Various locations Various locations in an interview. 2. Bosa Foods 2. Urban Fare 3605 West 4th Ave., 604-738-8308 When Kulinarya opened its Various locations Various locations 2. Eternal Abundance second location in Vancouver, at 3. Whole Foods Market 3. Choices Markets 1025 Commercial Dr. 1134 Commercial Drive, last DeVarious locations Various locations 604-707-0088 cember, there were no firm plans 3. Heirloom Vegetarian to introduce kamayan. However, 1509 West 12th Ave., 604-733-2231 STORE TO BUY VEGAN-FRIENDLY the restaurant kept getting inquirORGANIC PRODUCTS ies from people asking if they could 1. MEET VEGETARIAN have a boodle fight so they wouldn’t 1. WHOLE FOODS MARKET Various locations have to drive out to Coquitlam. 2. The Acorn Various locations 1. THE ACORN According to Samaniego, ka3995 Main St. 2. Choices Markets 3995 Main St., 604-566-9001 mayan receipts account for about 40 604-566-9001 Various locations 2. The Naam Restaurant percent of the revenue of Kulinarya 3. Heirloom Vegetarian 3. Famous Foods 2724 West 4th Ave., 604-738-7151 in Vancouver. 1509 West 12th Ave. 1595 Kingsway 3. MeeT, various locations Last Friday, Samaniego and staff 604-733-2231 604-872-3019 started preparing a long table for VEGGIE BURGER a 7 p.m. kamayan reservation for GROCERY DELIVERY GLUTEN-FREE DINING seven adults and two kids half an 1. MEET hour in advance. 1. SPUD 1. VIRTUOUS PIE Various locations The table was first topped with 2. The Naam Restaurant 1660 East Hastings St. Various locations white paper; over that, banana 2724 West 4th Ave. 604-215-7783 2. The Wallflower leaves moistened with edible oil 604-738-7151 2. Save-on-Foods 2420 Main St. were carefully layered. Next, 3. Terra V Burger Various locations 604-568-7554 mounds of rice were placed at the 2961 West Broadway 3. Stong’s 3. The Juice Truck centre of the table, rising like snowy 604-336-3575 Various locations Various locations peaks. Then came a succession of dishes heaped on and around the
and fried until the skin becomes crunchy). Then adobo (chicken and pork cooked with soy sauce and vinegar). Finally, grilled and stuffed pusit (squid filled with tomato and onion) was followed by fried kamote (sweet potatoes). To garnish the spread, lemon slices and salsa were placed in different spots. For dips, vinegar and chili sauce came in small plastic cups. Kulinarya clients can also customize their kamayan fare with a selection of meats, seafood, and vegetables. Before Spanish colonization began in the 16th century, people in the Asian archipelago now known as the Philippines ate with their hands, a practice that was looked down upon by the Europeans. The colonizers introduced eating with utensils, and although their new subjects adopted this style, eating with one’s hands did not die. It became a guilty pleasure for many and was passed down through generations like a collective memory. Perhaps many Filipinos, to this day, eat with their hands in the privacy of their homes and company of close friends as an unconscious act of defiance against foreign subjugation. Gian Karla Limcangco, a Vancouver foodie and independent journalist originally from Manila, noted that young Filipinos in their native land as well as overseas are eager to reconnect with their precolonial heritage, and kamayan is one way of tapping into that legacy. “It’s going back to our roots,” Limcangco told the Straight by phone. According to Limcangco, kamayan is not just about the food; it’s also about sharing and community. Grandt Kitchen introduced the boodle fight in 2016, a year after the opening of its Surrey location at 12297 Industrial Road. Rina Fajardo-Molenderas, a coowner of the restaurant, related that the place is always fully booked on weekends for the kamayan experience, by Filipino as well as non-Filipino customers. “It’s like a fellowship,” FajardoMolenderas told the Straight in a phone interview. Although diners all do the same thing, eat, they also exchange stories and laughter, which makes the experience a fun gathering, according to Fajardo-Molenderas. For those who don’t want to eat with their hands in public, Grandt Kitchen offers boodle to go, with the food in a bilao (traditionally used as a rice-winnowing tray) and banana leaves that they can set on the table at home. -
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38 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
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Lifetime Achievement Retired, President and CEO, The Vancouver Trolley Company. A preeminent figure in Vancouver’s hospitality, tourism, and arts and culture scene.
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VCC faculty member, auto collision and refinishing. The only female instructor of auto collision in western Canada, Doreen is a trailblazer for women in trades.
Community Contribution VCC faculty member, Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
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MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 39
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Vancouver’s mix of world-class cannabis and great restaurants ought to help put to rest a few of the old stoner stereotypes. iStock photo.
Where cannabis users can beat the munchies > BY A M A NDA SIEBE R T
BUDDHA BARN (2179 WEST 4TH AVENUE)
THE MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARY (1182 THURLOW STREET)
STRATHCONA: THE HERB CO. (1193 MAIN STREET)
ixing Vancouver’s worldclass cannabis with its topnotch cuisine is, undoubtedly, a nobrainer—and in Vancouver, choices abound in both realms. Although the word munchies might elicit images of bags of potato chips or greasy French fries, we like to think cannabis consumers in this city prefer to satisfy their post-toke pseudohunger with food options that are a little more elevated than tired stoner stereotypes might have you believe. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of dispensaries conveniently located in a few areas of the city overflowing with alternatives to junk food—from plant-based options in Kitsilano to tasty tapas hot spots on Main Street, we’re sure there’s something to appeal to the tastes of cannabis users throughout the city.
Once you’re done sorting through classic strains like Texada Timewarp, Rockstar, Sour Diesel, and the 21 other varieties available in this cozy shop housed in an adorable West End character home, Davie Street’s unparalleled variety makes this dispensary a prime spot for a postpickup dinner. If you’re looking to sit down, try La Brasserie for chic but casual French- and German-inspired dishes, or the ever reliable Banana Leaf for a menu chock-full of Malaysian favourites. But if takeout makes more sense after your sesh, go for an oversized juicy burger at Fatburger, a special roll at Kadoya Japanese, or the classic souvlaki plate at the always busy Stepho’s Greek Taverna—all within a block of the dispensary.
At Buddha Barn, one of the city’s only dispensaries with a producttesting policy, it’s clear that staff have genuine care for the health and wellbeing of their members. After you’ve selected your favourite products with the help of one of the shop’s knowledgeable budtenders, West 4th offers everything from tasty vegetarian dishes (try the Naam, a few blocks west, or Sejuiced, just two blocks east) to comfort food (Burgoo, a block to the west) and more. If you happen to pick up on the weekend, brunch at the Oakwood is an experience that can only be made more wonderful by a pre-Benny hoot. But if you’re in a hurry, takeout from Ramen Danbo, just a few blocks east, makes for a meal so flavourful you’ll wonder if your altered state is playing tricks on your taste buds.
You might guess by the name of this shop that its focus is primarily on stocking topnotch flower, and you’d be correct: on any given day, consumers will find upward of 30 strains on the shelves of this conveniently located dispensary just beneath the Main Street–Science World SkyTrain station. You might find that the only thing more challenging than choosing from 30 different varieties of cannabis is choosing what to eat once you’re finished: tapas dishes at Bodega on Main or rustic Italian at Campagnolo, both just two blocks north? Pan-Asian flavours at Torafuku or Neapolitan-style pizza at Pizzeria Farina, a block farther? And with the Herb Co.’s proximity to Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar, dessert will likely be inevitable. -
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... DESSERTS 1. THIERRY
1059 Alberni St., 604-608-6870 2. purebread 159 West Hastings St. 604-563-8060 3. True Confections, various locations
ICE CREAM 1. EARNEST ICE CREAM
Various locations 2. Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream Various locations 3. La Casa Gelato 1033 Venables St., 604-251-3211
GELATO 1. BELLA GELATERIA
1001 West Cordova St. 604-569-1010 2. La Casa Gelato 1033 Venables St., 604-251-3211 3. Amato Gelato Cafe/Mario’s Gelati 78 East 1st Ave., 604-879-9011
FROZEN YOGURT 1. MENCHIE’S
Various locations 2. Qoola Frozen Yogurt Bar Various locations 3. Yogen Früz Various locations
CHOCOLATE SHOP 1. PURDYS CHOCOLATES
Various locations 2. Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Various locations 3. BETA5 Chocolates 413 Industrial Ave. 604-669-3336
FOOD FESTIVAL/ EVENT 1. DINE OUT VANCOUVER
2. Brewery & the Beast 3. YVR Food Fest
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 41
MONDAY $15 burger and beer TUESDAY $2 off ribs and $16 pitchers WEDNESDAY $4.50/lb THURSDAY ALL pints $5.50 and $7 steak bites Thank you for voting us Best Pub Food + Best Wings!
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READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... PLACE FOR CASUAL COOKING CLASSES
1. THE DIRTY APRON COOKING SCHOOL & DELICATESSEN
1. TERRA BREADS
540 Beatty St. 604-879-8588 2. Nourish Café & Cooking School 3742 West 10th Ave. 604-222-8350 3. Cook Culture Various locations
PROFESSIONAL CULINARY SCHOOL 1. PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF CULINARY ARTS
101–1505 West 2nd Ave. 604-734-4488 2. Vancouver Community College 250 West Pender St. 604-443-8300 3. Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver 2725 Main St. 604-876-7653
COOKING STORE 1. MING WO
Various locations 2. The Gourmet Warehouse 1340 East Hastings St. 604-253-3022 3. Cook Culture Various locations
Various locations 2. Cobs Bread Various locations 3. purebread 159 West Hastings St. 604-563-8060
PASTRY BAKERY 1. BEAUCOUP BAKERY & CAFÉ
2150 Fir St. 604-732-4222 2. purebread 159 West Hastings St. 604-563-8060 3. Fratelli Bakery Various locations
GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY 1. LEMONADE GLUTEN FREE BAKERY
3385 Cambie St. 604-873-9993 2. East Village Bakery 2166 East Hastings St. 604-568-5600 3. The Gluten Free Epicurean 633 East 15th Ave. 604-876-4114
SPECIALTY FOOD STORE
1. BOSA FOODS
1. EMELLE’S CATERING
Various locations 2. Meinhardt Fine Foods Various locations 3. Whole Foods Market Various locations
177 West 7th Ave. 604-875-6551 2. The Butler Did It Catering Co. 620 Clark Dr. 604-739-3663 3. Savoury Chef Foods 1175 Union St. 604-357-7118
PICNIC SUPPLIER 1. URBAN FARE
Various locations HOLE-IN-THE-WALL 2. Granville Island Public Market 1689 Johnston St., Granville Island 1. WHAT’S UP? HOT DOG! 604-666-5784 2481 East Hastings St. 3. Meinhardt Fine Foods 604-879-8364 Various locations 2. Bon’s Off Broadway 2451 Nanaimo St. 604-253-7242 DELI 3. Gringo 27 Blood Alley Square 1. OYAMA SAUSAGE CO. 604-721-0607 126–1689 Johnston St., Granville Island 604-327-7407 RESTAURANT TO HANG 2. Santa Barbara Market OUT IN ON A RAINY DAY 1322 Commercial Dr. 604-253-1941 1. BURGOO 3. Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli Various locations 4156 East Hastings St., Burnaby 2. Storm Crow Tavern 604-291-9373 1305 Commercial Dr. 604-566-9669 3. Tap & Barrel BUTCHER Various locations 1. WINDSOR QUALITY MEATS
4110 Main St. 604-872-5635 2. Pasture to Plate 1420 Commercial Dr. 604-215-0050 3. Rio Friendly Meats 2477 East Hastings St. 604-253-0345
SEAFOOD STORE 1. THE FISH COUNTER
3825 Main St. 604-876-3474 2. The Daily Catch Seafood Company Various locations 3. 7 Seas Fish Co. (tie) Various locations 3. Finest at Sea Ocean Products (tie) Various locations
Tha n k you Vaco v e r for a m ig us on of yo r top -et detitos. 1520 West 13th Ave (at Granville) | Reservations: 604.736.1520 or firstname.lastname@example.org
s t a b l e h o u s e.c a 42 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
PIZZA BY THE SLICE 1. UNCLE FATIH’S PIZZA
Various locations 2. Pizza Garden Various locations 3. Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria Various locations
PIZZA TAKEOUT/ DELIVERY 1. PIZZERIA FARINA
915 Main St. 604-681-9334 2. Virtuous Pie Various locations 3. Nat’s New York Pizzeria Various locations
SPECIALTY CHEESE STORE
1. LES AMIS DU FROMAGE
1190 Victoria Dr. 604-336-1803 2. Pizzeria Farina 915 Main St. 604-681-9334 3. Nicli Antica Pizzeria 62 East Cordova St. 604-669-6985
Various locations 2. Benton Brothers Fine Cheese Various locations 3. La Grotta del Formaggio 1791 Commercial Dr. 604-255-3911
1. VIA TEVERE
HEY YOU. CRAFT BEER LOVER. THANKS FOR SUPPORTING
Merci, NEW ORLEANS INSPIRED CUISINE
BRASSNECK. WE LOVES YA RIGHT BACK. (ALMOST AS MUCH AS WE LOVE BEER!)
FAT TUESDAY! WWW.BEAUCOUPBAKERY.COM
2150 FIR STREET 604.732.4222
Pasta is $ 95 from 5 till 9 Come down for 1/2 price pasta and free live jazz! BLUEMARTINIJAZZCAFE.COM
1516 YEW STREET, VANCOUVER, BC | 604 428 2691
SIMPLICITY IS THE
ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION -Leonardo De Vinci
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MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 43
The warmth of the island.
Thank you for voting us
in the Granville Island Hotel
The heart of the city.
Book a table at docksidevancouver.com
1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver | 604.685.7070
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44 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Find us in the G r a nv i l l e I s l a n d P u b l i c M a r ke t Phone: 6 0 4 -327-74 07 • oyamas aus age.c a 16 8 9 Johnston Street @OyamaSaus age
Oyama Saus age Co
This green-tie gala fundraiser showcases creations by Vancouverâ€™s leading culinary artists, and the best of VCCâ€™s fashion, music, and more. ÂœÂˆÂ˜Ă•ĂƒÂˆÂ˜Â…iÂ?ÂŤÂˆÂ˜}ĂŒÂ…iÂ˜iĂ?ĂŒ}iÂ˜iĂ€>ĂŒÂˆÂœÂ˜Âœv6
ĂƒĂŒĂ•`iÂ˜ĂŒĂƒyÂœĂ•Ă€ÂˆĂƒÂ…Â° B.C.â€“made Bittered Sling Bitters offers a diverse range of flavours, including the inherently smoky and spicy Moondog. Jean-FĂŠlix DesfossĂŠs photo.
Bittered Sling brings out dynamics of drink > B Y M IKE USING E R
ittingly, given his background as a respected Vancouver chef, Jonathan Chovancek put things in understandable culinary terms when talking bittersâ€” one of the most formidable yet often under-the-radar weapons of todayâ€™s progressive bartenders. â€œItâ€™s almost like when you add salt to a dish or lemon juice to a fish,â€? the eminently quotable cocktail enthusiast says, on the line from Montreal, where heâ€™s on a business trip. â€œYouâ€™re not making lemon fishâ€”youâ€™re making the fish taste more of itself by adding that acid to it. So with cocktail bitters, youâ€™re really bringing out the dynamics of your carefully chosen ingredients that youâ€™ve put in your cocktail. The spice build in the bitters is going to help enhance and steer that palate experience in the glass.â€? Along with award-winning Vancouver bartender Lauren Mote (his real-life partner), Chovancek has turned his passion for a perfectly crafted cocktail into a business. The two are the founders and creative team behind Bittered Sling Bitters, which has gone from a 2012 startup to a brand embraced by bartenders from the United Kingdom to Australia to the Cayman Islands. Bitters have, of course, been around since the iconic Jerry Thomas was working the bar at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco, with Angostura perhaps the worldâ€™s most recognizable standby. An explosion in cocktail culture over the past decade, along with a booming interest in craft food and drink, has led to companies across the continent (including Scrappyâ€™s Bitters in Seattle and Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters) pushing the possibilitiesâ€”which is to say bitters arenâ€™t just for a classic Old-Fashioned or Barbados Rum Punch anymore. Bittered Sling Bitters started with Chovancek being wowed by Moteâ€™s prowess behind the bar at the Refinery on Granville back in 2010. Having read cocktail articles that Mote had written, Chovancek stopped in for drinks with a friend. â€œAt the time I was a vodka-soda guyâ€”no cocktails,â€? he recalls. â€œSo we went up and she started taking us through her program. All along the walls of the bar were these mustard jars and Grolsch bottles of bitters, tinctures, and infusions she was doing. With the cocktails she was bringing out, suddenly we were getting flavours in a drink that we hadnâ€™t experienced beforeâ€”a level of complexity that, in 2010, was only really happening in London and New York.â€?
After Chovancek and Mote started dating, they quickly realized that, with their backgrounds in cooking and bartending, they were something of a double threat. And with cocktail renaissance hitting Vancouver, they figured there was a niche waiting to be filled. â€œMeeting Lauren was a big eyeopener,â€? Chovancek relates. â€œShe approached making cocktails like a chef approaches creating cuisineâ€” and thatâ€™s through an understanding of how the science of taste and flavour works, and then being incredibly creative in how we can achieve those elements. So we started working together to hone recipes, because at the time she had about 35 bitters on the go.â€? Knowing that most bars and retail outlets have limited shelf space, Bittered Sling eventually streamlined things to 12 offerings, ranging from Malagasy Chocolate to Cascade Celery to Clingstone Peach. Among the most popular is the companyâ€™s Kensington Aromatic, which it describes as a â€œblend of classic, dry aromatic bitters and intense herbal, high-resin spice, citrus and root flavoursâ€? and which goes perfectly in everything from a Manhattan to meszcal cocktails. (Recipes for all Bittered Sling Bitters flavours can be found at www.bitteredsling.com/.) After starting out in Vancouver, the couple moved operations to the Okanagan, where bitters start as apple and grape distillates from Okanagan Spirits in Vernon and are then developed with various herbs, barks, fruit, roots, and other botanicals. The company doesnâ€™t use essences, extracts, sugar, or artificial flavourings. In the beginning, Mote and Chovancek experimented, and then tweaked recipes, relying on not only their backgrounds in food and drink but also feedback from those on the frontlines of Vancouverâ€™s cocktail scene. â€œWe developed our recipes through trial and a lot of intuition,â€? says Chovancek, who still steps up to the stove for events like Dine Out Vancouver, but devotes most of his time to Bittered Sling. â€œWe then finetuned them through customer feedback and bartenders, and listened to that feedback to finally get our line of bitters to where they are now.â€? Accolades for Bittered Slingâ€” which was the first Canadian bitters company to ship outside the countryâ€”have included gold-medal recognition from the Beverage Testing Instituteâ€™s 2014 International Review of Spirits. In addition to judging international competitions and hosting seminars, Chovancek and Mote
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2018, 7 P.M.
