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MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 | FREE

Volume 54 | Number 2720

23rd Annual

Golden Plates Georgia Straight readers vote for their chef of the year, best new restaurant, and winners in dozens of other food and beverage categories; plus, industry experts pick their favourites

SPECIES AT RISK

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SUNDAY MORNING

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WET’SUWET’EN WAKE-UP


Best Restaurant Group 23RD Annual

2020

Thank you, Georgia Straight readers, for voting us as Best Restaurant Group DQGDVDÒQDOLVWIRU%HVW3DWLRV

2 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 3


  

CONTENTS

March 12-19 / 2020

 

   !

19 COVER

It’s that time of year again when our readers choose Vancouver’s culinary and beverage superstars.

!            " #  "

By Gail Johnson, Kurtis Kolt, Tammy Kwan, and Mike Usinger Cover illustration by Shayne Letain

6

NEWS

Two councillors want to revisit the City of Vancouver’s definition of social housing. By Carlito Pablo

11

COMMENTARY

An Indigenous scholar says the Wet’suwet’en fight for land rights offers an opportunity for social change. By Pam Palmater

        

  



45 ARTS

Singer Robyn Jacob teamed with set designer Nancy Tam in a remarkable multimedia performance piece. By Alexander Varty

55 MUSIC

Sunday Morning’s Consequence of Love (Side 2) is a deeply personal record of winning contrasts. By Mike Usinger

OVERCOMING INEQUALITY

Here’s what people are reading this week on Straight.com.

1 2 3 4 5

e Listings 52 ARTS 57 MUSIC

WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 54 | Number 2720

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Part of SFU Public Square’s 2020 Community Summit

Union tries to organize drug users who respond to overdoses.

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Arguments against retiring Luongo’s number are irrelevant.

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Free tickets at: sfu.ca/publicsquare/buy-tix

Vancouver police investigate assault outside Fairview Pub.

FOUNDING PUBLISHER Dan McLeod

SECTION EDITORS Janet Smith (Arts/Fashion) Brian Lynch (Books) Adrian Mack (Movies) Mike Usinger (Music) Steve Newton (Time Out)

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

MLA exasperated over coronaphobia-induced run on toilet paper.

WEB ADMINISTRATOR Miles Kier

EDITOR Charlie Smith

THURSDAY, APRIL 2

Major flood in Metro Vancouver could displace 250,000.

PUBLISHER Brian Kalish

GENERAL MANAGER Matt McLeod

Co-author of The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

SR. VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOLOGY & ARCHITECTURE Anton Tikhomirov CONTROLLER Igor Kostioutchenko

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4 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

e Online TOP 5

e Start Here 52 ARTS HOT TICKET 15 BOOKS 41 THE BOTTLE 12 CANNABIS 49 DANCE 17 HOROSCOPES 50 I SAW YOU 53 MOVIE REVIEWS 55 POP EYE 59 SAVAGE LOVE 51 THEATRE


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MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 5


NEWS

Social housing definition questioned

S

alk TOF THE WEEK

by Carlito Pablo

ocial housing used to mean housing for low-income people. In Vancouver, social housing means another thing. In 2014, the ruling Vision Vancouver party of then-mayor Gregor Robertson changed the definition of social housing. Social housing in Vancouver now means entire residential developments where a majority of the housing units are going to be rented for as much as the market can bear. For first-term councillors Pete Fry and Jean Swanson, that definition is misleading. In separate interviews, Fry and Swanson indicated their interest in having the present council review what social housing means in the city. “It sort of leads the public into thinking that we’re meeting certain targets when, in fact, a lot of the new purpose-built rental housing that we’re building isn’t really what one would consider as social housing in the traditional sense of the word,” Fry told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. Fry said that it is “disingenuous” to label entire projects as social housing when only a small percentage of the development is to be rented below market rates. Swanson said by phone that the current definition not only fails to meet the city’s objectives around housing but “it [also] isn’t meeting the needs of lower-income renters.” Robertson and his Vision Vancouver team were on their second term at City Hall when they changed the definition of social housing in 2014. They believed that the meaning of social housing needed to be updated. As a result, social housing came to be defined as an entire development