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MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 45
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have also been tapped for keynote speeches at London Cocktail Week and Bar Convent Berlin. Chovancek acknowledges that it’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around the price tags of bitters. (Bittered Sling Bitters are around $22 to $24 retail for 120-millilitre bottles.) The thing to keep in mind, he suggests, is that— just as one wouldn’t dump a box of salt or a gallon of lemon juice
BEST FINE DINING BEST RESTAURANT SERVICE BEST WINE LIST (IMPORTED)
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... PREGAME RESTAURANT 1. BOSTON PIZZA
801 WEST GEORGIA STREET WWW.HAWKSWORTHRESTAURANT.COM 604.673.7000
Various locations 2. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty St., 604-879-7119 3. Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery 560 Smithe St., 604-689-4460
RESTAURANT FOR WATCHING THE GAME
162 Water St. 604-568-7022 2. Shameful Tiki Room 4362 Main St. 3. Shebeen Whisk(e)y House 210 Carrall St. 604-688-9779
1. BOSTON PIZZA
PUB 1. IRISH HEATHER & SHEBEEN WHISK(E)Y HOUSE
210 Carrall St. 604-688-9779 2. Doolin’s Irish Pub 654 Nelson St. 604-605-4349 3. Dublin Crossing Irish Pub Various locations
BARBECUE 1. MEMPHIS BLUES BARBEQUE HOUSE
Thanks for voting us Vancouver’s best restaurant atmosphere (runner up)
Various locations 2. Dixie’s 337 East Hastings St. 778-379-4770 3. Peckinpah 2 Water St. 604-681-5411
BREWPUB RESTAURANT 1. GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING
Various locations 2. The Pint Public House 455 Abbott St., 604-684-0258 3. Earls Restaurant, various locations
1441 Cartwright St., Granville Island 604-687-2739 2. Truck Stop (Red Truck Brewery) 295 East 1st Ave. 604-682-4733 3. Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery 310 West 4th Ave. 604-708-8311
1. ODD SOCIETY SPIRITS
162 Water St. 604-568-7022 2. Shameful Tiki Room 4362 Main St. 3. Clough Club 212 Abbott St., 604-558-1581
RESTAURANT FOR DRINK SPECIALS
1725 Powell St. 604-559-6745 2. Long Table Distillery 1451 Hornby St. 604-266-0177 3. The Liberty Distillery 1494 Old Bridge Rd. Granville Island 604-558-1998
1. EARLS RESTAURANT
1017 West Hastings St. Coal Harbour 604.695.9500 www.hawknightingale.com
1. THE CHARLES BAR
136 West Cordova St. 604-568-8040 2. Tap & Barrel Various locations 3. The Pint Public House 455 Abbott St. 604-684-0258
Y ou k n a Th for !
#1 - Best Comfort Food #1 - Best Soup #1 - Best Place to Hang Out on a Rainy Day Runner Up - Best Mid-priced Rest aurant
POINT GREY 4434 WEST 10TH 604.221.7839
1. WINGS RESTAURANTS & PUBS
Various locations 2. Cactus Club Cafe Various locations 3. Colony Bar (tie) Various locations 3. The Metropole Community Pub (tie) 320 Abbott St. 604-408-5822
, ey couve
RESTAURANT FOR A STIFF DRINK 1. POURHOUSE
Various locations 2. Shark Club, various locations 3. Bells and Whistles 3296 Fraser St., 604-620-7990
on a fish in the kitchen—bitters are meant to be used as an accent, meaning a little goes a long way. “Let’s say you’re even paying $30 for a 120-millilitre bottle of bitters,” Chovancek says. “That’s expensive, but it’s easy to do the math. Each dash is 23 cents at a retail place. So if you’re looking at a cocktail that calls for one or two dashes, that’s about 50 cents of ingredients. You’ll get 50 or 60 cocktails out of that. If you think about how long it’s going to take you, at your house, 60 cocktails, that’s actually incredible value.” -
NORTH VANCOUVER 3 LONSDALE AVE 604.904.0933
MT. PLEASANT 3096 MAIN ST 604.873.1441
KITSILANO 2272 WEST 4TH 604.734.3478
DOWNTOWN 1100 BURRARD ST 604.416.1444
Golden Plate Awards Best Vegetarian 20 years running Winner Best Restaurant for a 3am meal p U Best Vegetarian Runner Runner-Up Best Veggie Burger • Licensed • 7 Days A Week • Cozy Wood Fireplace • Heated Patio • Live Music at Dinner
2724 W. 4th Ave. / 738-7151 / www.thenaam.com 46 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Bubble tea continues to float to the top
s u g n i t o v r o ancouver f
> BY TA M MY KWAN
ne of the most popular thirst quenchers around town these days is bubble tea. The Taiwanese drink is said to have been developed in the 1980s, made up of a tea base mixed with milk or fruit, and chewy tapioca balls: a starch-based dessert also known as boba or pearls. The bubble-tea market in Vancouver has grown during the past two decades, coinciding with the rise of the city’s Asian communities. These establishments were once limited to holein-the-wall spots. Those days are long gone. Taiwanese bubble-tea chains entered Vancouver’s market a few years ago. After Chatime broke the ice for overseas bubble-tea franchises in the city, others followed: Coco, Sharetea, Gong Cha, Happy Lemon, ComeBuy, and, most recently, Yifang Fruit Tea. Yifang Fruit Tea is a Taiwanese bubble-tea chain that opened its first Vancouver location (2–1725 Robson Street) last November. “All of our ingredients are imported from Taiwan. All the juice that we use, like pineapple and cane juice, are all fresh and cold-pressed,” Joanne Huang, general manager of Yifang Vancouver, told the Georgia Straight by phone. One of its most popular menu picks is the black-sugar soft-pearl-ball latte—a blend of either milk or blacktea latte with black-sugar tapioca balls. It is only sold at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily, due to the prepping and quality assurance required. “A lot of people line up for this,” Huang explained. “Since we need to serve it within a certain time period, we don’t make a lot, so it’s soldout all the time.” But before the arrival of the Taiwanese bubble-tea giants, there were the mom-and-pop shops that satisfied Vancouver’s bubble-tea lovers.
261 Powell Street
V u o y k n a Th
S G N I EST W
B Yifang Fruit Tea is one of several Taiwanese bubble-tea chains.
David Wu is the 28-year-old owner of Mr. Mustache Bubble Tea (8079 Granville Street; 6125 Sussex Avenue, Burnaby). Its signature drink is its macchiato: brewed tea with a milky layer of cream floating on top. Customers are encouraged to sip from the lid instead of a straw so they can taste tea enhanced by the slightly salty cream. When asked if he felt pressured by the arrival of Taiwanese chains, Wu acknowledged some initial apprehension. “But our business was still doing very well, so I don’t think we are actually affected by them.” Mr. Mustache isn’t the only local bubble-tea shop keeping afloat despite competition. Spots such as the Milk & Sugar Café (3365 Kingsway) and Dragon Ball Tea House (1007 West King Edward Avenue) are still very busy. “Vancouver is an international city, and there’s a lot of market for international companies and drinks,” Wu said. “When there’s more variety in the city, it will diversify the bubble-tea options. I think it’s good for the city.” -
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Thank you Vancouver! #1 Best Latin Restaurant MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 47
Wine festival platinum winners share faves The half-dozen top finishers in the Wine Program Excellence Awards category expertly match vintages with their eateries’ fare
he dust had barely settled on this year’s edition of the Wine Program Excellence Awards at the Vancouver International Wine Festival when I grabbed my phone and got to work on this week’s column. Out of the 33 restaurants that had nabbed honourable mentions or bronze, silver, gold, or platinum awards, it was the half-dozen sommeliers at the helm of the six platinum-award winning spots I was calling. Their wine programs were lauded for not only spot-on wine listings but excellent service and great compatibility with what is coming out of their respective kitchens. For this year’s Golden Plates issue of the Straight, we’re getting wine recommendations from Vancouver’s best sommeliers. LISA HALEY (L’Abattoir) Fratelli Alessandria “Speziale” Verduno Pelaverga DOC 2016 (Piedmont, Italy; $32 to $36, private liquor stores) “We’ve really latched onto Fratelli Alessandria’s Verduno Pelaverga, and sell tons of it,” says Haley (who does double duty, also overseeing the wine program at new sister restaurant Coquille Fine Seafood). “It’s very light and fresh and filled with blood orange and black pepper. We use it for those guests who need a wine for their fish and their duck!” When purchasing your own bottle at places like Village Liquor Store in West Vancouver, Haley recommends putting a little chill on it before serving. WILLIAM MULHOLLAND (Blue Water Cafe) Champagne Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ Brut (Champagne, France; $66.86, Marquis Wine Cellars) It’s no surprise Mulholland opted for a little celebratory Champagne, as Blue Water
SEAN NELSON (Vij’s) Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trocken 2016 (Pfalz, Germany; $26.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) “Trocken Rieslings can often be very austere and hard-edged, especially in youth,” British Columbia’s 2018 sommelier of the year tells me. “But the slightly warmer climate of the Pfalz gives this wine a rounder mouthfeel and a great balance of fruitiness and vibrancy. As a pairing, try grilled sausages with roasted potato and apple!” MATTHEW SHERLOCK (Burdock
Clockwise from left: award-winning sommeliers Lisa Haley (Viranlly Liemena photo) of L’Abbatoir, Sean Nelson of Vij’s, and Matthew Sherlock of Burdock & Co. share some wine recommendations to pair with dinner in their restaurants.
arguably carries the best selection of BRYANT MAO (Hawksworth Resthe stuff in town. “I really like this taurant) Château du Hureau Tuffe Champagne,” he tells me. “It’s well 2015 (Saumur-Champigny, France; integrated, with good creaminess, $31.99, Liberty Wine Merchants) “I aland a super-fine mousse gives it some ways have a soft spot for Cabernet Franc,” Mao says. elegance, and you “It’s bright and can also purchase juicy with lovely, it in 1.5-litre forbrambly fruit. mat, which I find Kurtis Kolt With such fresh gives it some more depth. In the magnum, it’s the perfect acidity, it’s a very versatile pairing wine when entertaining, especially with spring fruit and vegetables.” as a first course with oysters, caviar, A perfect wine for the season, green-apple stuffed brioche. For you can always give it a whirl at Champagne of this quality, the price Hawksworth, where he’s pouring it by the glass. is unbeatable.”
SHANE TAYLOR (CinCin Ristorante + Bar) Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2013 (Rioja, Spain; $29.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) Taylor calls this wine “Classic Rioja that ticks all the boxes”. He enjoys its old-school style, with “beautiful aromatics, red fruit, perfume, dill, and coconut in the background from American oak, with crunchy red fruit on the palate. It’ll make you crave a big hunk of meat or a barbecued Portobello mushroom.” The best part? “It’s only $30 but drinks like a $50 bottle of wine!” he declares.
& Co.) Domaine de la Pépière “Clisson” Muscadet Cru 2014 (Loire Valley, France; $37 to $42, private liquor stores) Possibly the busiest guy in the business, Sherlock is part of the team running Naramata’s Nichol Vineyard and Lock & Worth Winery, and he is also a partner at Sedimentary Wines, a western Canadian import company specializing in European natural wines. On top of all that, he also acts as wine director at Mount Pleasant’s Burdock & Co., working with chef-owner Andrea Carlson. For his recommendation, Sherlock heads to the Loire Valley in France for a crisp and cool Muscadet, saying: “In this market, it’s very rare when you can drink one of the greatest wines from any region for around $40. This is one of those wines. It’s cellar-worthy (it can easily go five to 15 years), and seriously complex, but it’s also downright chuggable.” The wine can be found at Kitsilano Wine Cellar and Liberty Wine Merchants on Commercial Drive, while other selections from the organic domaine can also be found on Burdock & Co.’s list. -
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... HOTEL LOUNGE 1. LOBBY LOUNGE TERRACE + RAWBAR AT THE FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM
1038 Canada Place 604-695-5502 2. 1927 Lobby Lounge at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia 801 West Georgia St. 604-682-5566 3. Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge (tie) 845 Hornby St. 604-608-5319 3. Opus Bar (tie) 322 Davie St. 604-694-2107
RESTAURANT WINE LIST (B.C.)
INDEPENDENT BAR LOUNGE 1. THE KEEFER BAR
135 Keefer St. 604-688-1961 2. The Diamond 6 Powell St. No phone 3. Storm Crow Alehouse (tie) 1619 West Broadway 604-428-9670 3. Pourhouse (tie) 162 Water St. 604-568-7022
RESTAURANT WINE LIST (IMPORTED)
1. BLUE WATER CAFE
1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT
1095 Hamilton St. 604-688-8078 2. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119 3. Hawksworth Restaurant 801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000
801 West Georgia St. 604-673-7000 2. CinCin Ristorante + Bar 1154 Robson St. 604-688-7338 3. Di Beppe 8 West Cordova St. 604-559-1122
B.C. WINE/WINERY (RED)
1. UVA WINE & COCKTAIL BAR
1. BURROWING OWL ESTATE WINERY
900 Seymour St. 604-632-9560 2. Vancouver Urban Winery 55 Dunlevy Ave. 604-566-9463 3. Salt Tasting Room 45 Blood Alley Square 604-633-1912
500 Burrowing Owl Pl., Oliver 250-498-0620 2. Painted Rock Estate Winery 400 Smythe Dr, Penticton 250-493-6809 3. Black Hills Estate Winery 4190 Black Sage Rd, Oliver 250-498-0666
1. OLD VINES RESTAURANT, QUAILS’ GATE WINERY
B.C. WINE/WINERY (WHITE)
3303 Boucherie Rd, West Kelowna 250-769-2500 2. Miradoro Restaurant, Tinhorn Creek Winery 537 Tinhorn Creek Rd, Oliver 250-498-3742 3. Terrace Restaurant, Mission Hill Family Estate 1730 Mission Hill Rd West Kelowna 250-768-6467
1. JOIEFARM WINERY
2825 Naramata Rd Naramata 250-496-0093 2. Blasted Church 378 Parsons Rd, Okanagan Falls 250-497-1125 3. Poplar Grove Winery 425 Middle Bench Rd North Penticton 250-493-9463
THANK YOU VANCOUVER WE ARE PROUD TO BE YOUR
GOLDEN PLATES WINNER FOR 6 YEARS! 1st Place: BEST PRIVATE BEER STORE Runner Up: BEST PRIVATE LIQUOR STORE OPEN 11 - 11 EVERYDAY • FREE PARKING AROUND BACK WWW.BREWCREEK.CA • 604-872-3373 14TH & MAIN • FIND US 48 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
B.C. WINERY/VINEYARD TASTING ROOM 1. MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE
1730 Mission Hill Rd, West Kelowna 250-768-6448 2. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 500 Burrowing Owl Pl., Oliver 877-498-0620 3. Poplar Grove Winery 425 Middle Bench Rd North, Penticton 250-493-9463
PRIVATE WINE STORE 1. EVERYTHING WINE
Various locations 2. Legacy Liquor Store 1633 Manitoba St., 604-331-7900 3. Liberty Wine Merchants Various locations
WINE FESTIVAL/ EVENT 1. CORNUCOPIA
2. Okanagan Wine Festivals 3. Vancouver International Wine Festival
THANK YOU VANCOUVER
FOR VOTING US BEST PRIVATE WINE STORE
WINE TASTINGS EVERYDAY FROM 2-6PM
FREE DELIVERY ON ORDERS OVER $200
LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL WINES WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED
WE OFFER A 5% DISCOUNT WHEN YOU PURCHASE 12 OR MORE BOTTLES
CONTACT US AT : 1-844 989 9463 HOURS: Mon - Sat: 10am-9pm Sun: 11am-7pm
Everything Wine offers a world of wine that will help you re-live an awe-inspiring trip or enjoy cherished times with good friends. At our South Vancouver store, we carry local and imported beer which are carefully curated by our beer expert. And we have premium spirits too!
VANCOUVER 8570 River District Crossing
Turn South on East Sawmill Cres, off Marine Way
MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 49
READERS’ CHOICES OF BEST... EATERY WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
NEW BREWERY 1. ANDINA BREWING COMPANY
1. EAST IS EAST
Various locations 2. Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar 765 Beatty St. 604-688-6368 3. Blue Martini Jazz Cafe 1516 Yew St. 604-428-2691
RESTAURANT B.C. BEER SELECTION
BREWERY TASTING ROOM
1. CRAFT BEER MARKET
1. BRASSNECK BREWERY
85 West 1st Ave. 604-709-2337 2. Alibi Room 157 Alexander St. 604-623-3383 3. Tap & Barrel Various locations
2148 Main Street 604-259-7686 2. Main Street Brewing Company 261 East 7th Ave. 604-336-7711 3. Granville Island Brewing 1441 Cartwright St., Granville Island 604-687-2739
RESTAURANT IMPORTED BEER SELECTION 1. BIERCRAFT BISTRO
Various locations 2. Craft Beer Market 85 West 1st Ave. 604-709-2337 3. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty St. 604-879-7119
7PM - MARCH 8 - 10 ROUNDHOUSE EXHIBITION HALL
8PM - MARCH 8 - 10 ROUNDHOUSE PERFORMANCE CENTRE
PRIVATE LIQUOR STORE 1. LEGACY LIQUOR STORE
1633 Manitoba St. 604-331-7900 2. Brewery Creek Liquor Store 3045 Main St. 604-872-3373 3. Coal Harbour Liquor Store 1218 West Pender St. 604-685-1212
1. BREWERY CREEK LIQUOR STORE
INFO & BOX OFFICE: 604.662.4966 · VIDF.CA
EDAM photo by Chris Randle
3045 Main St. 604-872-3373 2. Legacy Liquor Store 1633 Manitoba St. 604-331-7900 3. My Liquor Store Various locations
LOCAL BREWERY 1. RED TRUCK BEER COMPANY
295 East 1st Ave. 604-682-4733 2. Granville Island Brewing 1441 Cartwright St., Granville Island 604-687-2739 3. Brassneck Brewery 2148 Main St. 604-259-7686
LOCALLY BREWED BEER 1. GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING LIONS WINTER ALE
PRIVATE BEER STORE
MARCH 1 – 24
1507 Powell St. 604-253-2400 2. East Van Brewing Company 1675 Venables St. 604-558-3822 3. Mariner Brewing H–1100 Lansdowne Dr., Coquitlam, 604-467-4160
1441 Cartwright St. 604-687-2739 2. Brassneck Brewery 2148 Main St. 604-259-7686 3. Stanley Park Brewing Windstorm West Coast Pale Ale 406–1148 Homer St. 604-642-6722
B.C. BEER BREWED OUTSIDE VANCOUVER 1. FOUR WINDS BREWING COMPANY IPA
4–7355 72nd Street, Delta 604-940-9949 2. Driftwood Brewery Fat Tug IPA 102–450 Hillside Ave., Victoria 250-381-2739 3. Hoyne Brewing Co. Dark Matter 101–2740 Bridge Street, Victoria 250-590-5758
CANADIAN BEER BREWED OUTSIDE B.C. 1. STEAM WHISTLE
2. Mill Street 3. Beau’s
IMPORTED BEER 1. GUINNESS
2. Heineken 3. Stella Artois
BEER FESTIVAL/EVENT 1. VANCOUVER CRAFT BEER WEEK
2. Hopscotch 3. Whistler Village Beer Festival Providing for rehabilitation the care and rehabilitation of Providing for the care and of injured, pollution damaged wildlife. injured, orphaned, andorphaned, pollution and damaged wildlife.