PEOPLE HAVE RIGHTS, and

Vancouver city councillor Pete Fry says the usual sense of the words “social housing” doesn’t allow mostly market rates.

where 70 percent of the dwelling units are rented at market rates and only about a third—30 percent—of the homes charge lower rents. In the Downtown Eastside, a whole project qualifies as social housing with 70 percent of residential units charging varying rates and the remaining 30 percent renting at the shelter allowance for people on government assistance. In a ruling on a dispute concerning two downtown developments, the B.C. Supreme Court in January 2015 declared that the city’s publichearing notification process that led to the change was not sufficient. In the wake of the court’s ruling, the city held a new public hearing in March of that year. At the public hearing, Swanson, who was not yet an elected councillor, appeared on behalf of the Carnegie Community Action Project, a citizen-based program dedicated to housing and welfare issues in the

Downtown Eastside. Swanson told councillors at the time that doing away with the traditional definition of social housing is “Orwellian”. According to Swanson, the new definition would exclude people who were included

It isn’t meeting the needs of lowerincome renters. – Coun. Jean Swanson

in the old meaning and result in “plumping up” the numbers of new social-housing units to be built. On a motion by then Vision councillor Andrea Reimer, Vision

Vancouver councillors upheld the new definition of social housing in 2015. Voting against were then opposition councillors George Aff leck, Elizabeth Ball, Adriane Carr, and Melissa De Genova. Carr and De Genova are back in council, having won new terms in the October 2018 election. Fry and Swanson were elected for the first time in the same election. It took Fry only a bit more than a year to undo one of Vision Vancouver’s housing legacies. That matter involved classifying new market-rental projects that receive incentives from the city—including exemptions from paying development cost levies—as “affordable housing”. On November 26, 2019, council approved a wide-ranging motion about rental housing, and an amendment successfully put forward by Fry ordered staff to stop referring to these rental

these are called human rights. How about trees, wildlife, rivers, and mountains? Does nature and its elements have the right to survive and thrive just like us? In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to enshrine the rights of nature in its national constitution. The movement to recognize the rights of nature is growing. One of its advocates will talk about this cause at UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law (1822 East Mall) on Wednesday (March 18). Mari Margil, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, begins her presentation at 5:30 p.m. g

developments as “affordable housing”. At the time, city guidelines provided that a monthly rent of $3,559 for a three-bedroom unit on the West Side of the city was “affordable”. Using the traditional standard that affordable housing costs a household less than 30 percent of its pretax income, a rent of $3,559 is affordable only for households earning at least $142,360 a year. Fry told the Straight that it’s in the “interest of fairness and transparency” to let the public know the real extent to which new social housing is being developed across Vancouver. “I am not sure that the way the definition is currently formed really does that,” Fry said. g

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MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 7


NEWS

Farnworth must resign, critics insist The solicitor general authorized RCMP action against Wet’suwet’en before premier’s denial

B

by Charlie Smith

ritish Columbia’s “top cop” has come under intense criticism for declaring a provincial emergency under the Provincial Police Service Agreement in connection with the Coastal GasLink dispute. On March 5, the Straight revealed that Solicitor General Mike Farnworth had written a letter in late January to the B.C. RCMP’s commanding officer. In it, Farnworth authorized the “internal redeployment of resources within the Provincial Police Services” to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction obtained by the pipeline company. Two weeks after that letter was sent, Premier John Horgan claimed that his government has “no authority…to direct the RCMP in the fulfillment of its responsibilities”. As a result of this apparent contradiction, a new political party, the B.C. Ecosocialists, and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs have each called for Farnworth’s resignation for facilitating a monumental show of RCMP force on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory in early February. “Although the fact that the NDP was, on one hand, stating that their Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, does not make high-level law enforcement decisions for B.C., while, on the other, blaming Farnworth’s predecessor for the enforcement decisions taken on his watch, beggared belief, we were not in possession of direct confirmation of Farnworth’s oversight until today,” B.C. Ecosocialists spokesperson Stuart Parker stated in a party news release. “The documents uncovered by Charlie Smith were a matter of public

B.C. must answer to this mistruth and absolutely must change its ways. – Chief Na’Moks

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said that “no elected official” directs B.C. police.

record,” he continued. “The fact that there appears to have been no attempt to cover their tracks by the B.C. NDP indicates the low esteem they have for the intelligence of British Columbians.” Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have repeatedly said that the pipeline project is illegal under their laws. Parker has previously accused Farnworth of ordering the RCMP invasion on unceded Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in early February. However, in an emailed statement to the Houston Today newspaper that was published on March 6, Farnworth insisted that “no elected official in British Columbia directs police operations.” The Mounties created a large exclusion zone along the Morice West Forest Service Road as it was making arrests in early February. “Just as we have stated, from the beginning of this escalation, the

B.C. NDP intentionally pursued the same callous and dangerous course as it did in the 1995 Gustafsen Lake standoff,” Parker said. When the RCMP used heavy firepower against Indigenous sovereigntists in the B.C. Interior in 1995, Farnworth was a backbench NDP MLA and Horgan was an analyst in the NDP government’s policy coordination branch. Parker, a former leader of the B.C. Greens, insisted that Horgan’s recently appointed envoy to the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, former NDP MP Nathan Cullen, has falsely claimed that the decision to escalate actions was made by the feds and not Farnworth. “This latter effort to mislead the public should and does concern all British Columbians, irrespective of their views on Indigenous rights, Aboriginal title, climate change, fracking or pipelines,” Parker said.

The B.C. Ecosocialists have called on the province to immediately rescind permits for the $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will deliver fracked natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada plant in Kitimat. Parker also wants permits cancelled for LNG Canada, which is a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell and includes Mitsubishi, Korea Gas, Petronas, and Petro China. Meanwhile, UBCIC president Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said that Farnworth’s January 27 letter “reveals the blatant hypocrisy and lies of the provincial NDP government on the Wet’suwet’en crisis”. The same day that Farnworth’s letter was sent to the B.C. RCMP, Horgan appointed Cullen to act as a liaison between his government and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. “Farnworth sat silently while Premier Horgan unabashedly lied that the Province did not direct RCMP actions,” Phillip alleged in a B.C. Civil Liberties Association news release on Friday (March 6). “This is an act of

government deceit not only against the Wet’suwet’en but of the public atlarge. The province’s rhetoric about reconciliation rings even hollower.” Chief Na’Moks, a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief, stated in the same news release that the “province bears responsibility for the heavy RCMP deployment and for the policing of our people on our own territories”. “In many of our discussions, the province was passing the buck for RCMP operations but this letter spells it out in black and white,” Chief Na’Moks said. “The provincial government can no longer deny responsibility for the Indigenous rights and human rights violations happening on our territories. “We have come to the table with respect and truth but the province is not demonstrating respectful or truthful conduct,” he continued. “We have always asserted our laws and presence peacefully, yet the province authorized the extra deployment of RCMP against us. Canada and B.C. must answer to this mistruth and absolutely must change its ways.” The B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s executive director, Harsha Walia, declared that the Wet’suwet’en people, as well as B.C. residents, have a right to know the justification for Farnworth’s “unprecedented authorization”. “It is inconsistent for the provincial government to, on the one hand, legislate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as state non-interference in policing operations and, on the other hand, authorize a RCMP deployment aimed at over-policing and criminalizing Indigenous peoples on their own territories,” she said. g

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23RD Annual

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MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 9