50 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Betroffenheit’s amazing journey has
BY JANET SM IT H
taken its creative team to some dark places. But it has also taken the group to stages in Australia, Taiwan, and France; to Britain’s prestigious Olivier Awards ceremony; and to the pages of newspapers around the globe. (The Guardian deemed it one of the must-see shows of 2017.) It is, without a doubt, one of the most buzzed-about productions ever to have come out of this city. Now, this mounting of the work first envisioned by Kidd Pivot choreographer Crystal Pite and Electric Company Theatre artistic associate Jonathon Young is entering its final stages. The show has just been in Taiwan and New Zealand, and it has a last homecoming to Vancouver next week. After that, it hits Spain, Belgium, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland before wrapping up in Montreal in June. It’s an emotional time. “It’s going to be really hard when it has its last show in Montreal,” says Pite, speaking to the Straight from her Vancouver home. “It’s coming to the end of its chapter. I won’t say ‘life’ because I can’t bear to think that we won’t ever do it again. But it does feel like a good place to stop. It’s a monster of a show for our performers and our crew, and it takes a lot out of them.” With Betroffenheit, Pite and Young built a show out of Young’s real-life trauma, the unbearable loss of his child, Azra Young, and her cousins Fergus and Phoebe Conway in a 2009 cabin fire at Shuswap Lake. In the dance-theatre work, grief takes the form of an inescapable, Sartrean room where a dark carnival of sneering clowns and tap dancers traps Young in his thoughts. Dance and language interplay to show the mix of guilt and PTSD that imprisons him here, but they also, eventually, provide hope and a way out. “It does feel like it’s taken on a life of its own,” Pite observes of Betroffenheit. “Every time we go back to it we discover new things. It’s true of everything we do that it deepens with time—but
Betroffenheit’s big adventure
Betroffenheit (with Tiffany Tregarthen and Jonathon Young; Michael Slobodian photo) is nearing the end of “its chapter”, reveals Crystal Pite (below left).
as a group, a sense of suspension, a stillness, Dance artist Crystal Pite reflects on a work that was born out a silence where nobody of loss and has connected with audiences across the globe seems to breathe or shift,” she says. “Also, Betroffenheit is particularly special because of the there’s the reaction at the end of the show—there content and what it aspires to do. It’s actually con- have been standing Os everywhere we’ve gone, and necting with people, keeping this interesting con- exuberance and applause. So it’s a combination of versation alive. I feel like the show has become a hush and noise. And then some of the parts in the family. We love it so much. And it loves us, too.” first half of the show are super funny and people are Pite admits she and her collaborators once laughing and clapping.” worried the subject matter might not resonSomewhat surprisingly, looking back on the ate with a wider audience unfamiliar with whirlwind of the last year, Pite recalls mostly joy Young’s painful history. in touring and performing this work that looks so “We wondered if we moved outside of our cir- unflinchingly at death. cle, how the show would connect,” she explains. “Of course it can be challenging, but it feels neces“And I think it was really satisfying to know that sary and important,” she reflects, “because it is such it did connect, and that you didn’t need to know a beautiful show. It’s not just a descent into doom; it’s Jonathon’s own personal story. It was about the always brought us a lot of joy, right up to today. larger questions of suffering and survival—and “I’ve always taken my lead, and everyone has, to know the show was doing that away from from Jonathon,” she adds. “He stays open and he our home was really satisfying.” stays curious and he stays with it.” The production received some of its most Betroffenheit has come at a time of incredible powerful reactions in Paris and Amsterdam international demand for Pite’s work. Her recent with carefully translated surtitles, she re- gigs have included Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue calls, struggling to articulate the impact she wit- for Belgium’s Royal Ballet of Flanders, a full evening nessed it having on those audiences. of pieces at Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance, and a “There’s a hush that happens when people are mounting of her Plot Point by Seattle’s Pacific Northconnecting, a sense that the audience is connecting west Ballet. This fall she’ll create another new work
THINGS TO DO
for the Paris Opera Ballet at its legendary Palais Garnier (where her The Seasons’ Canon shows again in a mixed program in May and June). Amid all this, Pite is also getting ready to create a new work with Young and the same creative team behind Betroffenheit—including her partner, set designer Jay Gower Taylor, and costume designer Nancy Bryant, as well as many of the performers. It’s a chance to explore more of the theatre/spoken text/dance mashup that made Betroffenheit so distinctive. “We’re working with a voice-over recording of a play Jonathon has made,” explains Pite, adding they’ll flesh it out at the Banff Centre for the Arts. “We did it with eight actors, and that will form part of our show’s soundtrack, and we’re working with ways of expressing the text through the body.” But for now, Pite is feeling the extra buzz that comes from being able to bring Betroffenheit back here after its adventure abroad. Its DanceHouse shows sold out in February 2016, and it has sold out here again this year. “It’s powerful sharing anything with your hometown,” Pite says. “I get very, very nervous and feel exposed and vulnerable. But it’s extra special.” DanceHouse presents Betroffenheit at the Vancouver Playhouse from Wednesday to next Saturday (March 14 to 17).
ARTS High five
Editor’s choice IT’S PARTY TIME AGAIN Drunk and stoned out of their minds, raucous teens Jules and Fiona are looking for the afterafter-party, but they can’t remember what they’ve done at the preparty, the party, or the after-party. So begins The After After Party, the irreverent hit we raved about when it debuted at the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival. At the time, we called it “Fearless. Skilled. Endlessly surprising,” then awarded it our big, fat Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Award. Written and performed by Katey Hoffman and Cheyenne Mabberley, the show is a thrilling study in sustained lunacy. If you didn’t catch it the first time, don’t miss the party the second time. The After After Party is at the Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab from Wednesday (March 7) to March 17.
Five events you just can’t miss this week
BOMBHEAD (To June 17 at the Vancouver Art Gallery) Mushroom clouds to terrify and titillate in the atomic age.
WE KEEP COMING BACK (March 13 and 14 at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre) A real-life mom and son mine their trip back into their Polish Jewish roots.
TREVOR NOAH (March 9 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre) Witty political barbs will fly as JFL NorthWest brings in the Daily Show host.
GOLDBERG VARIATIONS (March 7 at the Chan Centre) Brilliant Bach pianist Angela Hewitt brings to life one of his most beloved works.
YOKO ONO: MEND PIECE (To April 15 at the Rennie Museum) The calming act of fixing broken china has been extended; book ahead for a visit.
In the news VRS UNVEILS SEASON Piano star Evgeny Kissin (shown here) will return to town to play Beethoven and Rachmaninoff as part of the 2018-19 Vancouver Recital Society season. His performance on October 9 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is just one of many strong piano concerts on the roster: those include Paul Lewis interpreting Haydn, Brahms, and Beethoven on December 9 and March 3; Igor Levit with a program of Bach, Busoni, Schumann, Wagner, and Liszt on November 4; Zoltán Fejérvári performing Schumann, Janácˇek, and Bartók on January 27; Italian Andrea Lucchesini with works by Scarlatti and Berio on November 18; and fellow Italian Filippo Gorini making his Canadian debut on February 17. Other highlights include Finnish-Dutch cellist Jonathan Roozeman on March 31, 2019, and the Zorá String Quartet opening the season on September 23. Find full details and subscriptions at vanrecital.com/. MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 51
ARTS “She understands and plays this magnificent music with astonishing clarity, purity, and maturity” — Sir András Schiff
Tickets start at
SCHAGHAJEGH NOSRATI piano GOLDBERG VARIATIONS
SUN MAR 18 at 3pm I VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE This German-Iranian pianist has earned a formidable reputation for her stellar Bach performances, impressing great musicians like Sir András Schiff and Robert Levin. Don’t miss her Canadian debut performing J.S. Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations.
TICKETS: 604 602 0363 I VANRECITAL.COM SEASON SPONSOR:
The Late Edwina & Paul Heller
The Board of Directors of the Vancouver Recital Society
Dance flows for White Wave > B Y JA NE T S M ITH
oung Soon Kim is often called a pioneer of the Korean Wave, known as Hallyu—her dance company is even called White Wave for that reason. But her impact on North American dance long predates “Gangnam Style”, K-pop, or any of the cultural forms that started flooding out of her Asian homeland in the 1990s. In fact, you could say her course was set from the womb. “Whenever I do interviews and people ask me ‘When did you start dancing?’ I usually say, ‘Since I was in my mother’s womb’—because my mother wanted to be a dancer but was unable to do so,” the superenergized choreographer and White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company artistic director tells the Straight from her New York City headquarters before heading here for the Vancouver International Dance Festival. Born in Gwangju, Korea, Kim began studying traditional Korean dance when she was six, later moving on to ballet. Kim never stopped, on a journey that would take her, almost inevitably, to America. Graduating from her studies in modern dance at Korea’s Ewha Womans University in 1974, she was invited to the Martha Graham School, in the U.S., in 1977. “When I was in Korea and I looked at what was happening in the contemporary dance scene, I didn’t see much of my hopes there,” she admits. “My mind and spirit was already in New York before I even got there. America was the motherland of contemporary dance and I longed to go to New York.” From that big move, Kim made her mark and developed her own voice—first as a vibrantly expressive dancer for the likes of Jennifer Muller and Pearl Lang, and then as a choreographer, launching her own White Wave in 1988. She’s been an unstoppable force, building 58 original works for White Wave, over its 30-year history, and making many trips back to Korea
White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company’s relationship study iyouuswe is just one of 58 works created over the New York City company’s 30 years.
and other parts of Asia to present shows and classes. “When I start choreographing and a theme is set, the first thing is I try to create a new dance vocabulary. I dance and dance and dance like a madwoman,” she says about her process. “I’m trying to build a new language. For me that is the joy: creating new dance movement. For me that is unlimited and then I start moving my body and it’s pouring out.” Her works have evolved in diverse, visually stunning, and intricately crafted ways, from her aerial, Korean-inspired “SSOOT” series to the more recent, years-long fourpart series called “Here NOW” that integrated multimedia video projections. The finely polished piece coming here is a bit of a departure: it’s a
collaborative work with her dancers that concentrates on intimate human relationships and pure movement. Made for nine performers and nine simple white chairs, it’s called iyouuswe—as in I, you, us, we. “What I wanted to convey with this piece was meaningful relationships as human beings,” she explains. “This society is very divided and this piece challenges how we relate to ourselves and each other—the struggle to find a sense of I as part of a we. I want the audience to examine themselves and society.” The Vancouver International Dance Festival presents iyouuswe at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre next Thursday through Saturday (March 15 to 17).
Putting Salome in a new light > B Y A LE X A ND ER VA R TY
verything you know about Salome, the biblical figure known for demanding John the Baptist’s head on a platter, is wrong. Unless, of course, you’re a spoken-word polymath with a gift for languages and a bent for research, in which case you’ve already figured that out. In which case, also, your name is probably Adeena Karasick, one of several creative partners in Salomé: Woman of Valor, a new spoken-word opera that gets its world premiere at the Chutzpah Festival next week. In Karasick’s libretto—which she’ll perform as part of a multimedia spectacle that also includes dance, projected imagery, and trumpet virtuoso Frank London’s evocative music—there are not one but three historical Salomes, none of them a murderous sexpot. “Frank always wanted to do something on the Dance of the Seven Veils, so we started researching the story of Salome, and in doing so we realized that the story has been mistold and misrepresented throughout history,” Karasick explains during a rehearsal break at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, where she’s adjunct associate professor of humanities and media studies. “And after a huge amount of research on my part, we’re retelling the story from a Jewish, feminist perspective.” What Karasick found was that the Salome of legend, whose supposedly serpentine charms have been hyped by playwright Oscar Wilde and filmmaker Charles Bryant, was part of a lineage of powerful women. Queens, power brokers, and advocates for legal and educational reform, their real achievements have been largely written out of history, until now. Karasick’s Salome, then, is a composite figure, much as her text is a fast-paced yet erudite commingling of history, philosophy, and at least three languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, and English. “I’m totally obsessed with ancient mystical texts,” the poet explains. “The text is imbued with all these cabalistic references from the Sefer Yetzirah, about how the world was created through language. There are also resonances of Midrashic philosophy, and there’s actually a section in there that repurposes some of the liturgy of Yom Kippur. So there’s all that stuff, but it’s counterbalanced by a huge element of pop culture.” Also complicating the narrative is that the Middle East, then as now, is a site of contention, with groups 52 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Trumpet virtuoso Frank London is just one of the artists showing legend’s Salome as the strong woman she was.
both indigenous and imported struggling for survival and/or dominance. That seems to play out in London’s trumpet, keyboard, and percussion score for Salomé: Woman of Valor, although the composer says that might be more a reflection of his musical interests than a concerted attempt to mirror Karasick’s skein of stories. “I wish I could be so smart to say that I intentionally focused on that intersectionality in my choice of musical references,” London says, once Karasick hands him her phone. “Alas, it’s not exactly so. But I think it will read that way. “People know me from klezmer, but really avantgarde jazz is my home turf, and also different Middle Eastern musics and Indian musics and Arabic musics are all things I’ve studied,” he continues. “So what I really tried to do with the music is that I’ve taken all these elements and created kind of a dreamy world that is a mix of intellectualism and popular culture. It’s abstract, but it’s got a narrative. It’s intellectual, and then it’s really a punch in the gut. It’s very literal, and then all of a sudden it’s nothing but an abstract dance piece. What we’re trying to do is to create a new world—one which goes with a new way of telling this old story.” The Chutzpah Festival presents Salomé: Woman of Valor at the Scotiabank Dance Centre from Thursday to Saturday (March 8 to 10).
The Lucas Brothers get philosophical laughs > B Y GUY M A C PHER SO N
omedians are modern-day philosophers. The best ones offer new and challenging ways to view the world. Or so I thought until I spoke with a couple of identical-twin stoner standups. “I don’t necessarily agree with that because I think philosophers and comedians serve two very, very different functions,” says Keith Lucas, the more nihilistic of the Lucas Brothers, according to brother Kenny. “I mean, if you look at the history of comedians and philosophers, they actually had a lot of tension. Plato hated Aristophanes and he wrote so many negative things about humour, both him and Aristotle.” “And there was a huge beef between Democritus, who they called the Laughing Philosopher, and Plato, who didn’t laugh much,” pipes in Kenny, who, like his brother, has a degree in philosophy. “It’s weird that comedy and philosophy are being grouped together now when they were like Crips and Bloods.” There you go: that ended on a laugh when you thought they were going to get too deep into philosophy-nerd talk. But in conversation, they can
Twin standup comics Keith and Kenny Lucas pepper their conversations with references to Plato and Aristotle, but they also make weed jokes.
get right down into the nitty-gritty. Suffice it to say there aren’t a lot of comedians dropping terms like Hegelian synthesis, epistemology, Plato’s cave, evidentialism, and utilitarianism, and comparing John Stuart Mill’s conception of liberty with Isaiah Berlin’s, in phone interviews. It’s more of a challenge for the brothers to work the references into their act, but it’s coming. “We’re trying to put more philosophy in there,” says Kenny. “Like, we’ll make utilitarian arguments for really absurd positions: Rupert Murdoch’s racism is bad, but from
a utilitarian standpoint, you can make an argument for why it’s okay. You do it that way. You take a popculture reference and you apply it to a philosophical concept so it’s kind of fun. Sometimes we underestimate the knowledge and the intellect and the abilities of the audience. I think sometimes we spoon-feed them easy jokes when I think that sometimes they want to be challenged.” Keith adds: “I know it may not seem this way because Trump’s president, but there’s a lot of general curiosity out there because there’s so much information, so I think minds are more
open than we think, especially audiences in a comedy club. So if you can write a well-written joke, it shouldn’t matter what the subject is. If the joke is well-written, people will laugh.” Even if they can’t always transform their favourite topic into palatable bits of material, they still employ it in the creation of the rest of their act. “That’s what I love about it the most, that we apply philosophy to how we approach standup,” says Kenny. “So it’s been kinda cool. We’re actually using our degree for something.” “I know!” says Keith, who with his brother created the animated series Lucas Bros. Moving Co. and starred in Netflix’s Lady Dynamite. “We might be the highest-paid philosophers.” But how does it work in practice? While many think of philosophy as mental meanderings, the Lucas Brothers put it to real use. “I mean, just in terms of how we understand logic,” says Keith. “Comedy is more or less a disruption of logic. In philosophy you’re trained in the disruption of logic. You can utilize it in that way. And also just abstract thinking. Jokes can come from anywhere, and if you’re trained at probing your mind, I think you have a better opportunity at probing your mind for jokes as well.”
“Other than that, we like to engage in the dialectic, so I’ll put forth a proposition and he’ll offer a counter to it,” continues Kenny. “Just in terms of developing jokes, I’ll say, ‘Maybe we should do it this way’ and he’ll say, ‘No, let’s try it that way.’ Then we usually synthesize. So that’s another way.” Their Netflix special, Lucas Brothers: On Drugs, clues you in to their other love. When they’re asked which is more important to them, there’s a pause before Kenny responds. “Uh… I would say philosophy’s way more important,” he says, leading the siblings into more dialectics. “Yeah, philosophy has been more important, but weed has certainly calmed me down,” says Keith. “I don’t think I would have been able to advance as a comedian if I didn’t smoke weed,” Kenny continues. “Yeah, but one could make the argument that you probably wouldn’t have advanced in comedy, either, if you didn’t study philosophy,” counters Keith. “That’s fair,” says Kenny. Philosophy in action. The Lucas Brothers play the Biltmore Cabaret Friday (March 9) as part of the JFL NorthWest comedy festival.
Tom Papa (left) delivered positive messages with his laughs; Beth Stelling had an amazing rapport with her audience.
JFL showcases diversity The festival featured a refreshing range of standup-comedy styles COM E D Y JFL NORTHWEST At various venues from Thursday to Saturday, March 1 to 3. Continues until March 10
Comedy is thriving, and the JFL NorthWest fest
2 reflects that fact. In small, independent rooms, es-
tablished comedy clubs, and theatres of all sizes, crowds came out in force for the event’s topnotch and diverse first few days of programming. The diversity was not just in the current sense of gender and cultural background. There was also a refreshing range of standup styles, from mainstream to alternative, clean to raunchy, short-form to long-form. It’s impossible to hit all the shows, but careful planning can allow you to get to a lot of them. I managed to get to eight shows in four nights, opting for comics I’d never seen do full sets before. There’s not enough space to mention them all, but three really stood out: a jokesmith, a storyteller, and a perfect combination of the two. Tom Papa is a traditional standup who’s been at it for years. He often plays theatres, as he did when he headlined the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour at the Orpheum on his last visit to town, back in 2007. This time, however, he was at the intimate Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. No matter the venue, he’s a killer, and he didn’t disappoint at the Friday late show. Despite his sometimes cranky take on diet and exercise, cruise ships, zip-lining, and breakfast in bed, his overall message to the masses was positive. Throughout his 63-minute set, he sprinkled in words of wisdom and encouragement: enjoy life, find a person to love and keep, we’re all the same, and a simple life is a good life. Hanging on to the mike stand for the duration, he
still commanded the attention of the room through his sure-fire and experienced delivery, whether doing his well-crafted material or kibitzing with the crowd. Houston’s Ali Siddiq ambled onto the stage at the Biltmore on Saturday, taking his sweet time to set up a chair next to the mike, before sitting his butt down and quietly announcing, “I really don’t tell jokes; I just sit here and talk.” He was wrong on both counts. Maybe he didn’t do conventional setup punch-line stuff, but there’s no denying his words were intended to get maximum laughs. And they did. He’s definitely in the storyteller vein, but even without the obvious jokes, he was hilarious. His easy delivery covered a range of topics, from race to dislike of sex with pregnant women to relationships, to learning to fight from his diminutive mom. And he ingratiated himself to the Canadians by taking shots at his own country. Beth Stelling’s set at the Biltmore on Thursday was fantastic. The Chicago product, now living in L.A., had amazing rapport with the sold-out audience without interacting with them. She was enjoying herself and, in turn, we were hanging on her every word. The trend in comedy is personal storytelling, and sometimes that can get a little self-indulgent, but Stelling incorporated solid joke-writing into her stories about her sex life and childhood. And a special shout-out to Chris Griffin, Jane Stanton, and Sophie Buddle, Vancouver comics who opened for the three. In fact, all the Vancouver comics I saw last week—Erica Sigurdson, Maddy Kelly, Katie-Ellen Humphries, Simon King, Ryan Williams, Graham Clark, Ivan Decker, Chris Gordon, Efthimios Nasiopoulos, and Gavin Matts—proved they easily belong on stages with better-known acts. > GUY M AC PHERSON
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 53
Vetta gives Stravinsky work a fun new twist > B Y A LE XAN DER VAR TY
hat’s got buskers, angels, and an excess of flimsy negligees? A new and wildly reworked version of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, being presented at three upcoming Vetta Chamber Music concerts. Those familiar with Stravinsky’s 1918 music-theatre masterpiece probably know that it exists in two very different versions: the hourlong original, for septet, three actors, and dancers, plus a wordless abridgment for clarinet, violin, and piano. It’s the second version that we’ll hear when François Houle, Joan Blackman, and Jane Hayes convene on-stage this week, but with a twist. Broadcaster and author Bill Richardson will also be onboard, bringing his charming presence and prairie-dry wit to their new take on this old story. “I’ve been bouncing around the idea of rearranging the full version, with narration, but for clarinet, violin, piano, and narrator,” Houle explains, reached during a break from rehearsing at Hayes’s White Rock home. “But short of doing that, which would be a monumental task, we’ve opted for playing the trio and integrating the L’Histoire narration into it. So we approached Bill with that idea because we thought he’d be the ideal guy to do it, and he said, ‘Well, I’ve got an idea: I’m going to write my own story to it.’ And we said, ‘Okay,’ kind of skeptically, and he came up with the zaniest story you could possibly imagine.” “Downtown Vancouver—that’s where it’s set,” Hayes elaborates. “And you have to know where Victoria’s Secret is.” Further revelations will have to wait until showtime—but we can tell you that Hayes and Houle’s Sea and Sky duo has now officially expanded to a trio, with Vetta artistic director
Blackman joining the pianist and the clarinetist on violin. “We’d been talking about expanding the group, just to tackle some different repertoire,” Houle explains. “Joan had invited us to do a concert with her as part of the Vetta series, and we enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided to pursue that.” The musicians won’t be the only ones enjoying themselves at the newly minted trio’s formal debut. Apart from Charles Ives’s dreamlike Largo for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, all of the works on the program include crowd-pleasing elements drawn from folk- or dance-music forms. “The first piece we’re going to play is [Patrick Cardy’s] Tango!” Hayes explains. “It’s the quintessential tango—and written by a Canadian composer, no less! We then go into the Ives, which just weaves absolute magic, as only Ives can. But then we get back to the dance theme, and the folk theme. We’ve got Stravinsky, with his own tangos and waltzes and ragtime and marches. And if you’ve heard Paul Schoenfield’s Trio you’ve already got a good taste of the klezmer style of the first movement, the diabolical march in the second, the lamentation of the third, and then that wild crazy wedding dance at the end, the ‘Kozatzke’.” Capping things off will be the world premiere of German-Canadian composer Michael Oesterle’s Jo’s Condo, inspired in part by the Japanese composer Jo Kondo. And in that, Houle promises, “all kinds of mad things will unfold. “We just finished doing a part that’s like Irish jigs done in the craziest manner, we’ve got lots of blues moments, and absolutely wild fiddle parts for Joan,” the clarinetist adds. “It’s a real treat.” Vetta Chamber Music presents Sea and Sky, with special guest Bill Richardson, at West Point Grey United Church on Thursday and Friday (March 8 and 9).
Gentle Velveteen Rabbit freshens up the classic T HEAT RE THE VELVETEEN RABBIT By Kevin Del Aguila. Based on the book by Margery Williams. Directed by Deb Williams. A Carousel Theatre production. At the Waterfront Theatre on Sunday, March 4. Continues until March 25
Confession: I read The Velvet-
2 een Rabbit for the first time
about an hour before seeing the show. Somehow, this children’s classic, written nearly a century ago, managed to elude me as both a child and a parent. Carousel Theatre’s stage interpretation delivers the story’s messages about love, acceptance, and change in a format that jazzes up the original work’s gentle style. Margery Williams’s book tells the story of a boy’s beloved stuffed rabbit, looked down on by both the fancier toys and real-life rabbits, who yearns to become real, even if he’s not entirely sure what that means. Kevin Del Aguila’s adaptation alternates between passages narrated in Williams’s somewhat old-fashioned language and dramatized scenes whose content is considerably more contemporary. The “mechanical” toys, for example, have sophisticated electronic features and lots of batteries; when they ask “Do you even have a button or a switch on you?” and the Velveteen Rabbit says no, they are incredulous: “You’re freakin’ me out, dude!” The live rabbits that our hero encounters have Brook-
54 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
lyn accents and make references to “feeling the boin” as they dance. But these trappings don’t take anything away from the story’s timeless message: everything grows and everything changes. Deb Williams directs an energetic cast of three, each of whom takes on multiple roles. Amanda Testini plays the boy with vigorous innocence, Steffanie Davis is a stern but sweet Nana, and Victor Mariano is a giddy, excitable Rabbit. The performers (with occasional onstage help from apprentice stage manager Jessica Keenan) draw the young audience directly into the action, getting it to help make the sounds of a rainstorm, for instance, or demonstrating dance moves. This impulse is sometimes taken too far, though: an introductory sequence, in which the three discuss the ingredients for a play, goes on too long and delays the start of the show. Yvan Morissette’s handsome set, with its revolving bedroom window and giant wooden blocks, creates the worlds both inside and outside the boy’s room in colourful, magical ways: raspberry bushes “grow” on a bed frame, for example. Darren Boquist’s lighting traces the passing seasons through simple visual gestures, and Malcolm Dow’s original music gently underscores the changes. The rabbit eventually becomes real by being loved. That’s a desire that every kid—and adult—can relate to. > KATHLEEN OLIVER
Shen Wei summons a surreal dreamscape D ANC E SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS A Vancouver International Dance Festival presentation. At the Vancouver Playhouse on Friday, March 2. No remaining performances
Shen Wei Dance Arts’ Folding
2 took you into such an engross-
ing dreamscape that, when the curtain fell and the houselights came up, you felt like you were waking up from some delirium. The Chinese-American artist fully tapped the unconscious, conjuring a surreal world where impossible things happened in front of your eyes. The dancers wore elongated headpieces that extended their noggins into a look that fell somewhere between Coneheads and Alien Nation. Bodies appeared to float across the stage in voluminous red silk skirts. Two torsos sprouted from a single black swath of fabric, one stretching outward as if her body was magically expanding across the stage. And in the final moments— whose trick was never revealed—a group of figures seemed to ascend out of sight in the darkness at the back of the stage. The trompe l’oeil caused gasps—a dramatic kickoff to the Vancouver International Dance Festival. Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dalí would have been proud of the hallucinations Shen created. But what gave the imagery extra resonance was Shen’s eastern spiritual touchstones. Unearthly Tibetan chanting and horns mixed with John Tavener’s haunting orchestral score; an ancient Chinese watercolour served as the grey-andred backdrop. All this, along with the robes and the meditative focus of the dancers, gave the proceedings the reverence of a strange spiritual ritual that transcended time and space. The choreography was powerful and sculptural, fitting in with the visual elements to create a total
Shen Wei’s Folding was an unforgettable experience at the Vancouver International Dance Festival. Stephanie Berger photo.
experience. Shen, who is also a visual artist, played with the idea of folding, asking his dancers to walk, seemingly entranced, across the stage with their necks bent oddly skyward; one of the two-headed creatures bent backward toward the audience to give us an eerie upside-down stare. Folding was an experience that overshadowed the company’s first, abstract piece on the program, The Rite of Spring. Set to Fazil Say’s frantic piano-four-hands rendition of Igor Stravinsky’s masterpiece, it played out in a frenzy of running, hopping, and turning on a grey-wash-painted grid that covered the floor. The piece was a pummelling feat for the dancers, but the American modernism felt a little underwhelming compared to the high-concept second piece. Consider The Rite of Spring a study in how diverse Shen’s work is—and an
POP UP DANCES PROJECT SOUL & RUPERT COMMON JULIE PETERS & OLIVIA C. DAVIES RABBIT RICHARDS & JENNIFER MCLEISH-LEWIS
FREE all-ages event Central Library 350 West Georgia Street
hors d’oeuvre before the unforgettable insectlike, and awkward. Two women feast for the senses that followed it. scissor their long legs around each > JANET SMITH other like flying bo staffs, while, in a different pas de deux, a woman hinges MM CONTEMPORARY her ankle around a man’s neck to pull DANCE him toward her. Beyond that, The Rite of Spring and Bolero push this corps to A Chutzpah Festival and Il Centro— its physical limits. The effect is someItalian Cultural Centre presentation. how elegant and raw at the same time. At the Norman and Annette Rothstein The opening Rite is pummelling. Theatre on Thursday, March 1. No Its first images are startling: to Igor remaining performances Stravinsky’s haunting bassoon introBeauty and ugliness meet strik- duction, the lights come on briefly ingly in the work of MM Con- to reveal a body being dragged, face temporary Dance Company, which is down, across the stage by a chain, as visiting the Chutzpah Festival from meat hooks sway overhead. Between Reggio Emilia in northern Italy. blackouts, more and more dancers apThe honed, classically trained pear around the figure—the women in troupe has impeccable technique, but short, corseted scarlet dresses, the men in this double bill, elongated limbs, bare-chested in red tights. arching backs, and arabesques are From here, the intensity doesn’t often used to create strange, unsettling let up, choreographer Enrico Morelli images—by turns primal, threatening, building a tableau of human conflict
and aggression. Struggles of all kinds unfold on-stage, often with one person being bullied by the whole group. Still, it’s a little hard to stomach the violence inflicted on women here, as they’re grabbed by the throat and thrown to the floor, though they do definitely push back. Morelli is trying to bare the brutality of our world, a sense heightened by Stravinsky’s bombastic score, culminating in a shocking image of what all our fighting will achieve. Bolero is a tighter, moodier work, better contained by the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre stage. Choreographed by MM artistic director Michele Merola himself, it’s a fluid play on Maurice Ravel’s pulsing, slowbuilding score—here updated with three seamless new musical bits interwoven by composer Stefano Corrias. The performance takes place in and around a pleated, accordionlike paper wall that appears to move magically around the stage, sometimes engulfing the dancers or opening briefly to reveal an undulating limb. Under chiaroscuro lighting, pas de deux flow into quartets and trios. Merola loves swivelling torsos, rethinking classical movement in similar ways to Morelli, flexing feet to make leg lifts look awkward and human, wrapping bodies around and through one another. The piece is abstract, but it gets at the cycles of love, of connection, parting, and struggle. The real joy of watching MM is its dancers, so fiercely committed to the punishing demands of endurance, strength, and technique here—especially in the heady climax of Bolero. MM has evolved out of neoclassical ballet, creating its own unexpected mix of the graceful and the harsh. The shows here were a rare taste of Italian dance that, like Rome’s Spellbound Contemporary Ballet at last year’s Chutzpah, was well worth a jaunt out to the Rothstein. > JANET SMITH
Presented by NEW WORKS in partnership with Vancouver Public Library
“Great bursts of laughter”
WORLD POETRY DAY
– Jeu Magazine
March 18 2018 1PM–2PM
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Meghan Gardiner Photo: David Cooper
CATHERINE LÉGER LEANNA BRODIE DIRECTED BY DIANE BROWN PRODUCED BY RUBY SLIPPERS THEATRE IN ASSOCIATION WITH GATEWAY THEATRE BY
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MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 55
Brent Wadden weaves new dialogue around art VISUAL AR TS BRENT WADDEN: TWO SCORES At the Contemporary Art Gallery until March 25
You don’t expect to find a big, handwoven rug displayed on the polished concrete floor of the Contemporary Art Gallery. Distinguished by its rigorously curated exhibition program, the CAG seems an unusual venue for something so seemingly homey and craftish. Still, as you navigate around Brent Wadden’s Score 2 (16 Afghans), with its long, multicoloured horizontal stripes—with its accompanying photographic prints, too— you begin to understand the conceptual provocations and strategies behind it. Wadden insists that the large abstract works he weaves on his floor loom are “paintings”. Through this insistence, he participates in the dialogue around painting’s place in postmodern art, disrupts hierarchical distinctions between high art and craft, and troubles our understanding of masculine and feminine histories and practices. Phew. Wadden was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, studied painting at
Brent Wadden’s Score 2 (16 Aghans) is not the kind of thing you expect to see at the Contemporary Art Gallery—until you look closer. Michael Love photo.
the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and then spent formative years in Berlin before returning to Canada and more or less settling in Vancouver. (He maintains a studio in Berlin.) Mostly self-taught, he began to weave in 2012, creating works that, while referencing hard-edge and systemic abstraction and figure-ground relationships, were purposefully naive
and laborious in their execution. He has already achieved an enviable degree of critical acclaim and has shown his woven paintings in leading commercial galleries in London, Paris, and New York. Two Scores, however, is his first solo show in a public gallery. As curator Kimberly Phillips explained while leading a recent tour of the exhibition, Wadden responded
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56 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
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to the scale and architecture of the CAG’s exhibition spaces while also working within other parameters that contribute to the process-based nature of his practice. He typically weaves with “pre-used” fibres, often unravelling knit and crocheted blankets and garments acquired online or in thrift shops and then incorporating the yarn into his weavings. The amount of yarn he possesses in any one colour may determine the design. For the CAG’s B.C. Binning Gallery, Wadden created Score 1 (Salt Spring), an immense weaving cued to the big north wall on which it is mounted, and five tall, narrow works, whose dimensions were determined by the spaces between the gallery’s high windows on the south wall. The wide horizontal bands of colour in the large work range from sombre greens, greys, and black to cadmium red and acid yellow, and were dictated by the yarns Wadden sourced, secondhand, from a weaver on Salt Spring Island. Ditto the vertical bands of colour in the smaller works on the opposite wall. The formal qualities here raise the ghosts of a number of high modernists, from Barnett Newman to Agnes Martin. They also call up decades of women artists who
have smudged the line between textiles and abstract painting, from Sonia Delaunay to our own Pauline Heslin. Score 2 (16 Afghans), the carpetlike weaving and accompanying photos in the smaller Alvin Balkind Gallery, documents its own process. The coloured yarns Wadden has woven with here were taken from, yes, 16 secondhand knit and crocheted afghans. Wadden took a colour photograph of each afghan before unravelling it and has mounted the prints on the walls of the gallery. The photos are so detailed and illusionistic that they possess an almost trompe l’oeil effect, as if you are looking at actual miniature textiles pressed under glass. With their inventive colours and patterns, these miniatures are far more visually beguiling than the big flat rug at centre stage. The power dynamic here, as Phillips pointed out, could be seen as problematic: a male artist appropriating domestic objects made by women—anonymous women, voiceless women—and presenting his monumental work to considerable acclaim in a high-art gallery. It’s a bit like middle-class marriage in the postwar era. It’s a lot like the art world right now. > ROBIN LAURENCE
VETTA CHAMBER MUSIC 2017 - 2018 32 Season
SEA & SKY
CD release concert with host JOAN BLACKMAN
Bill Richardson Featuring Bill Richardsonâ€™s version of Stravinskyâ€™s Soldierâ€™s Tale and Paul Schoenfeldâ€™s amazing Hassidic/klezmer inspired Trio
Jane Hayes piano | Joan Blackman violin FranÃ§ois Houle clarinet | Bill Richardson narrator
KIDD PIVOT & ELECTRIC COMPANY THEATRE BETROFFENHEIT
Thu Mar 8th at 2:00pm Fri Mar 9th at 7:30pm BILL RICHARDSON
West Point Grey United Church
ticketstonight.ca $20 - $30 For more information visit vettamusic.com
MARTHA LOU HENLEY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION season media sponsor
MARCH 14 â€“17, 8PM VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE Photo: Tim Matheson
March 14â€“24, 2018 ADVISORY: Mature content â€“ not suitable for children.
Presentation House Theatre 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver 604.990.3474 phtheatre.org
TICKETS & INFO: DANCEHOUSE.CA
MICHAEL SLOBODIAN, PHOTO
S E A S O N PA R T N E R S
SPEAKING OF DANCE CONVERSATIONS Creative Arts Therapies: Arts and Health Care Moderated by Peta Schur (Co-founder of the Expressive Arts Therapy training program, Langara) Co-presented with SFU Woodwardâ€™s Cultural Programs
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 â€¢ 7pm â€¢ FREE Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 57
ar ts/ timeout
THEATRE DANCE MUSIC COMEDY LITERARY EVENTS ET CETERA GALLERIES MUSEUMS
< < < < < < < <
the intersection of math, nature, and spirituality. Mar 14-24, 8-9:30 pm, Presentation House Theatre (333 Chesterfield Ave.). Tix $28/20/15/10, info www.realwheels.ca/.
THEATRE 2JUST ANNOUNCED THEATRE UNDER THE STARS Performances on alternating evenings of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and 42nd Street. Jul 4–Aug 18, 8-10:30 pm, Malkin Bowl (Stanley Park). Tix $50-$70, info www.tuts.ca/.
2OPENINGS SEQUENCE Realwheels Theatre presents a fast-paced science thriller that explores
FUN HOME The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a musical about a woman who struggles to understand her father while also dealing with her own coming out. Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. To Mar 10, Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston, Granville Island). Tix from $29, info www.artsclub. com/shows/2017-2018/fun-home/. THE STAR-SPANGLED GIRL The Group Van Theatre Company presents Neil Simon’s play set in 1960s San Francisco. To Mar 7, 8 pm, The Red Gate Revue Stage (1601 Johnston Street, Granville Island). Tix $15 ($10 kids under 12), info www.thegroupvantheatre.com/.
TEACHERS Open Hearts Theatre presents an original stage play by Barbara Ellison about five teachers, five problems, and one very small staff room. To Mar 10, 8 pm, Jericho Arts Centre (1675 Discovery). Tix $20, info www.facebook. com/events/140027196672773/. SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER Director Joan Bryans’s adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith’s self-described “laughing comedy” about a young bachelor who discovers that his love has the power to overcome his fear. To Mar 17, 8 pm, Metro Theatre (1370 SW Marine). Tix $25/22, info metrotheatre.com/. FORGET ABOUT TOMORROW The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Jill Daum’s play about a woman whose husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To Mar 25, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre (162 W. 1st). Tix from $29, info www.artsclub.com/shows/2017-2018/ forget-about-tomorrow/. A FEW GOOD MEN First Impressions Theatre presents a play that sees a lawyer and his team uncover a conspiracy at the highest level while defending their clients accused of murder. To Mar 17, 8 pm, Deep Cove Shaw Theatre (4360 Gallant Ave., North Van). Tix $25/23, info www.firstimpressionstheatre.com/. ’
ŠXW AM T (HOME) Theatre for Living presents a production that explores the
straight choices IN SEARCH OF HOME Reconciliation is in the news these days—but what does the word, and the action, really mean? That’s the basis of Theatre for Living’s šx w am´ t (home), which returns to town after a tour that followed its March 2017 opening. The interactive performance weaves together reallife stories of Indigenous experiences and asks the audience, in Theatre for Living’s signature approach, to step in and offer solutions to the scenarios on-stage. The result is connection and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous audience members—a small but powerful act of reconciliation in itself. The show, directed by David Diamond with associate director Renae Morriseau, is at the Firehall Arts Centre until Saturday (March 10). many meanings of reconciliation. Created and performed by an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cast. To Mar 10, Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova). Info www.theatreforliving.com/.