NEWS

Cute critters crush creepy-crawlies

S

by Martin Dunphy

ea otters are just adorable, right? Especially baby sea otters. And even though they aren’t listed as “endangered” in Canada anymore, or even “threatened” (they are a species of “special concern”), that doesn’t mean you don’t still want to eat them right up. (Squee!) Same goes for those cute flying squirrels and burrowing owls. The trouble is, all species are unique and deserve protection—especially in the face of increasing threats to their habitats and food sources—but many of them don’t get the attention and resources required for protection because they don’t meet widely held perceptions about what constitutes “cute” or “attractive” in the animal kingdom. We’re not lookin’ at you, reptiles and amphibians. A recent study by the World Wildlife Fund Canada published in the open-access science journal Facets highlights the need for a reversal of those superficial attitudes, at least insofar as the extent to which public pressure on elected officials and others can have an effect on conservation efforts in this country. The study examined 180 species of animals in Canada considered “at risk” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) and assessed their vulnerability to 11 “threat categories” as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The threats range from residential and commercial development to energy production and mining to biological-resource use (hunting, fishing, logging) to pollution and climate change. WWF researcher and study lead Jessica Currie (with help from analyst Valentina Marconi of the Zoological

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People are drawn to help adorable animals, but a study shows that less attractive creatures, like reptiles, are more at risk from humans. Photo by Paxson Woelber

Society of London) found that most at-risk animals were facing, on average, five of the 11 threats studied, whereas reptiles (snakes, lizards, et cetera) and amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and others) were confronted with seven. “From logging to housing to industrial and agricultural development, the impact of humans continues to be felt by nature,” Currie said in a February 6 WWF release. “There’s still time to reverse the decline of wildlife, but we must be deliberate. As species are threatened by numerous compounding pressures, conservation action must address multiple threats at once.” Wood turtles, threatened in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, faced nine of the 11 threat categories and were among the most besieged animals of all the 180 analyzed. In B.C. and its coastal waters, the desert nightsnake, the leatherback sea turtle, the sharp-tailed snake, the northern leopard frog, the Oregon spotted frog, and the

western tiger salamander are all endangered, the most serious category before extirpation. Threatened B.C. reptile and amphibian species include the Great Basin gopher snake, the western yellow-bellied racer, the western rattlesnake (responsible for only one reported human death during the past 40 years), the western painted turtle, the Rocky Mountain tailed frog, and the coastal giant salamander. The special-concern category for the province contains such examples as the northern rubber boa, the western skink, the coastal tailed frog, the wandering salamander, and the western toad. So the next time someone asks you to sign a petition to save a cute, furry mammal, ask about the Rocky Mountain tailed frog. And when next you see an article about threatened owls or marmots (all valid concerns, of course), send an email or post a comment requesting the same for the desert nightsnake or the western tiger salamander. g

#GOLDENPLATES2020


COMMENTARY

Wet’suwet’en reveal Canada’s racism

C

by Pamela Palmater

anada has reached a tipping point. Over the past month, cracks have started to show in its levers of power over Indigenous peoples. The refusal of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s hereditary leaders and clan members to bow to corporate pressure from Coastal GasLink and its pipeline plans in northern B.C. has shone a light on the legal infrastructure of violence and oppression of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It’s happening right before our eyes. After centuries of broken treaties and empty promises, patience has worn out. What was once hidden from Canadians by politicians and mainstream media has now been laid bare for all to see. The Wet’suwet’en have changed everything. Canadians can no longer say they are in the dark about this country’s unlawful disregard of Indigenous rights. There have been many acts of resistance by Indigenous Nations since confederation. In this decade, Idle No More swept across Turtle Island beginning in 2012. The aggressive legislative agenda against Indigenous rights and environmental protections waged by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper sparked protests across the country, even as the hunger strike on Parliament Hill of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence brought national attention to the deplorable housing and living conditions on First Nations reserves. This was not just an Indigenous movement. As in today’s actions in support of the Wet’suwet’en, Canadians from all backgrounds joined in marches, teach-ins, rallies, and round dances. The trains stopped running back then, too.