7:30-9 pm, Studio 16 (1555 W. 7th). Tix $13-20, info www.eternaltheatre.com/.
THE VELVETEEN RABBIT Carousel Theatre for Young People presents the tale of a toy rabbit transformed by one little boy’s love. To Mar 25, Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island). Tix $35/29/18 , info www.carouseltheatre.ca/ production/the-velveteen-rabbit/.
SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN The Eternal Theatre Collective presents a play that sees a group of high-school students gather to meet a girl’s mysterious boyfriend. Mar 7-10,
DANCE VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL DANCE FESTIVAL Take in performances by Shen Wei Dance Arts, EDAM, White Wave, Lucie Grégoire Danse, Lola Lince, Dancers Dancing, Goh Ballet, Ferenc Feher, the Biting School, Harbour Dance ITP, Patasola Dance, and the Response. To Mar 24, various Vancouver venues. Tix from free to $65, info www.vidf.ca/.
see page 60
by Arthur Miller Directed by MFA Directing Candidate Jessica Anne Nelson
March 15 — 31, 2018 Frederic Wood Theatre Tickets: theatrefilm.ubc.ca
DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER
A NEW MUSICAL PARODY OF C CHILD H L BEAUTY B AU U Y PAGEANTS G ANT
MARCH 16 16-31, 31 2018 PERFORMANCE WORKS
Stay Connected @GeorgiaStraight 58 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
MOVIES REVIEWS BEFORE WE VANISH Starring Mahiro Takasugi. In Japanese, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable
Three off-world visitors possess the bod-
2 ies of people and begin the groundwork
for planetary invasion. So goes the premise for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s lively sci-fi flick, adapted from a stage play by Tomohiro Maekawa, and emerging, in some ways, as a distant and much less portentous cousin to 2016’s Arrival. Language was the space-time reality-bridging puzzle for that film’s heptapods. Here, the invader is bent on snatching human “conceptions” in its hunger to internalize our world, which means tapping the foreheads of mesmerized victims while remarking “I’ll take that,” a telepathic transfer of comprehension that leaves the mark instantly bereft of whatever it is they were just thinking about. If that cerebral business sounds a bit like Michel Foucault’s War of the Worlds, Kurosawa’s film is staged largely as action-comedy. Of the two younger aliens, Amano (Mahiro Takasugi) comes off as an insolent teen inhabiting one of the farther outposts of the generation gap, while Akira (Yuri Tsunematsu)—first seen carving up her human host’s mom—is more your super deadly Japanese schoolgirl type. She gets a couple of awesomely staged fight sequences as security forces close in on the pair. Meanwhile, Narumi (Masami Nagasawa) comes home one day to a husband, Shinji (Ryuhei
Aliens inside our heads
Shinji (Ryuhei Matsuda) and his wife, Narumi (Masami Nagasawa), deal with invisible off-planet invaders in director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish.
one time and place. A fourth narrative feature for Vancouver’s Mina Shum, this brings back cast members who enlivened her ChineseJapanese sci-fi flick Before We Vanish turns a cerebral familial efforts of roughly two decades ago, Double premise into a lively blast of satirical action comedy. Happiness and Long Life, HappiMatsuda), suddenly infantilized by his newly ar- ness and Prosperity. Among them is Sandra Oh, rived nonterrestrial resident. She becomes his whose pre–Grey’s Anatomy career was launched reluctant “guide”, while Amano and Akira con- by those happy-minded efforts. But she takes a script the initially skeptical journalist Sakurai back seat to veterans Tzi Ma and Cheng Pei-pei as (Hiroki Hasegawa) to help them find their com- her character’s parents, Bing and Maria. These old-timers, both around 70, are doing patriot and get on with the invasion. With such loaded “conceptions” on the menu okay in their East Side Vancouver home, seemingas “family”, “freedom”, “possessions”, and, most ly furnished a half-century ago. Their gender roles chillingly, “love”, you can probably guess where are similarly antiquated, with Bing heading off to the film is going with all of this and who poses the work and Maria staying home with no money, no real threat to humanity, not to mention how much car, and barely serviceable English. Dude’s been irony drips from Yusuke Hayashi’s Cold War/sci- putting in overtime lately, too, although his wife fi–era score. An epilogue makes it all too pat, but wonders where when she finds a pair of red panties getting there is sure fun, between one character’s in his pants pocket. A classic! How does Maria solve a problem like this? epic showdown with a drone and some of the more casual zingers spread out across the film’s two- Pretty much the way she handles everything something hours. When he finds Sakurai priori- else, by bottling it up inside. That’s how she tizing his journalistic scoop over any interest in has dealt with her husband disowning their saving his own species, a sardonic Amano gets the only son, unseen here, because of a perceived best throwaway line in the film. “Humans are awe- slight. Eventually, she begins to play amateur sleuth, and to explore herself, giving Shum and some,” he marvels. And not in a reassuring way. > ADRIAN MACK cinematographer Peter Wunstorf the chance to explore byways of Chinatown and Vancouver’s MEDITATION PARK Renfrew–PNE area. (The movie is named after a tiny slice of green there.) Starring Cheng Pei-pei. In English, Cantonese, and That amusement centre, also unseen, is the Mandarin, with English subtitles. Rated G reason locals can meditate on selling spare parkHow many times have you walked past an ing spaces, thus bringing Maria in contact with old lady with a shopping bag and thought, “I three dotty local gals and Don McKellar as an wonder what her story is.” initially greedy neighbour. Much like a musical The charm of Meditation Park is that it answers score that’s all over the place, these subplots this universal question in a manner specific to add both comic and tragic touches that conflict
WEEK IN WIDESCREEN
2 Bergman100 WILD STRAWBERRIES The film that made an international
phenomenon of Ingmar Bergman in 1957 gets things rolling at the Cinematheque’s celebration of the filmmaker’s centenary year, coupled with Smiles of a Summer Night on Thursday (March 8). The 12-title retrospective continues into early April. -
> KEN EISNER
MOUNTAIN A documentary by Jennifer Peedom. Rating unavailable
Classical music and the planet’s craggy
2 peaks have a lot in common; at their most
potent, their abstract grandeur has an effect on us that is both uplifting and deeply humbling. It’s an effect that Mountain tries hard to capture, and sometimes does, with its ever-shuffling playlist of timeless music and globe-hopping images. Directed by Australian docmaker Jennifer Peedom, and written by her with naturalist Robert Macfarlane, the compact, 70-minute film is narrated by Willem Dafoe, perhaps too soothingly—especially when he’s handed such in-your-cliff-face lines as “The mountains we climb are not made only of rock and ice, but also of dreams and desire.” One could add “death wish” to that alliteration, and we do view some disasters that happen to humans who spend too much time with their heads in the clouds. From avalanches to lava flows, the forces on view here can be terrifying, although most adhere to “the call of the sublime”, as Dafoe intones. Some images can be both, like in a high-wire walk between hoodoos see page 61
with the more thoughtful tone of the main story, lovingly enacted by Hong Konger Ma (the Chinese general in Arrival) and Shanghai-born Cheng (a villain in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), both based in the U.S. now. Similarly, Oh and screen husband Zak Santiago are handed marital problems out of nowhere, and that’s where they should have stayed. The movie only finds real, if tentative, happiness when it sticks with the timeworn woman and her empty bag.
What to see and where to see it
Just for kicks
COMEDIAN BACKSTAGE Former
Vancouverite Kliph Nesteroff hosts a free screening of this supremely rare 1963 doc about comedy legend Shelley Berman, coming to the Annex on Thursday (March 8).
SUBURBIA A set by musician Jeff Andrew
precedes Penelope Spheeris’s 1983 L.A. punk classic, arriving at the Vancity Theatre on Monday (March 12) courtesy of the Straight’s own Allan MacInnis.
ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE A panel dis-
cussion follows the screening of Deepa Mehta’s 2016 film at the Vancity Theatre on Thursday (March 8), as part of the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.
FLOWER Director Max Winkler will be in attendance for this sneak preview of his outrageous comedy-drama, which stars Zoey Deutch as a teen with a solid business in sexual blackmail. Flower screens as part of the Vancouver Just For Laughs Film Festival at the Annex, on Friday (March 9). MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 59
Arts time out
from page 58
JFL NORTHWEST The third annual comedy festival features performances by an array of the world’s top comics. To Mar 10, various Vancouver venues. Info www.jflnorthwest.com/.
UBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Under the baton of maestro Jonathan Girard, the UBC Symphony Orchestra performs works by Nielsen, Prokofiev, and Bernstein. Mar 9, 8-10 pm, Chan Shun Concert Hall (6265 Crescent Rd., Chan Centre at UBC). Tix $8, info music.ubc.ca/.
ANDY KINDLER Comedian performs three nights of alternative comedy. Mar 8, 9, 10, Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club (2837 Cambie). Tix $20, info yukyuks.com/ vancouver/.
ELIZABETH MAY Leader of the Green Party of Canada reads from her book Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and and Canada, Mar 13, 1-3 pm, UBC Old Auditorium (6344 Memorial Rd.). Free, info goo.gl/imbKtu/.
MUSIC 2THIS WEEK
NIKKI GLASER American comedian and TV host performs three nights of standup. Mar 8, 9, 10, Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club (2837 Cambie). Tix $30, info yukyuks.com/ vancouver/.
MOODS AND MODES: EMOTION IN MUSIC The Vancouver Chamber Choir explores emotion in music through pieces by Bennet, Antognini, two Bachs, Dvorák, Beckwith, Berring, Alfven, Bernstein, Dowland, Josquin, and Brazinskas. Mar 9, 8-10 pm, Dunbar Ryerson United Church (2205 W. 45th). Tix $29-33 at www.ticketmaster.ca/.
on the web!
For up-to-the-minute, searchable Arts listings on your phone, visit
THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT Unconventional dramatic recital combines texts by William Shakespeare with the contemporary music of Hans Werner Henze and the historical music of John Dowland, Thomas Campion, and Robert Johnson. Mar 10, 7-9 pm, Pyatt Hall (843 Seymour). Tix $25, info www.vancouverguitar.org/tickets/ 2017/6/21/the-winter-of-our-discontent/. ADRIAN ANANTAWAN Music in the Morning presents the Canadian violinist. Mar 14-15, 10:30-11:30 am, Vancouver Academy of Music. Tix $38/35/17, info www.musicinthemorning.org/. ENRICO ELISI Pianist performs an eclectic program featuring pieces by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Park, Pick-Mangiagalli, Respighi, and Liszt. Mar 14, 12-1 pm, Roy Barnett Recital Hall (6361 Memorial Rd., UBC). $5 at the door, info www.music.ubc. ca/wednesday-noon-hours/.
COMEDY 2ONGOING THE COMEDY MIX 1015 Burrard, Century Plaza Hotel & Spa, www.thecomedy mix.com/. Pro-am night Tue at 8:30 pm, showcase Wed at 8:30 pm, and featured headliners Thu at 8:30 pm and Fri-Sat at 8 and 10:30 pm. Cover $8 Tue, $10 Wed, $15 Thu, $18 Fri, $20 Sat. 2BRENT MORIN Mar 9-10 2MIKE VECCHIONE Mar 15-17 2GRAHAM CLARK Mar 22-24
B E S T A D A P T E D S C R E E N P L AY · J A M E S I VO R Y ARMIE HAMMER
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Carmelahhh presents a comedy show celebrating the duo’s performances of the past year. Mar 9, 9-11 pm, Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright, Granville Island). Tix $10-15, info www.face book.com/carmelahhhduo/.
2THIS WEEK 18TH ANNUAL CHUTZPAH FESTIVAL International, Canadian, and local artists present dance, theatre, comedy, and music. To Mar 15, Norman Rothstein Theatre (950 W. 41st). Tix $24-55, info www.chutzpahfestival.com/. NORTH SHORE ART CRAWL 2018 North Vancouver artists, local community galleries, commercial galleries, and art schools open their doors to the public. Mar 10-11, Cityscape Community Art Space (335 Lonsdale Ave., North Van). Free, info nvartscouncil.ca/nsac/.
VANCOUVER ART GALLERY 750 Hornby, 604-662-4719, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/. SATURDAY NIGHT IMPROV! Improv 2TAKASHI MURAKAMI: THE OCTOPUS comedy by the Radical, featuring Gregory EATS ITS OWN LEG (more than 55 paintMilne, Amanda Jane Porter, Taizo Ellis, Karla ings and sculptures are featured in the firstMonterrosa, Tyler Soon, and Alex Gullason. ever retrospective of Murakami’s work in Mar 10, 7:30-9 pm, Anne MacDonald Studio Canada) to May 6 2BOMBHEAD (themat(333 Chesterfield Ave., North Van). Tix $10-12, ic exhibition explores the emergence and info www.facebook.com/theradicalvan/. impact of the nuclear age as represented by artists and their art) to Jun 17 ANTHONY KAVANAGH Rendez-vous de la Francophonie and the Canadian MUSEUMS Cross-Cultural Dialogue present francophone comedian. Mar 10, 8 pm, York Theatre (639 Commercial). Tix from $35, THE MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT info www.lecentreculturel.com/. UBC 6393 NW Marine Drive, 604-822-5087, www.moa.ubc.ca/. 2THE FABRIC OF OUR 2UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS LAND: SALISH WEAVING (exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the past 200 SHAMROCKS & SHENANIGANS years of Salish wool weaving) to Apr 15 Vancouver TheatreSports presents 2CULTURE AT THE CENTRE (collaboration three Irish-themed improv shows. Mar between six First Nations communities 17, The Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau, offers insight into the work Indigenous-run Granville Island). Tix from $19.75, info cultural centres and museums in B.C. are www.vtsl.com/show/st-paddy/. doing to support their language, culture, and history) Mar 18–Oct 8
YUK YUK’S COMEDY CLUB 2837 Cambie, 604-696-9857, www.yukyuks.com/ vancouver/. Comedy club with Top Talent Tue at 8 pm, amateur night Wed at 8 pm, and professional headliners Thu-Fri at 8 pm and Sat at 7 and 9:30 pm. Cover Tue $10, Wed $7, Thu $10, and Fri-Sat $20.
ACA DEMY AWA R D WINNER!
STEPHEN HUI An evening with Stephen Hui, author of the new guidebook 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, a comprehensive guide for trekking in all seasons. Jun 4, 7-8:30 pm, Parkgate Branch Library (3675 Banff Court). Free, info 105hikes.com/.
TIME OUT ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. We can’t guarantee inclusion, and we give priority to events taking place within one week of publication. Submit listings 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.
From the acclaimed director of DOUBLE HAPPINESS
“A powerful emotional force.”
“A love letter to Asian moms everywhere.” CBC
A FILM BY
MICHAEL STUHLBARG AMIRA CASAR ESTHER GARREL ANDRÉ ACIMAN SCREENPLAY BY JAMES IVORY DIRECTED BY LUCA GUADAGNINO
BASED ON THE NOVEL BY
SEXUALLY SUGGESTIVE SCENES, SEXUAL CONTENT
The Academy, as the copyright owner of the Academy’s “Oscar” statuette, and owner of its trademarks and service marks, including “OSCAR®,” “OSCARS®,” “ACADEMY AWARD®,” “ACADEMY AWARDS®,” “OSCAR NIGHT®,” “A.M.P.A.S.®” and the federally registered “Oscar” design mark, is required to protectits properties against unauthorized uses and infringements.
EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT NOW PLAYING
88 WEST PENDER • 604-806-0799
Check theatre directories for showtimes
ACA DEMY AWA R D WINNER! BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Cheng Pei Pei Tzi Ma
with Don McKellar and Sandra Oh
OPENING NIGHT GALA
Written and Directed by Mina Shum
“THE MOVIE IS A KNOCKOUT. EXTRAORDINARY. DANIELA VEGA IS REMARKABLE.” -David Rooney, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“ONE OF THE BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR.” - Rebecca Pahle, FILM JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL
A FILM BY SEBASTIÁN LELIO
A FANTASTIC WOMAN NUDITY, COARSE LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE
EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT NOW PLAYING 60 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
88 WEST PENDER • 604-806-0799
Check theatre directories for showtimes
Meet Writer/Director Mina Shum for a special Q&A following the 7:25pm show on Friday and Saturday only! EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT
FIFTH AVENUE 2110 Burrard St. • 604-734-7469
Check theatre directories for showtimes
from page 59
in the Utah desert. Cinematographer Renan Ozturk, who also shot the intense Meru, employs drones, airplanes, helicopters, and more to scour those hard-to-reach places, from Antarctica to Iceland. We visit not just mountains, but rich ecosystems of Sherpas, Tibetan monks, high-altitude birds and mammals, and humans seeking increasingly precarious purchase on heaven. The narration is doubly onthe-nose for archival footage taking us back to the colonization, and commercialization, of nature in the past 150 years, during which places and people â€œentered the realm of the known, and the ownedâ€?. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with the Willem Dafoeâ€™s flowery narration is okay, but the image is everything in writerly through-line here; thereâ€™s filmmaker Jennifer Peedomâ€™s gorgeously shot documentary, Mountain. just too much of it. Same goes for discernible reason, most character the relentless supply of masterly look something like Birdland. The â€œstoryâ€? involves cops who names have something to do with the work by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with resemble models and a mystery avian world. Then thereâ€™s Tom Kale, sparer stuff by modern minimalists twist no one will care about. For no â€œa mild-mannered ornithologistâ€?, as like Arvo PĂ¤rt and film composer Richard Tognetti, here leading the Australian Chamber Orchestra. You can pretty much figure that youâ€™ll get some â€œIn the Hall of the Mountain Kingâ€? and The Four Seasons, for sure. But do we really need four hits of Vivaldi? The movie never shuts up, and sometimes you just want to look Discover American classics at the view. from sea to shining sea
heâ€™s described after being arrested for murdering two people. Heâ€™s played by David Alpay, whose deadeyed acting personally scuttled Atom Egoyanâ€™s epic Ararat. But, as they almost say, a sinking tide lowers all boats, and every performer is worse than the others at some point. The chief offender, only because we spend the whole 90 minutes with her, is Kathleen Munroe, as Det. Sheila Hood, the Hope Hicks of Torontoâ€™s elite homicide squad. That eggheaded scientist is her husband, suspected of snuffing out his rich mistress (Melanie Scrofano) and her pimpy protector, called Starling (Joris Jarsky). â€œWhen it comes to murder, everyoneâ€™s a suspect,â€? Sheila spits out, when first questioned. Like, even Jane Goodall and Desmond Tutu? Her repartee is with the investigating officer (Benjamin Ayres), who gets to yell lines like â€œTom uses Hazel, Merleâ€™s sister, for his blue-kimono fetish!â€? Oh, now I get it. The cops donâ€™t meet where they work but instead rendezvous in a
darkened warehouse with a single bare bulb overhead. Adam Swicaâ€™s wide-screen cinematography is the best thing here, but all the setups are repeated so often in the absurdly scattershot editing, supported by cheesy synthesizer music, that everything looks even cheaper. Along the way, there are 50 shades of aborted subplots involving silk ropes, bird skeletons, crossbows, sub-Egoyan surveillance, and (guess what) cigarette smoke. Sorry, no nudity. The actors are native speakers but seem to be using phonetic English. â€œTo be berfectly honest, grime bores me,â€? someone slurs during a nightclub scene featuring a version of â€œLullaby of Birdlandâ€? that would make Fergie hold her nose. This bushtit-brained effort is a first move into narrative filmmaking by veteran doc director Peter Lynch, of Project Grizzly fame. Seriously, dude: just donâ€™t. Seeing someoneâ€™s recognizable name on it means nobody can honestly say â€œHey, not bad for aliens!â€? > KEN EISNER
> KEN EISNER
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If alien creatures came to Earth, watched a lot of cable-TV mysteries, soft-core porn, and choice episodes of Twin Peaks, then attempted to craft a movie themselves, it might
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1 855 7 YOU FLY MARCH 10
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Conditions apply. For full terms and conditions please speak with a Flight Centre travel consultant or visit flightcentre.ca/usa. BC REG: CPBC #2790, TICO #4671384, OPC #702971
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March 6 â€“ 11, 2018 At VIFFâ€™s Vancity Theatre
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After returning to his hometown as a lawyer assisting in a high-profile local case, Wesley seeks redemption amidst a resurgence of old drama. Saturday, March 10, 9:00pm
Details at womeninfilm.ca #viwiff 56 films from around the world + panels, parties and more
Prodigals Local Filmmaker (Canada)
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Bea moves with her family to rural northern Ontario, befriending rambunctious Kate. The two girls face the adversity of growing up together, and with spunk. Followed by a Summer Camp Reception. Saturday, March 10, 6:00pm
CALL ME BY YOUR NAMESP
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Russiaâ€™s required military conscription is sharply questioned by four young men, as they make their case as conscientious objectors. Screens in the Resistance program. Saturday, March 10, 12:00pm Porcupine Lake (Canada)
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BIRDLAND Starring Kathleen Munroe. Rated 14A
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THE NAKED AND FAMOUS:LWKJXHVWZander Hawley SPSOLD OUT
Strangers: Prey at Night was â€œbased on true eventsâ€?. It kinda makes you wonder if anyone was ever actually stalked by an axe-wielding psycho at a trailerpark swimming pool while Bonnie Tylerâ€™s â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heartâ€? blasted over the outdoor PA. In this sequel to 2008â€™s The Strangersâ€”which saw Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman menaced by masked marauders at an isolated vacation homeâ€”the victims-to-be are a typical American family heading out to visit relatives at a secluded mobilehome park. Devoted parents Cindy and Mike (Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson) are accompanied by squabbling kids Kinsey and Luke (Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman, Billâ€™s son). Kinseyâ€™s in a particularly foul mood because sheâ€™s being sent to boarding school, and we can tell sheâ€™s trouble because of the Ramones T-shirt. After 30 minutes or so of boring family drama, something actually happens. Wandering around the abandoned trailer parkâ€”people only want to holiday like white trash during peak season, apparentlyâ€”the kids spy a home with its front door wideopen. Brazenly entering in the hopes of raiding the liquor stash, they hear a dog banging around in the bedroom and make a gruesome discovery. The rest of the film sees the family desperately struggling to survive against a trio of taunting, merciless assailants armed with knives and axes and wearing the exact same masks from the original. The moral of the story is not to take your loved ones for granted, I guess. Love them as much as you can before they get pinned inside a pickup by a chunk of wood in their gut and left at the mercy of an icepick-wielding sicko with a sack over his head. While the end credits rolled at the press screening I attended, a fellow reviewer said that he thought Prey at Night was better than the other new revenge-driven flick about masked killers heâ€™d just seen, so I wouldnâ€™t rush out and see Death Wish either, if I were you.
Starring Christina Hendricks. Rated 14A
THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT
1660 EAST BROADWAY @ COMMERCIAL
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MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 61
Superstar Cheng meditates on Park > B Y A DRIA N M A C K
t the Vancity Theatre just two weeks ago, a young swordbrandishing Cheng Pei-pei could be seen flying through the air in the 1966 martial-arts classic Come Drink With Me. Only a few months prior to that, the legendary Chinese actor—now a serene and still beautiful 71 years of age—was sitting in a room at the Sutton Place Hotel, talking to the Straight about the previous night’s triumphant gala premiere of local director Mina Shum’s Meditation Park at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Cheng later admits: “After my 70th birthday, I fell down at least 10 times, so my body at least physically cannot move very well. So I have [daughter] Jennifer help me do all the riding, running, and swimming parts.” Laughing again, she adds: “Now the older Chinatown people know that I don’t know how to ride a bike.” A little more poignantly, Cheng reveals that Shum’s script jogged memories of her time raising children in Los Angeles, when this major star all but disappeared from the screen for almost two decades. “I was just a housewife,” she says. “I didn’t do anything of my own. I helped my husband. I worked for other people, lived for other people. It’s not me anymore. But I’m still very happy.” Putting such tact aside, she also mentions things “you never want to remember. You put it in the past. With this, I start to more remember the details, like I need to ask my exhusband for everything. I never go to see my parents for first seven years because I married my husband. He didn’t even want me to make a phone call. It come back to memory.” On a happier note, Meditation Park also gave Cheng the chance to
Comedian-magician Amazing Johnathan survived massive drug use and a killer heart condition to make Always Amazing. Cheng Pei-pei and Sandra Oh in the Vancouver-set Meditation Park.
discover some of Vancouver’s older and more enchanted neighbourhoods. The film is a love letter to Chinatown and Hastings-Sunrise, captured before they meet the inevitable bulldozer and marketing teams, the bag and parking ladies clustered near the PNE (po-pos) now enshrined on film forever. Shum has devoted much of her career to describing the Chinese-Canadian immigrant experience. What would Cheng say about the charges of racism injected into dialogue about the city’s staggering housing bubble? “I feel Vancouver is more like my home,” she answers. “Like Hong Kong, like Los Angeles. To me, I can’t see the difference between cities that have so many immigrants. I think it’s maybe not a good thing, especially for the Chinese, to make the real estate that high. But to me, as a human, I love to see the universal. I think Vancouver is one of the cities that is very fair to all the races.” Writer-director Mina Shum will attend a Q & A following the early-evening screenings of Meditation Park at the Cineplex Fifth Avenue on Friday and Saturday (March 9 and 10).
Amazing John just says yes crack with some bum I didn’t know. These are the stories that make you”—Szeles pauses to chuckle—“endearing.” He could be right (I think so), but the more obvious source of charm captured in Always Amazing is the comedian’s relationship with Joel Ozborn, an Australian fan who made such a nuisance of himself that Szeles hired him as his road manager. It’s clear that the school-aged Ozborn was looking for a father figure. What was Szeles looking for? “A little 14-year-old boy,” he answers, mockingly lascivious. “No, when somebody looks up to you like that, you’re flattered by it. And he just happened to really have his shit together more than I did, so he took care of my business. He didn’t care about money. He wanted to learn. And he learned quick.” Now a successful comic, Ozborn reunites with his mentor in Always Amazing as Szeles prepares for a final tour after a shocking heart-ailment diagnosis leaves him with little more than a year to live. That was almost four years ago, and—hey, presto!—the Amazing Johnathan is still here. It’s nice that he stuck around to see the film, especially since his publisher bailed on the autobiography. “They wanted me to lose everything and then stop doing drugs and get everything back—but that’s not the way it happened,” he protests. “The formula I had was: I had nothing, I started doing drugs, I got everything, and I kept everything even though I still did drugs. You know?” -
> B Y A D R IA N M A C K
ohn Szeles is one of nature’s true agents of chaos—but “with a heart”. As the Amazing Johnathan, Szeles spent almost four decades freaking audiences out with a stage show that combined jet-black humour with grossout magic gags, carried on gale-force winds of natural energy and his prodigiously fast imagination. As Las Vegas audiences discovered in 2001, when the Amazing Johnathan began his 13-year run as a headliner on the Strip, there’s no one out there like him. In fact, Penn Jillette and David Copperfield gush about Szeles’s singular talents in the new documentary Always Amazing. And then they hand-wring over his history of enthusiastic drug use. “They’re real staunch advocates against it,” offers Szeles, who traces the origins of the Amazing Johnathan to a teenage acid trip. “So to say that I would have been funnier without? That’s coming from a couple of nonusers. They have no right to talk because they haven’t tried it.” The performer adds that he’s nevertheless grateful for their participation in the film (“I’m lucky and they can say whatever they want,” he says with a chortle), which is directed by another admirer, standup comic Steve Byrne. But Szeles still relishes the topic, regaling the Straight during a call from his home in Sin City with unpublishable tales involving Robin Williams and members of Monty Python. “You end up in situations that are priceless,” he says, Always Amazing closes the Vancouver Just For Laughs wistfully. “I would stay up for days and days and days, and Film Festival at the Rio Theatre on Saturday (March 10), I’d find myself in a burnt-out car in San Francisco smoking with Steve Byrne and Joel Ozborn in attendance.
Maillardville’s Music Festival e ÉD
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62 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Throughout his career as a musician, BY JOHN LUCAS
Jason Corbett has moved through a number of genres, sometimes following one project with another in a radically different style. Corbett first came to prominence on the Vancouver music scene in the late ’90s as a member of the Saddlesores, whose somewhat tongue-in-cheek take on cowpunk and rockabilly was funnelled into tracks like “Redneck Punk” and “Garbage Truck of Love”. Sitting down with the Straight at West Broadway’s tiny Dose Espresso Bar, Corbett recalls that an abrupt genre swap left some soon-to-be-exfans confused. “After I left the Saddlesores and I started Speed to Kill, we played a show at Liquid Lounge in Edmonton, I think,” he says. “And it was billed as ‘the new band from the singer of the Saddlesores’, so all these rockabilly guys showed up. And they were fuckin’ pissed. One guy picked up a chair and threw it across the room and then stormed out. Because I was on-stage in a silky shirt and a tie, and it was rock. It had nothing to do with rockabilly or psychobilly or anything like that. They were just disappointed, and they had probably spent 10 bucks to get in, so I can relate. Change is hard.” These days, Corbett has fully embraced his darkwave side as the frontman for ACTORS, a band that dwells on the black-nail-polish side of new wave, all throbbing synths and lost-in-aforest guitar lines. He lists Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Gary Numan as formative influences, but Corbett admits that his sonic shift to the aptly theatrical sound of ACTORS
Embracing his darkwave side Jason is the
Left to right: Adam Fink, Shannon Hemmett, Jason Corbett, and Jahmeel Russell are ACTORS, but not one of them is actually an actor. Kira Clavell photo.
DJ stuff, and she went been like, ‘I’m going all in with this.’ ” from owning a couple of Corbett says the new-wave-inspired ACTORS records to having a whole ACTORS plays an album-release show at the ton of really cool rec- Rickshaw Theatre on Saturday (March 10). music he’d be making even if no one listened ords. I thought, ‘Okay, wasn’t a smooth one. It was, however, a neces- she puts her focus where her mouth is, too.’ And Jason Corbett of ACTORS sary one. This, he suggests, is the music he has that’s rare. You know, there’s a lot of people who sounds off on the things that always wanted to make. are like, ‘I wanna do this and I wanna do that,’ enquiring minds want to know. Corbett has been joined on his journey to the and you have to drag them along, but she was dark side by a couple of veteran players: bass- just awesome. As soon as I said ‘Hey, come play On his first love: “Metal ist Jahmeel Russell, who currently plays in Red keyboards with us,’ she was at Long & McQuade was my first real passion, Vienna and who has a CV that includes stints buying a Prophet Rev2 and a new Fender Destarting with Sabbath and Zeppelin, then Metalwith the Black Halos and KEN Mode; and luxe amp. She’s the real deal.” lica and Slayer, and then, like, Napalm Death drummer Adam Fink, who brings the beat to This week sees the release of ACTORS’ debut and Obituary. The bands I was playing with Gang Signs and Girlfriends and Boyfriends, full-length album, It Will Come to You, by the started out like that, and then I took a complete among others. Toronto-based label Artoffact Records. Later left turn and we started the Saddlesores.” Also along for the ride is someone with con- this month, the band will head across the borsiderably less experience. Keyboardist Shannon der for a West Coast U.S. tour. That will be folOn a royal encounter: “We used to cover an Hemmett was previously better-known around lowed by dates in France, Sweden, Denmark, Elvis song, I can’t remember which one it was. town as a talented graphic designer and photograph- Germany, and the U.K. We were playing in Hollywood and Lisa Marie er. Although she plays a number of instruments, If that weren’t enough to put Corbett in a joyPresley came in right before we were about to Hemmett had never been in a band before Corbett ful frame of mind (a slightly ironic one considplay it. And I had just done a bunch of cocaine, recruited her. (The two also work together as a ering the nature of his music), there’s also the and I got so paranoid.…She came in with a duo under the name LEATHERS.) fact that he’s doing it all sober. He quit drinkcouple of bodyguards, and I freaked right out.” “I brought her in to play a show,” Corbett ing several years ago, and in addition to the fisays. “People responded to it well. She really nancial benefit—money not spent on booze is On embracing the dark side: “It was enjoyed it. It felt really good to have a female money that can be invested in his creative enweird. It took me a while to transition from this in the band. It’s the first time I’d played with deavours—Corbett says sobriety allows him to happy cowpunk kind of party music to this dark a woman in the band, and I felt like it kind of focus on making music in a way that was never ’80s inflection. I went through a late-’70s Cheap balanced out the masculinity.” possible before. And it also just makes him feel Trick kind of vibe in there too. I think when I Why offer such a plum gig to a relative nov- damn good. started ACTORS in 2012, it was me stepping ice? Corbett says he just had a feeling about “Shannon doesn’t drink, I don’t drink, Jahback and saying ‘I’m tired of chasing a radio Hemmett, a sense that she was the perfect per- meel hardly drinks, and Adam doesn’t drink besingle. I’m tired of wanting people to like what son for the role. fore we play, so it’s the first time where I’m in a I’m doing. What do I really want to do?’ Now it “I saw the potential there, because I knew we real sober band,” he says. “Just the amount of love feels like whether people would be listening or had similar taste in music,” the singer-guitarist and fun and excitement we have on-stage while not, this is what I would be playing.” notes. “I could see from her Instagram posts being, like, razor-focused, it’s really exciting. that she was musical, so I started her off doing And it’s the first time in a long time where I’ve
in + out
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MUSIC Let’s talk about MISPLACED PRIORITIES The Fyre Festival is again making news of the surreal variety. Organizers of the aborted Bahamas bash spent $150,000 on a yacht for Blink-182, yet forgot to budget for running water and toilets. You know—all the small things.
You gotta see HEADLINE Once pegged as 2012’s guaranteed breakout star by Vogue, Lucy Rose has instead gone for the slow build. Over the past half-decade you might have heard her work on Girls and The Vampire Diaries, and seen her touring with the likes of Noah and the Whale. Fleeing the major-label system after 2015’s underperforming sophomore release, Work It Out, the English artist decided to shake things up, decamping to South America. Two months of free shows and meeting fans in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico would give her a renewed lust for life, leading to the creation of 2016’s triumphant Something’s Changing—a record packed with rainy-day reveries like “Is This Called Home”. Sad? Lucy Rose (at Venue on Saturday [March 10]) is indeed that at times, but in the most uplifting and inspiring of ways. -
LOOKING FORWARD Rage Against the Machine has announced the release of the album Live at the Democratic National Convention 2000. What the world really needs is the band announcing it’s booked for the frontlines of the 2020 Republican National Convention. PROTECT YA BITCOIN With the release of the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Dirty Coin and Ghostface Killah’s Cream coin, the Wu-Tang Clan owns the rap corner of the cryptocurrency market. Maybe Martin Shkreli can borrow some to buy back Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. MUSIC IN YOUR FACE To compete with YouTube, Facebook has signed licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony that will allow users to share videos with music in them, because we aren’t all spending enough time on Facebook already.
Fresh and local VOLUNTEERS I WISH I WAS AS HAPPY AS JOHN DENVER Discovering Volunteers is like taking a trip back in time to the pre-Internet world. That’s largely because, once you get past its Bandcamp page, looking online for anything about the band or its label, Barn Records, is a fool’s errand. Volunteers’ back story is anyone’s guess, so the music will have to speak for itself. And that’s where the notion that these guys somehow exist in another era gets reinforced. There isn’t a sound on this album that couldn’t have been recorded before the early ’70s. It’s a slightly ramshackle country-rock sound that suggests a drunk Keith Richards jamming with an even drunker 1968-era version of the Byrds. Assuming this band actually exists and we’re not just imagining the whole thing, we can dig it. -
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 63
Batalla honours Leonard Cohen’s legacy Perla Batalla was in Europe,
2 determined to escape the dawn
of an ugly period in history, when she got news of a death that overshadowed everything happening at home in the United States. The Grammy Award–winning MexicanAmerican singer had got on a plane just as Donald J. Trump shocked the world by winning the presidency. “It was the day after our election here in the U.S. and I didn’t want to talk about that with anybody,” Batalla relates, on the line from her home in Ojai, California. “So going to Europe was this wonderful relief for me. But then I get to Paris, get the news, and it’s devastating.” That news was the passing of Leonard Cohen, which had actually taken place the day before America headed to the polls in 2016. When the death was made public, Batalla was harder hit than most, considering that the Canadian icon was not only a mentor and a lifelong supporter of her career, but, above all, a cherished friend. “I got to Paris, checked into my hotel, turned off my phone, and then went to sleep in a sort of jet-lagged haze,” she says. “When I turned my phone on in the morning I had hun-
March 19 The Last Waltz
Perla Batalla sings her late mentor’s songs; Sam Davidson expands his sonic world with his Skim Milk project.
dreds of messages about Leonard’s passing. It caught me completely by surprise. We were in touch constantly, texting back and forth. I knew he was sick and I knew that it was get-
March 20 Festival Express
ting worse, but it never occurred to me that he wouldn’t be there.” Batalla decided the best way to pay tribute to Cohen’s life is by honouring his legacy. That led her
March 23 RUSH: Beyond
the Lighted Stage
$10 per film OR $25 for all 3 Ticket price includes popcorn and soft drink Full Bar Service, bring drinks to your seats
ANNEX Theatre 823 Seymour Street | eventbrite.ca
to create Perla Batalla in the House of Cohen in 2017. The show has Batalla—who began touring with the legendary Montreal songwriter and poet in the late ’80s as a teenage backup vocalist—performing some of Cohen’s most cherished songs. And, just as importantly, giving those who never saw the singer insights into who he was as a person. “I love telling stories about my relationship with Leonard, and also sharing the stories that he would tell me,” Batalla says. “The tradition of storytelling is that people tell their stories over and over again, and that way they are passed on. In my effort to keep Leonard alive, then, I tell some of his stories that he used to tell me. What I remember is that he was so funny—he was someone who always had me laughing.” Cohen was also supportive. While he got to know Batalla as his backup singer, he encouraged her career aspirations as a solo artist. To date she’s released seven critically praised full-lengths, including the Grammynominated 2007 Cohen tribute album Bird on a Wire. She’s also appeared alongside Nick Cave and Rufus Wainwright in the concert film I’m Your Man, worked as a voice coach for the likes of Will Ferrell and Jeremy Piven, and been an advocate for underprivileged youth in the States. For House of Cohen, she’s headed to Vancouver with pianist Michael Sobie. “A big part of the show is that songs remind me of certain things,” she says. “Experiences on the road, or even at home, because sometimes we’d go out and do things. My memories of him are very vivid because he was such an enormous influence in my life.” And the impact Cohen had on her life made that morning in Paris one—for all the right reasons—she’ll never forget. “I was very upset, but at some point in my haze, I decided that I was going to go for a walk,” Batalla says. “I wanted to avoid all the newspaper stands because I also didn’t want to see any pictures about what was going on in the U.S. But most of the covers were of Leonard Cohen. So it was incredibly comforting seeing that in Europe, where I spent a lot of time with Leonard. From France I went to Spain, which was one of his favourite places on the planet. That made it all, I don’t know, somehow more comforting.” > MIKE USINGER
Perla Batalla brings Perla Batalla in the House of Cohen to the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre on Sunday (March 11) as part of the Chutzpah Festival.