The actions lasted for months and attracted worldwide attention like never before to the grave human-rights abuses on First Nations reserves. Unions, antipoverty and human-rights groups, environmental organizations, and other community-based groups, including Black Lives Matter, joined the marches in the streets. The round dances and blockades would eventually end, but the movement carried on behind the scenes. Indigenous peoples continued to seek peaceful and negotiated solutions over questions of shared resources. Canada has had many opportunities since Idle No More to step up and address these long-standing issues. It was dragged kicking and screaming before the courts, humanrights tribunals, and treaty bodies of the United Nations and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to account for its failures. But Canada has made few substantive efforts to address Indigenous self-determination and land rights. Some Indigenous peoples saw a change in rhetoric. The Conservative government’s antagonistic attitude toward First Nations was replaced by the Liberals’ more positive tone. A renewed nation-to-nation relationship was promised, and there was a glimmer of hope. But any real remaining faith for reconciliation was dealt a serious blow when the Liberal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in 2018—and the costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have increased to more than $12 billion. Those billions could have been used to make good on the Liberals’ promises to provide clean drinking water and critically needed housing in First Nations com-

Pamela Palmater is a First Nations lawyer and a professor at Ryerson .

munities, as well as to address longstanding land-claims issues. Still, Canada presented the façade of reconciliation. National Aboriginal organizations were enlisted to support the government’s agenda. Indigenous peoples continued to extend their hands in seeking peaceful and negotiated solutions to shared resources. But without any substantive government action on Indigenous rights, the socioeconomic conditions of Indigenous peoples only got worse. The list of transgressions is a long one. Canada failed to abide by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders directing it to end discrimination against First Nations children in foster care, and then refused to take urgent action on the finding of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that it was guilty of ongoing genocide. All the multiple overlapping social crises resulted in ever-higher rates of depression, anxiety, and youth suicide, which are among the

highest in the world. This trauma was layered on top of the intergenerational grief from residential schools, forced sterilizations, Indian Act control of communities, and forced poverty. The final, fatal blow came earlier this month, when the RCMP was sent into Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce Coastal GasLink’s courtordered injunction. It was as if the RCMP were acting not only as agents of the state but as the personal security force for Coastal GasLink. While the RCMP removed and detained journalists at one checkpoint, in an obvious effort to discourage any media coverage, there were enough pictures and videos from inside the camp to show the world what was happening—and the world reacted. In a rare move, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada to stand down and put a freeze on all major projects without Indigenous consent. The UN also called for the removal of the RCMP and their weapons from Wet’suwet’en territory. They know what we know—reconciliation can’t happen at gunpoint. The calls were echoed by numerous First Nations and nongovernmental organizations, just like during Idle No More. But this time, the calls were matched with strategic actions on the ground. Canada’s invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory sparked nationwide rallies, marches, and occupations of highways, bridges, intersections, railways, ports, legislatures, and ministers’ offices. Government and pipeline officials responded with their usual communications in praise of the economic value of pipeline projects to Indigenous peoples.

They referenced confidential agreements signed by band councils along the route as proof of consent. They portrayed Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders as rogues and invoked the infamous “rule of law” to justify the actions of the RCMP. But none of them had been paying attention. Some mainstream-media commentators fell into the same trap, resorting to alarmist language around the protests, despite the fact that all were peaceful. Their attempts to vilify those taking action as “thugs” inspired even more actions by all Canadians. Rail lines were blocked in the United States and protests took place outside Canadian embassies in a number of countries. People now realize that they hold the real power and that when they choose to exercise that power, they can have a major impact on the status quo, disrupting unlawful government actions and corporations by hitting them where it hurts. Although it may involve some degree of political conflict and may at times feel uncomfortable, that is how every society in human history has advanced. No positive change in human society has ever come about without struggle. We should all be thankful for this struggle as it represents the fight to protect Indigenous rights, the very same rights that will ultimately protect our collective future. We should embrace this moment as an opportunity to work together to ensure social justice for all. There’s no going back to business as usual. g Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen member of Eel River Bar First Nation and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

23RD Annual

2020

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Sun-grown cannabis can be exceptional. Photo by Matteo Paganelli/Unsplash

egenerative no-till farming. Biodynamic farming. Permaculture. These Earthsaving farming techniques— once considered fringe agricultural movements for overly hopeful individuals, a.k.a. hippies—are now seeing a rapid rise in popularity. Not surprisingly, cannabis farmers are at the forefront of this “new” wave of eco-savvy farming, together with some of the world’s top coffee and wine producers. This makes sense, as terroir—a term traditionally used to describe all aspects of a grapevine’s environment—is a crucial factor in shaping the unique characteristics that a particular grape genetic will express, and the same goes for coffee, cannabis, and many other agricultural products over which humans obsess. Taking care of the environment as a long-term asset is perhaps more obviously a wise choice for such competitive niche agricultural sectors than for growers of, say, cucumbers or broccoli. This is why these sectors provide a unique opportunity for farmers to test regenerative-farming models for large-scale projects, providing irrefutable proof of concept necessary to change the minds of policymakers so that we can initiate a global transformation in farming culture. But are we still in time? Modern large-scale farming techniques have up to now been one of the most destructive forces against nature on this planet, but many of us are still arguing about whether it’s worth spending the extra money to get better food. I think most of us are missing the point. So what’s so wrong with tilling soil? Haven’t humans been farming this way since time immemorial? Yes, we have. But since humans started this practice on a large scale, we have also been devastating ecosystems faster than ever before—and with permanent effect. Clear-cutting and tilling earth will, inescapably, deplete biodiversity and soil fertility over time. As water retention, soil fertility, and biodiversity decrease, modern farmers tend to use pesticides and fertilizers that poison our river, lake, and ocean ecosystems in order to make crops more viable. The combination of all these factors makes large-scale agriculture the single most environmentally destructive human industry on Earth. Let’s take a step back and think about that: the worst of all human activities when it comes to environmental damage is not mining or oil extraction but just regular ol’ farming. Somehow this fact gets lost in an ocean of more visible eco-campaigns, like “stop the oilsands” or “save the whales”. Not that these are not worthy causes, but perhaps many of us eco-minded folks have not tallied the math far enough down to even realize that there will be no whales to save if we do not change what we are doing on land. And right quick. Thankfully, regenerative-farming activists have always been there. They are just busy farming—dedicating their lives to actively creating the proof of concept that we so desperately need to win hearts and minds. To them, these farming methods have always been about so much more than just pleasing chefs and getting