Skim Milk’s Sam Davidson probes instrumental space For a lesson on how musicians grow, look no further than local act Skim Milk’s three releases. Sam Davidson’s instrumental project made its debut in 2014, with an eponymous
2 64 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
effort that’s pleasant background music, impossible to classify by genre but also not especially rich in terms of its emotional content. The following year’s Ghosts of Jazz is just bigger all round, with stronger melodies, more adventurous soloing, and a greater sense of improvisational freedom. And now, with the just-released Fingerprints, Davidson has expanded his world yet again. Yes, the overall aesthetic is still cool, and Davidson’s reverb-laced approach to production can be opaque; Skim Milk comes by its name honestly. But the Brasstronaut multi-instrumentalist is happy to agree that he’s making progress. “With the first album, I was going for that relaxed, ambient aesthetic,” Davidson tells the Straight, on the line from his Burnaby home. “With the second album, Ghosts of Jazz, it was really about trying to draw from more, like, R&B roots and funk. And now, with Fingerprints, it’s more about identity,” he continues. “It’s about me coming to terms with my own influences.…And it’s called Fingerprints because it’s about all the people and all the points in my life that have put their mark on each of these songs.” Davidson is still working with loops and samples, but says his quotes are now more deeply “encoded”—like the snippet of 17th-century recorder music that inspired his new disc’s title track. “What I like to do with the old music is go through it and find those elements that are used in a way that is still kind of contemporary,” he explains. “So it’s just a little loop, and then I wanted to dress it up with some subtle electronics, and then I got my friend Terri Hron, who I’ve been collaborating with for a long time, to play some legit recorder on it. She worked in a consort in Amsterdam for 11 years, so it was really good to have her bring these elements of the Old World and the New World together, using the fingerprints of the original composer, Jacob van Eyck.” Davidson is an exceptional clarinet player and a skilled manipulator of recorded sound, but there’s a third element that helps define Skim Milk’s identity: his use of the EWI, an “electronic wind instrument” that’s responsible for many of the music’s more intriguing textures. “I think of it as kind of a supercharged recorder,” he says. “It uses a very basic woodwind fingering setup that’s kind of transferable, in a way, to all the wind instruments. And it’s pretty limitless; it just takes a bit of time to figure out how to use it musically, I think. Especially dressed in reverb, it can be a very ambiguous texture that kind of gives a glow to things, in a way.” That glow will be especially appropriate at Skim Milk’s next performance: on a Planetarium double bill with ambient postrockers Plasteroid. “This whole idea came about because of Owen Connell from Plasteroid,” says Davidson, noting that for the night he’ll debut a new, drummerless Skim Milk, in which he’ll be joined by guitarist Tom Wherrett, bassist James Meger, and trombonist Ellen Marple. “We went down to the Planetarium a few weeks ago and met with the manager and the projectionist, and we got to do a walk-through of all the different things that they can do.…They have programs for pretty much anything imaginable in terms of space and space exploration.” So what will we be seeing when Skim Milk and Plasteroid convene under the digital stars? “It’s programmed so that over the course of both sets you’re basically going to see every aspect of our solar system,” Davidson says. “It’s really just an amazing chance to get a glimpse of the vastness of the universe that we live in.” > ALEXANDER VARTY
Skim Milk and Plasteroid play the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre’s Planetarium Star Theatre next Thursday (March 15).
Dekker’s a born storyteller L OCA L D I S C S
Still, “Warble” shoots its paisley postpunk through with some truly dazzling guitar violence and “Picture in My Mind” leaves you forever regretting you never owned Fluevog shoes and a majestically moussed pompadour in the ’80s. Retro in the best of ways, the only thing that would make Hi-Ranger better is someone releasing it either on glorious black vinyl or, even better, hand-lettered cassette.
MELANIE DEKKER Secret Spot (Independent)
Melanie Dekker boasts quite the résumé. As well as opening for Bryan Adams, Faith Hill, and Russell Peters, the roots-pop singersongwriter has performed in front of Bill Clinton and played shows and festivals all over Europe and Canada. In short: Dekker knows how to write a slamming country-pop tune. Secret Spot proves she hasn’t lost her touch. A master of creating relentless earworms, the artist owes her success to keeping it simple. Relying on acoustic-guitar strums, the performer rarely adds more accompaniment than light drums, bass, and keys, instead investing her talent in catchy choruses and sing-it-again lyrics. Dekker’s true gift on the album, though, is her storytelling. “I never heard my dad sing, but he sure likes to play music loud/Likes to dance up a storm, the polite guy in a crowd,” she intones on “Te Amo Mucho”, telling the tale of how her father found his voice. Title track “Secret Spot”, meanwhile, intimately describes a route through the trees to the edge of a beach—a map that seems to correlate perfectly with the singer’s home in Deep Cove. Secret Spot also sees the artist dabble in more diverse instrumentation. Standout track “Memories of You” shimmers with an aching electricguitar riff and Dekker’s artful vocal acrobatics, while “Better When We Do” offers a playful take on female self-love with jazz chords and velvety trumpet accents. Dekker isn’t transforming the genre on her new record—but that’s never been her goal. Rather, the album offers a master class in roots-pop at its very best—and a must-listen for
> MIKE USINGER
Ocean Electro (Mint Records)
any Vancouverites looking to make a mark on country music.
> KATE WILSON
HI-RANGER Hi-Ranger (Independent)
Ever wonder what the world
2 sounded like when bands record-
ed exclusively on tape, records came out on either vinyl or cassette, and Spotify didn’t exist (mostly because Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet)? For the answer, look no further than this eponymous four-song EP by Hi-Ranger, which could have been dug out of a crate from a time when SST and Dutch East India Trading were the American underground’s hottest record labels. How strong is the affection of the trio for a time it presumably never knew firsthand? Well, let’s just say that four out of five Name That Tune contestants will confuse the riff in “Down the Drain” with Nirvana’s “About a Girl”. And goddam if the opening bass line in “Wake Me Up” doesn’t sound suspiciously like someone rearranged the intro to Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”.
MARCH 23 + 24
7PM - 1AM
BANDS VENUES NIGHTS WRISTBAND
Melanie Dekker delivers a master class in roots pop on Secret Spot.
SPACE PROVIDED BY
Larissa Loyva is a mainstay of the Vancouver music scene—or at least the corner of said scene dominated by Mint Records. A member of p:ano, the Choir Practice, and most recently the duo Fake Tears (with Elisha Rembold), Loyva is also a solo artist, releasing music as Kellarissa. Her third album under that name, Ocean Electro finds Loyva in a contemplative space, pondering matters ecological (on “Black Sea”) and personal (“Too Drunk to Be Afraid”). Sonically, the LP expands upon the relatively spare ambiance of Kellarissa’s previous outings— namely 2008’s Flamingo and 2011’s Moon of Neptune. Loyva still clearly has a knack for the ethereal. “Hey Hey Rosé” is a droning wonder of synth loops over which more and more vocal tracks are added until the singer has become an angelic one-woman choir. The record kicks off, though, with a one-two punch of more uptempo numbers that recall Fake Tears’ more beat-centred tracks: the new-wave-esque “Ocean Electric” and the electro-disco banger “Black Sea”. Thematically, Ocean Electro isn’t the cheeriest album you’ll hear this year—“Poppies in
Ammoye // ARC Ensemble // Autogramm // Autorickshaw Band Of Rascals // Barney Bentall // Beach Season // Blue Hawaii Brad Cheeseman // BRDGS // Brett Kissel // Buckman Coe Cadence Weapon // Carmanah // Carsen Gray // Caveboy Chet Doxas // Christine Jensen // Clairmont The Second Common Deer // CRi // Dan Davidson // Dear Father // Derrival Diana Boss // DJ Kookum // DJ Shub // Dumb // Ensign Broderick Ernesto Cervini // Evy Jane // Fake Shark // Flasher // Ford Pier Gang Signs // Goodwood Atoms // Harrow Fair // Hawking I M U R // Ingrid Jensen // Isabel Bayrakdarian // Iskwé Ivory Hours // Jan Lisiecki // Jesse Roper // Jim Cuddy Jo Passed // Jon Neufeld // Kellylee Evans // Khari Wendell McClelland // Kimmortal // Kinnie Starr // Kytami Land Of Talk // Leah Barley // Leif Vollebekk // Lou Phelps Louise Burns // Maestro Fresh Wes // Matt Blais // Mike Downes nêhiyawak // NQ Arbuckle // Nuela Charles // Old.Soul.Rebel Ought // Peach Kelli Pop // Phil Dwyer // Philippe Sly // Phono Pony Pretty Filthy // Reid Jamieson // Ria Mae // Rollin Trainwreck Rosemary & The Sweet Sound Revival // Sam Polley Sex With Strangers // Steve Strongman // Still Creek Crows Tara Davidson // Terence Jack // Terra Lightfoot The Battle Of Santiago // The Color // The Courtneys The Franklin Electric // The Jerry Cans // The Middle Coast The Treble // The Weather Station // The Wild! Titus Calderbank // Toque // Warren Dean Flandez // Weaves Whitehorse // William Carn // Woolworm // Youngblood produced by
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> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < TALL MYSTERY MAN AT CITY MARKET ON ARBUTUS
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 4, 2018 WHERE: Loblaws City Market 3185 Arbutus S Sunday night March 4 sometime between 6:30-7pm at City Market. You were wearing dark jeans with white holes, and a nice sweater with a chunky scarf. I was the hot mess at the checkout. I had just come from the gym, my hair was up and fussy, grey hoodie on, and my cheeks were flushed from the gym or from looking at you. You smiled and my jaw dropped. Your style and confidence made it impossible for me to take my eyes off you.
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 1, 2018 WHERE: Kits
Seeing you at the pub reminded me of the connection I felt we had when we met last summer. It may not have been clear in the brief encounter, but I was pleasantly surprised to see you again. I’m interested in getting to know you so get in touch if you’d like to meet up!
GRANVILLE STREET RAINY WALK
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 1, 2018 WHERE: Granville Street We passed each other near Holt Renfrew on Granville Street. You were walking with a friend in a long coat and beret, smiling and laughing as you chatted. I looked up and briefly caught your twinkling eye. A few blocks later I looked over and could have sworn you were standing beside me at the corner of Water Street and Granville. Had you turned around and walked my way? I was caught off guard, but should have said something before turning the corner and walking east. I thought you might have followed, but you disappeared.
BLONDE HAIRED CZECH GIRL ON WATERFRONT STATION
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 3, 2018 WHERE: Waterfront Station You went with your friend from North Vancouver with Seabus, both overtired and didn’t like the guy’s long hair :D I was wearing grey winter jacket and black winter cap. I went to the SkyTrain platform, you straight to the station and we both smiled at each other. Coffee?
GLANCES AT FAMOSO PIZZA
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 4, 2018 WHERE: Famoso Pizza Commercial Dr.
We shared a few nice glances at Famoso on Sunday afternoon... I was at a birthday party and you were sitting by the stairs and we seemed to catch each others eyes :) I was wearing a red and black shirt. Maybe we could have a coffee sometime?
HOT SEXY LONG HAIRED ASIAN FEMME WITH HER 2 OTHER FRIENDS
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 24, 2018 WHERE: Robson St We caught each other’s glances with our eyes while I was shopping with my sister and you were shopping with your two other cute Asian friends inside of Zara... we both smiled at each other and I gave you a subtle wink with my right eye and you laughed in a cute way. Want to know more about you, want to meet you again and see you for coffee, lunch, drinks, and more. Face-to-face sizzling conversation with each other and then we could also enjoy sharing and eating each other’s desserts. I hope that you see this ad or I hope that I bump into you again soon so I can express my feelings to you in person, instead of this form. I wished afterwards I had had the courage & the STEEL balls to have come up & talked to you. ARGGHHHHHHHHHH !!!
I SAW YOU AT THE LEZ HOOKUP EVENT IN NOVEMBER
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 12, 2017 WHERE: The Pint - Lez Hookup Event I saw you at the Lez Hookup Event back in November and I can’t get your face out of my head. I saw you walking toward the event, but unfortunately I was too scared to ask if they had tickets at the door. I saw you look back at me. We made eye contact and I smiled. You smiled back. I tried to wait for you to come out again, but my friends wanted to leave. I should’ve stayed. Your smile all I see is your smile. You were wearing a black sweater with blue jeans, short black hair and black booties. I know we’ll see one another again at some point and when we get finally meet, I’ll have this to show you and we can laugh about it
CUTE SNOWBOARD GIRL ON CYPRESS MOUNTAIN
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 1, 2018 WHERE: Cypress Mountain We were both waiting in line for Eagle Express quad chair and smiled at each other. You got to the lift one chair before me. Me: skier wearing grey jacket and black trousers waiting with my snowboard buddy. Coffee?
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 2, 2018 WHERE: West Van
FRI MAR 09 CLAY RAVENS w. JOSHUA JOB / HIGH STAKES / ZULU PANDA Live Acts Canada present
SAT MAR 10 Blues brunch w. rob montgomery 4:30pm-8:30pm
saturday sessions the original jam session The Railway Stage presents
WE FOUND A LOVEBIRD w. GUESTS The Railway Stage presents
TUE MAR 13 DRAG CLUB W. HOSTs KARMELLA BARR + DUST The Live Agency presents
THUR MAR 15 VAL KILMER AND THE NEW COKE Mar 16 Live Agency presents 10 MINUTE DETOUR W. GUESTS Mar 17 Live Agency presents THE WHISKEYJAYS Mar 22 Live Acts Canada presents THE STATISTICS
We take the same bus route but I seem to run into you quite a bit in other places. It’s bizarre. I would have said something today but I was coming from the doctor. I’ve been meaning to introduce myself but I’ve been sick lately. We had an awkward run-in a while back that still makes me laugh. I should have said something then but you caught me off guard and I feel like I made a bit of an arse of myself. You seem nice. If you don’t think I’m a complete idiot, let’s have a pint in one of the crappy bars in our hood.
Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 65
The Legendar y Soundtribe All Native Rock Band
Fri. & Sat. March 9 & 10
Main St H! 80TH BIRTHDAY BASH! IVANHOE PUB
KARAOKE 7 DAYS A WEEK
EVIL BASTARD KARAOKE EXPERIENCE
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OPEN UNTIL 3AM FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
from previous page
July” is a Sylvia Plath poem set to music!—but it might well turn out to be the prettiest.
> JOHN LUCAS
SALTWATER HANK Stories From the Northwest (Independent)
The increasing consensus among
2 Vancouver creative types is that
this city has lost whatever soul it once had, which explains why Facebook has become an all-purpose forum for folks announcing they’re pulling up stakes and leaving town. If you’re among those loading up the U-Haul in search of new territory, Saltwater Hank would make a pretty fine neighbour. Based on the cover art, the singersongwriter might easily be mistaken for an East Van post-hipster, his horn-rim glasses offset by the kind of mustache that guarantees priority entrance at the Biltmore. More likely, his look is unironic Prince George legion regular, which makes sense considering the songs on Stories From the Northwest would go over smashingly on meat-draw night. While his name suggests someone obsessed with sea chanteys, Saltwater Hank’s obsession is old-time country. Hank Williams Sr. received no shortage of play around the house during the singer’s formative years— not only on record, but also performed by his grandfather, dad, and uncles. That gives you a good idea what to expect on Stories From the Northwest, which was recorded in one night on reel-to-reel in the basement of a Prince George church. Backed by an ace cast of players on fiddle, lap steel, upright bass, and banjo, Saltwater Hank gets high and lonesome on the bare-boned “Coyodel #2” and revs things up for the bluegrass burner “Bog Cranberry Picking”. The only way “Moose Hunter Blues” would sound more authentic is by coming out of a circa-’32 Randix OTC radio, while “Old Hazelton” smells gorgeously of spilled blood and backyard-still bourbon. Still not convinced that life’s better in Saltwater Hank’s neck of the woods? Consider that the beautiful album opener, “Ballad of Maud Watt”, is salted with lines like “The pelts are like gold and the rush is on.” Don’t mind that later on in the tune Saltwater Hank sings “There’s a man standing there at my log-cabin door/ He wants to give to the rich and steal from the poor.” Being from modernday Vancouver, that’s something you’ll be more than familiar with. > MIKE USINGER
Saltwater Hank’s honest obsession seems to be old-time country tunes.
LOIG MORIN La Rivière (Independent)
Those who remember the You-
2 Tube phenomenon of individuals
dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” in home videos across the world might recall seeing Vancouver’s contribution—a montage of city dwellers throwing shapes in front of urban landmarks and the North Shore mountains. Few know, though, that the film was produced by French expat and North Van musician Loig Morin. Like his 2012 album Lonsdale— which was named in honour of his new home—the video showcases the location that has acted as a muse for much of his work. Now, with his brooding new release La Rivière, Morin leaves the topic of Metro Vancouver behind. Despite being written almost entirely in French, the album is as welcoming to nonfrancophones as polyglots. The atmosphere of La Rivière is as important as its lyrics, weaving rich drones and textures behind Morin’s sultry, half-whispered words. The title track sets the tone for the record, blending female backing vocals with experimental buzzing sitar plucks and soft, drawn-out synth pads. “Derrière la Tempête” exists in a similar vein, with Morin’s Nick Cave–esque baritone underpinning a bass-driven riff at once moody and loungey, while “Près de l’Arbre” forms its sonic complement—the third in a trio evoking a similar smoky atmosphere. Adding depth to the record are the unexpected “Tanger”—a song that explores the vibe of Morocco with shimmering instrumental samples and bouncing percussion—and “We Used to Be”, a heartfelt piano ballad with string and accordion accompaniment. A testament to music’s ability to cross all cultures, Morin’s record is both accessible and highly listenable. The perfect soundtrack for the close of winter, La Rivière mixes elements of light and darkness with a rare aptitude. > KATE WILSON
OPEN TIL APRIL 15TH
THE BACKSTAGE LOUNGE PRESENTS
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Readers’ Choice Winners List Now Available! Visit straight.com for the complete 2018 Golden Plates Winner’s List.
ENTER to WIN a two-night getaway to Victoria Secret Code for Entry: 2018GoldenPlates
10 HIP CHECK SATURDAY
THE BACKSTAGE LOUNGE PRESENTS
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13 14 15 17 22
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GARY O’NEIL, SAM LYNCH, CALLUM ORR, WESLEY ATTEW DOORS 8PM/$10 WEDNESDAY
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66 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
The Georgia Straight Confessions, an outlet for submitting revelations about your private lives—or for the voyeurs among us who want to read what other people have disclosed.
Scan to confess Sexual Suicide If you want to stop having sex, all you have to do is move in together. If you want to stop talking to a friend, just have sex with them.