a higher price for their produce. Now is the time to set aside the self-focused argument of whether or not organic farms actually make “better quality” agricultural products and to come to terms with the fact that 2020 must be the year that humans realize as a global community that a dramatic change in our agricultural sector will be crucial for the survival of the human race. And going organic is only the first step in the right direction! Many people don’t realize that standard industrial organic farming methods still come with the drawback of having to sometimes clear-cut old growth and then repeatedly till the earth in order to combat weeds. No-till methods use cover crops—like clover, alfalfa, and buckwheat—that are rolled into the earth as a natural form of controlling weeds while also restoring vital nutrients and microbial life to the soil. These methods are already used by some organic and even some nonorganic farmers, but they are still being perfected for most large-scale industrial-farming applications. Fully organic no-till farming would effectively put an end to the ongoing deterioration of soil and water systems caused by current farming techniques, so every chance to prove the worth of these methods provides a small push in the right direction. BUT BEFORE WE get too excited about how no-till cannabis growers are going to save the world, let’s take a hard look at where our mainstream cannabis sector is today in terms of sustainability. If I were to assign an overall grade to players in this industry as it stands today, I would definitely flunk most companies, three times over. There is one resounding reason for this: not only are most Canadian licensed producers (LPs) using nonorganic farming methods but they are also growing almost exclusively indoors. Large-scale indoor production is by far the most environmentally detrimental, wasteful, and costly of all farming methods, but it endures as the standard in the Canadian cannabis sector, not only because of our lovely weather but also because many misguided souls still believe that this is the only way to grow high-quality cannabis. Before we debunk that myth, let’s assess the true extent of the damage of indoor growing. A single 5,000-square-foot indoor grow room can easily consume up to 45,000 kilowatt-hours of power per month, due to all of the lights and environmental controls required. To put that into perspective: an average home in B.C. uses about 10,000 kilowatt-hours per year! And keep in mind that a single LP will have dozens, if not hundreds, of times this square footage of grow space. There are hundreds of approved LPs in Canada, with hundreds more coming. Ouch—sounds like we will need to build a lot more of those “green” hydroelectric facilities. Unfortunately, excessive power use is not the only issue with growing indoors. Indoor production is traditionally thought to be best suited see page 14


MARCH 12  MARCH 23

M O E S H O M E . C A | 17 2 8 G L E N D R I V E | 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 9 0 . M O E S MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 13


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for hydroponic—soil-free medium— settings. For this reason, LPs tend to opt for peat-based, “rock wool”, or other growing mediums that are often discarded with every harvest. These discarded mediums contribute thousands of tons of garbage to our landfills every year. Rock wool, for example, is incredibly popular as a growing medium despite the fact that it is nonreusable and noncompostable. On the other hand, discarding compostable peat-based mediums creates a neverending demand for peat that threatens natural peatlands ecosystems. But the story is not all bad. Health Canada is doing a good job of regulating “runoff”—a term used to describe wastewater that often contains fertilizers—to prevent licensed production sites from polluting our waterways. Home growers that do not face regulation need to join this fight by opting for hydroponic systems that avoid runoff or by installing a water-treatment unit. Hydroponic methods can yield incredibly high quality while also being very sustainable, when done right. Rock wool is not the only way to do hydroponic, and discarding peat-based mediums is not always necessary. Many ecologically aware hydroponic producers already know about these potential advantages and are running their systems accordingly. Sun-grown cannabis is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to innovators like Tantalus Labs, which is actively showing the Canadian market that you can actually grow high-quality cannabis outdoors, under the sun. For those of us from the tropics, this is not news, but it is nice to see Canadian companies proving this to consumers. Soon there will be LPs showing Canadian consumers that with the right genes and growing and processing techniques—like light-deprivation and cold-cure methods— outdoor production sites can also yield incredibly high quality, even in our beloved Canadian weather. If you are in the biz and reading this, thinking, “This guy is crazy; of course indoor is always better than outdoor!” well, you probably just don’t have enough experience smoking properly acclimated outdoor cannabis that has been cured to perfection. And that, my Canadian compadres, is not your fault. I forgive you. Seriously, though, if you get a chance, grow some Texada Timewarp