Saxy There was a time in the 80s when saxophone was equated with sexuality. Nowadays, maybe not so much. Autotune?
Celebrate the Georgia Straight’s 50th Anniversary with a beautifully produced coffee table book! Co-written by the Georgia Straight’s Doug Sarti and Dan McLeod Visit straight.com/shop to buy the book
THAN K S VANCOUV E R !
WWW.SHAMEFULTIKIROOM.COM 4362 MAIN STREET
... I know they all spent Saturday night together without me. I stayed in bed and watched Dr Pimple Popper. I prefer when friends want my company.
a woman If I could just spend my life reading, watching movies, listening to music, hiking, and playing video games.... that would be enough. If I could only pick one, then just reading I guess.
People on their phones during shows.... we can see you from the stage! Hey audience: when you go to the theatre or a comedy show, and you pull out your phone and text, the people onstage CAN see you and the light. Even when you try and hide it low, or half in your purse, or in your pocket? Yup, we still see it. Even if you’re really fast? Yup, we still see it. Respect the time and talent of the people onstage and keep your phone away and off for that two hours. They are working hard up there and you’re being rude.
to post a Confession
SUNDAY MARCH 25 A TRIBUTE TO GORD DOWNIE FEATURING
CITY AND COLOUR & SARAH HARMER
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES BY
ARCADE FIRE ARKELLS DANIEL CAESAR JESSIE REYEZ HOSTED BY
MICHAEL BUBLÉ #JUNOS | JUNOAWARDS.CA
MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 67
68 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 â€“ 15 / 2018
BREAKOUT FESTIVAL Outdoor hip-hop and R&B festival features Migos, Tory Lanez, 6lack, Lil Pump, A-Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Ski Mask the Slump God, Ybn Nahmir, Kodie Shane, Pressa, Wondagurl, Brevner, Manila Grey, Illyminiachi, Mcevoy Withinroots, Acdatyoungn****, Daamcp, and 2hunnit. Jun 9-10, doors 2 pm, show 3 pm, PNE Amphitheatre (2901 E. Hastings). Tix $269/149/129/99 (plus service charges and fees) at www.breakout-festival.com/.
XAVIER RUDD Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist performs tunes from latest album Storm Boy. Jun 9, doors 6 pm, show 7 pm, Malkin Bowl (610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park). Tix $39.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
CONCERTS < OUT OF TOWN <
CONCERTS 2JUST ANNOUNCED
LUMINESCENCE: CHANTEUSE TO THE POWER OF THREE Celebrate International Women’s Day with performances by Sarah Jickling and Her Good Bad Luck, Kristina Shelden, and headliner Christa Couture. Mar 8, 7:30 pm, The Cultch (1895 Venables). Tix $10-30, info wingspan.educ.ubc.ca/.
FROM NEW YORK: SPIKE WILNER QUARTET. One of the brightest lights in New York’s jazz scene, an in-demand interpreter of piano jazz steeped in the deep roots of tradition who also runs world-renowned jazz club Smalls. Presented by Coastal Jazz. Mar 30-31, 8 pm, Frankie’s Jazz Club (765 Beatty). Tix $25 at www.coastaljazz.ca/. JADEN SMITH Nineteen-year-old actor, rapper, and singer-songwriter, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Apr 10, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix on sale Mar 2, 10 am, $20 (plus service charge) at www.ticketweb.ca/. PARTY FOR THE PLANET The City of Surrey hosts an Earth Day celebration featuring performances by Canadian rock singer-songwriter Sam Roberts, children’s musical duo Bobs & Lolo, pop/R&B group Star Captains, DJ and production group the Freshest, children’s entertainers Rockin’ Robin, the Colin Bullock Duo, and the Smile Band. Apr 14, 10 am–6 pm, Surrey City Hall (13450 104 Ave., Surrey). Free, info www.surrey.ca/partyfortheplanet/. OCEAN ALLEY Psych-rock/reggaefusion band from Sydney, Australia. Jun 2, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward). Tix on sale Mar 9, 10 am, $15 (plus service charge) at www.livenation.com/.
NELLY American rapper, with guests Terell Safadi and Wn8o. Mar 8, 8 pm, Harbour Event Centre (750 Pacific Blvd.). Tix $45, info www.eventbrite.ca/e/nelly-live-inconcert-vancouver-tickets-41224835593/. MR. CARMACK L.A.–based producer, with guests Tsuruda. Mar 8, 9 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix $25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketweb.ca/. THE DEARS Montreal indie-rock band tours in support of seventh studio album Times Infinity Volume Two. Mar 9, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix $20 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. BIG BAND JAZZ AT PAT’S A night of eclectic big-band jazz by the 17-piece South Van Big Band. Mar 9, 8 pm, Pat’s Pub & Brewhouse (403 E. Hastings). Tix $10, info southvanbigband.com/.
on the web!
For up-to-the-minute, searchable Music Time Out listings, visit
COLLECTIVE SOUL Guitar-rockers from Georgia, featuring frontman Ed Roland, with guests the Static Shift. Jun 28-29, doors 8 pm, show 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $65 (plus service charges and fees) at www.live nation.com/. BOMBINO Tuareg guitarist and singersongwriter from Agadez, Niger. Jul 22, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix on sale Mar 9, 10 am, $29.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. CHILDISH GAMBINO Singer, songwriter, and rapper from the States, aka actor Donald Glover, with guest Rae Sremmurd. Sep 30, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix on sale Mar 9, noon, $139.50/89.50/59.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
ALAN DOYLE Newfoundland folk-rock singer-songwriter, author, and actor tours in support of third solo album A Week at the Warehouse, with guest Fortunate Ones. Mar 10, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts (777 Homer). Tix $55/39.50/29.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. CHRIS SMITHER American blues-folk vocalist-guitarist. Mar 10, 8 pm, St. James Hall (3214 W. 10th). Tix $30-35, info www. capilanou.ca/blueshorefinancialcentre/17Chris-Smither/.
LILA DOWNS Mexican-American Latin vocalist tours in support of latest album Salon Lágrimas y Deseos. Mar 10, 8 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Rd., UBC). Tix from $46, info www.chancentre.com/.
SANTANA American Latin-rock band, known for such hits as “Black Magic Woman” and “Smooth”, performs on its Divination Tour 2018. Mar 7, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Abbotsford Centre (33800 King Rd., Abbotsford). Tix $119/89/69/45 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
A TRIBE CALLED RED Canadian electronica ensemble blends elements of hip-hop and reggae music with aspects of First Nations music. Mar 10-11, doors 8 pm, show 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Mar 10 SOLD OUT, tix for Mar 11 $25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
MIND BODY SOUL
AESTHETICS $50/1hr Deep Tissue Massage 410 E/Broadway 604-709-6168
PSYCHICS Psychic & Tarot Readings $20 Special 778-404-0491
CERTIFIED MASSAGE WINTER SPECIAL Bodyscrub $65/70min. Waxing 20% off. Massage $28/half hour 8 - 4287 Kingsway 604-438-8714
SUPPORT GROUPS AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS Does someone else’s drinking bother you? Al-Anon can help. We are a support group for those who have been affected by another’s drinking problem. For more information please call: 604-688-1716
ALASDAIR FRASER AND NATALIE HAAS The Rogue Folk Club presents the Scottish fiddler coheadlining with American cellist. Mar 11, 8 pm, St. James Hall (3214 W. 10th). Tix $17-34, info www. roguefolk.bc.ca/concerts/ev18031120/. ANDERSON EAST American singersongwriter performs on his Encore World Tour. Mar 11, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix $20 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www.ticketweb.ca/. WHY DON’T WE American pop quintet performs on its Invitation Tour 2018. Mar 12, doors 6 pm, show 7 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix $32.25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. WATAIN Swedish black-metal band, with guests Destroyer 666 and Revenge. Mar 12, 7 pm, Rickshaw Theatre (254 E. Hastings). Tix $25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.rickshawtheatre.com/. COIN American indie-pop band performs on its North American Tour 2018. Mar 13, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward). Tix $22 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
JUNO AWARDS Annual Canadian music awards show, hosted by Vancouver pop superstar Michael Bublé. Mar 25, 5 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix from $79.95 to $875 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketmaster.ca/. SEASONS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2018 Twoday electronic-music festival features performances by Rae Sremmurd, Zhu, Muru Masa (DJ set), Petite Biscuit, Smokepurpp, What So Not, Giraffage, Drezo, Said the Sky, ails, So Loku, and MYNXY. Mar 30-31, doors 7 pm, Pacific Coliseum (Hastings Park, 100 N. Renfrew). Tix at www.ticketleader.ca/. JUNGLE London-based modern soul collective. Apr 3, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix $30 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat Records and www.ticketfly.com/. JAPANDROIDS Vancouver garage-rock band performs three shows. Apr 26-28, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Fortune Sound Club (147 E. Pender). April 27-28 SOLD OUT, tix for April 26 $19.99 (plus service charge) at www.ticketfly.com/.
PENNYWISE Punk-rock band from Hermosa Beach, California, with guests Strung Out. Mar 14, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $39.75 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
POST MALONE American rapper performs material from new album Beerbongs and Bentleys, with guests SOB x RBE. Apr 27, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix $84.25/64.25/54.25/44.25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS Indieelectronica band from Auckland, New Zealand, tours in support of latest release A Still Heart. Mar 14, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). Tix $35 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat Records and www.ticketweb.ca/.
TDE: THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR Rap show featuring Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, SiR, and Lance Skiiiwalker. May 4, doors 6:30 pm, show 7:30 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix $149.50/89.50/49.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.
SON LUX Los Angeles postrock band tours in support of upcoming release PAUL SIMON American folk-rock Brighter Wounds, with guests Gordi and singer-songwriter (“You Can Call Me Al”, Wills. Mar 14, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Fox “Mother and Child Reunion”) performs Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix $17 (plus service on his Homeward Bound—The Farewell charges and fees) at www.ticketweb.ca/. Tour. May 16, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix BRANDI CARLILE American folk-rock $189/129/89/59 (plus service charges and singer-songwriter tours in support of fees) at www.livenation.com/. latest studio album The Firewatcher’s Daughter. Mar 29, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, BRYAN ADAMS Vancouver-raised, England-based pop-rocker. Jun 6, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Note: moved from original date of March Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix from 3. Tix $46 (plus service charges and fees) $45 to $125 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. at www.livenation.com/.
Parkinson Society BC
offers over 50 volunteer-led support groups throughout BC. These provide people with Parkinson’s, their carepartners & families an opportunity to meet in a friendly, supportive setting with others who are experiencing similar difficulties. Some groups may offer exercise support. For information on locating a support group near you, please contact PSBC at 604 662 3240 or toll free 1 800 668 3330.
Infertility Awareness Assoc. of Canada (IAAC) provides educational material & support to individuals or couples experiencing infertility. Meetings: 7 pm the 2nd Wed of the month. Richmond Library & Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate. Info 523-0074 or www.iaac.ca
WAVAW - Rape Crisis Centre has a 24-hour crisis line, counselling, public education, & volunteer opportunities for women. All services are free & confidential. Please call for info: Business Line: 604-255-6228 24-Hour Crisis Line: 604-255-6344
411 Seniors Centre Society
Women Survivors of Incest Anonymous A 12 Step based peer support program. Wed @ 7pm @ Avalon Women’s Centre 5957 West Blvd 604-263-7177 also www.siawso.org
IBD Support Group Suffer from Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis? Living with IBD can often be overwhelming, but you’re not alone! 3rd Wed of each month the GI Society holds a free IBD support group meeting for patients & their families to come together in an open, friendly environment. 7:00pm at RavenSong Community Health Centre (2450 Ontario St). or more information call 604-875-4875.
TANYA TAGAQ AND LAAKKULUK WILLIAMSON BATHORY Groundbreaking Indigenous artists perform as part of the Beyond Words series. Mar 16-17, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Rd., UBC). Info chancentre.com/events/tanya-tagaq-laakkulukwilliamson-bathory/.
SCENIC ROUTE TO ALASKA Edmonton indie pop-rockers, with guests Mike Edel and Cartoon Lizard. Mar 13, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre (254 E. Hastings). Tix $13 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat and www.rickshawtheatre.com/.
Healing Our Spirit B.C. First Nations AIDS Society has volunteer opportunities for hospital visitation, information booths, office assistance & preparation of pamphlets & condoms for distribution. We offer volunteer orientation, training & recognition & bus tickets. If interested, please call 983-8774 Ext. 13. We are dedicated to preventing and reducing the spread of HIV in the aboriginal communities of B.C.
704 – 333 Terminal Ave. Van 604 684 8171 An inclusive centre for older adults, 55+ on low income, and those with disabilities, offering year-round educational, health-related, recreational activities. Information & Referral to assist seniors with resources & services in the community ie seniors benefits, income tax preparation & government services. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm
FOR RENT- OTHER 1 BEDROOM PLUS DEN
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OUT OF TOWN 2UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS PEARL JAM Legendary Seattle grungerockers, featuring frontman Eddie Vedder. Aug 8 & 10, 7 pm, Safeco Field (1560 1st Ave. S., Seattle). Tix from US$92 to US$112 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketmaster.ca/.
TIME OUT MUSIC LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. Submit listings 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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for them—that we have to view these quote/unquote transgressions as a feature of human sexuality, not a bug. 2. Lesbian porn gets you off, vintage gay porn and trans FTM gets you off, but you feel confl icted after watching lesbian porn because it seems inauthentic. That’s understandable—a lot of so-called lesbian porn is inauthentic, in that it’s made by and for straight men and features nonlesbian women who are going through the lesbian motions (often with long and triggering-for-actuallesbians fingernails). Some gay porn features gay-for-pay straight male actors, of course, but most gay porn features gay actors doing what they love; the same goes for most trans FTM porn, which is a small and mostly indie niche. I suspect your orgasms are just as good when you watch lesbian porn, CAPP, but the sense—suppressed when you were turned on, surfacing once you’re not—that the performers weren’t really enjoying themselves taints your lesbian-pornenhanced orgasms in retrospect. The solution? Seek out lesbian porn featuring actual lesbians—authentic lesbian porn is out there. (I found a bunch with a quick Google search.) 3. Sometimes we overcome the negative messaging that our culture sends us about our identities or bodies only after our erotic imaginations have seized on the fears or self-loathing induced by those messages and turned them into kinks. Take small-penis humiliation (SPH). Before a guy can ask a partner to indulge him in SPH, CAPP, he has to accept (and kind of dig) his small cock. So the acceptance is there, but the kink—a turn-on rooted in a resolved conflict—remains.
girl from Australia and I’ve been listening to your podcast and reading your column since I was 13. Thanks to you, I’m pretty open-minded about my sexuality and body. Having said that, I do have a few questions. I started watching porn from a youngish age with no real shame attached but I have some concerns. 1. I get off really quickly to lesbian porn but it never feels like a “good” orgasm. My guess is that subconsciously I think it’s inauthentic and therefore degrading. 2. I really enjoy and have the best orgasms to vintage gay male porn and trans FTM porn, which seems odd to me because I’m so far removed from the sexual acts that these kind of porn movies portray but I always feel satisfied after getting off to them. 3. I get off to tit-slapping videos but it screws with me morally. I understand why I like these kinds of videos. I have quite large breasts and I feel resentment towards them. It seems both morally wrong towards the progress I’ve made towards accepting my body and also to the message being sent about violence towards women. Care to weigh in? > CONCERNED ABOUT PORN PREFERENCES
1. There are gay men who watch straight porn, lesbians who watch gay porn, and 18-year-old hetero girls in Australia who watch lesbian porn and vintage gay porn and trans FTM porn. So many people get off watching porn that isn’t supposed to be for them—so many people fantasize about, watch, and sometimes do things that are not supposed to be
> BY DAN SAVAGE
I’m a 32-year-old
I have a deep-throating fetish. All the porn I watch is nothing but rough, sloppy blowjobs. I would love nothing more than to watch this kind of porn with my boyfriend so we can add it to the bedroom excitement, but I’m embarrassed to share this as a straight female. How do I go about sharing a fetish I have? Do I tell him over a candlelit dinner? Do I just turn some deep-throating porn on and see what happens? Help!
male. I recently met a hot older woman, age 46, who has told me she finds me equally hot. I’ve always preferred older women. I just love their confidence and their comfort in their own skin. They’re just so much sexier than my age cohorts. The problem is that I take a serious interest in feminism. I think I do pretty well with the overt stuff: I don’t mansplain, I call out peers who ignore sexism, and I don’t objectify women, even when I do find them attractive. (Small steps, but steps nonetheless.) But when I see this woman and we flirt like mad, my brain just shuts off and all I can think about is her hot bod and the many hours I want to spend with it. However, I worry that she’s spent her whole life relying on her looks to gain validation from men and that my brain-dead, loinsalive attraction is only perpetuating her objectification. Is that so? Or am I just overthinking things?
There’s never really a bad time to tell someone they won the lottery, DQ. Over a candlelit dinner, pop in some porn, send him a singing telegram— however you decide to tell him, DQ, the odds that he’ll react negatively are pretty low. Of course, watching someone deep-throat and doing it yourself are two different things, DQ. You won’t be able to go from disclosing your kink to realizing it during that candlelit dinner. Take it slow, maybe watch a few how-to videos in addition to the porn, find the positions and angles that work for you, et cetera, and work your way up to taking him all the way down.
At the risk of dansplaining… There’s nothing feminist about slagging off younger women to justify your attraction to older women. You like what you like and you can own that without implying that younger women lack confidence and aren’t comfortable in their own skins. The same culture that put the zap on CAPP’s head for having large breasts—her breasts attracted unwanted attention and she resented her breasts and now gets off on erotic images of breasts being punished (even though she now knows her breasts weren’t the problem)—put the zap on your head. Men, young and
It can be freeing to regard a kink like SPH or your thing for tit-slapping as a reward—as the only good thing to come out of the shitty zap the culture put on the head of a guy with a small cock or, in your case, a young woman with large breasts. So long as we seek out other consenting adults who respect us and our bodies, we can have our kinks—even those that took root in the manure of negative cultural messaging—and our self-acceptance and self-esteem, too.
> DEEPTHROAT QUEEN
> MAN, I LOVE FEMINISM
old, are supposed to be attracted to younger women. You’re not attracted to younger women; you’re attracted to older women. Instead of accepting that, you feel compelled to justify it by comparing younger women to older women and declaring—again, by implication—that there’s something wrong with younger women. You sound like one of those gay men who can’t tell you why he’s attracted to dudes without also (or only) telling you what he dislikes about women. As for objectification, MILF, the problem with objectification is when the person doing the objectifying isn’t capable of simultaneously seeing the object of their affections as a three-dimensional human being with desires, fears, and agency of their own. Technically, MILF, we are all objects—“a material thing that can be seen and touched”—but unlike, say, Fleshlights or vibrators, we feel joy and pain and have wants and needs. You can’t help being drawn to this woman’s externals; there’s a huge visual component to human attraction and, as your thing for older women demonstrates, there isn’t one universal standard of beauty. So long as you can objectify someone while at the same time appreciating their full humanity—so long as you can walk that walk and chew that gum— you don’t have to feel like a bad feminist for objectifying someone. (Particularly when that someone is clearly objectifying you!) On the Lovecast—Finally! Porn that makes consent SEXY: savagelovecast. com. Email: email@example.com. Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. ITMFA.org.
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72 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT MARCH 8 – 15 / 2018
Published on Mar 8, 2018