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outdoors on the B.C. coast and then try growing it indoors and tell me if indoor is always better than outdoor. Quality outdoor is all about having acclimated genes and proper curing; thankfully, many of the up-andcoming LPs and microproducers are well aware of this fact. If you think about it, this move to the outdoors is really the moment that cannabis gets to decide what side of history it is on. Will it be one more crop contributing to the collapse of our environment, or will it be a crop pushing us to reconsider business as usual? Well, part of the issue there is that it is not entirely on LPs and micros to allow for these changes to take root in our sector. Regulations surrounding biological-contaminant parameters will have to be loosened, because currently Canada regulates cannabis as if it were a pharmaceutical drug rather than what it is, which is a plant. This has made it very difficult for organic growers to pass quality inspections— that is, until Whistler came along. The first LP to crack the puzzle of how to grow fully organic cannabis using only the limited set of Health Canada–approved growing mediums, fertilizers, and pesticides was Whistler, followed by TGOD (The Green Organic Dutchman) and, recently, Rubikon, which hails from the same team that started Whistler. I have not tried TGOD, but both Whistler and Rubikon deliver some of the best buds ever seen in the legal space, in my opinion. Like Tantalus, these ecofriendly trailblazers deserve accolades for doing what many said was impossible and helping to set the bar higher for the rest of us. And, no, organic does not always mean higher quality—it has to be done right. But doing it right requires all sorts of products that are simply not an option for the Canadian LP. Health Canada needs to approve more of the compost-based mediums, naturalsoil amenities, and the beneficial bugs, microbes, and fungi needed to apply and develop organic notill farming methods further. We must demand that our government get behind the organic no-till movement and create policies that act on the realization that this is about more than just having quality produce, weed, wine, or coffee. This is about survival. g

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BOOKS

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RECKONING: JOURNALISM’S LIMITS AND POSSIBILITIES

By Candis Callison and Mary Lynn Young. Oxford University Press, 288 pp, softcover

d WHEN A LARGE crowd of sympathizers with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs surrounded the B.C. legislature on February 11, shutting down the morning session, there was palpable indignation from some white male journalists and white male politicians. Some of the media coverage and many comments on Twitter practically screamed “How dare they?” to this act of civil disobedience on behalf of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. These chiefs maintained—and their many supporters agreed—that their unceded traditional territory had been “invaded” by the RCMP, who were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction obtained by a pipeline company. Over the next few days, British Columbians heard a lot of talk about the “rule of law”. There was also an onslaught of coverage in the corporate media about “good Indians”—i.e., those hardworking people who support the pipeline project and are financially benefiting from it—and “bad Indians” and their allies, i.e., those “layabouts”, who were blocking roads, ports, and railways, including the West Coast Express commuter rail service, in solidarity with hereditary chiefs. Some of the harshest criticism was visited on a white “apostate”, Victoria councillor Ben Isitt, who openly sided with the hereditary chiefs. In a telling moment, Premier John Horgan, told reporters that his thoughts about Isitt were “unprintable”. One of the most memorable media images—played on TV again and again—featured Chrissy Brett, who was born into the Nuxalk Nation, which is based on B.C.’s Central Coast, and who was adopted out in the Sixties Scoop. Brett was seen shoving a feather in the face of a white woman, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, preventing her from going to work. Corporate-media coverage of the blockade at the legislature was mostly devoid of any mention of historical injustices that have created such an unlevel playing field for Indigenous people in the 21st century. These include the Sixties Scoop, genocidal violence against Indigenous women and girls, the Indian Act, the theft of Indigenous land, and abusive churchrun residential schools created under state policy. There was no exploration of how Brett’s history might have led her to the legislature that day. All of this media coverage unfolded as I was in the midst of reading White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White

UBC scholars Candis Callison and Mary Lynn Young explore the limits of objectivity in their recently released book, Reckoning.

People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. In it, the U.S.–based academic explores how race profoundly shapes the lives of white people—and the multitude of ways in which white people avoid acknowledging this. “The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual intentional acts committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic,” DiAngelo writes. “To move beyond defensiveness, we have to let go of this common belief.” In that spirit, two UBC associate professors of journalism, Candis Callison and Mary Lynn Young, have written a scholarly new book, Reckoning: Journalism’s Limits and Possibilities, that challenges conventional beliefs about media objectivity. Callison is from the Tahltan Nation and was raised in Vancouver; Young describes herself as a white settler raised in southern Ontario. They posit that the pervasiveness of “white masculinity” in newsrooms has shaped the media’s prevailing notion of objectivity—i.e., “the view from nowhere”. They state that this is “rooted in masculinity’s power to disassociate itself from its implicatedness”, which helps perpetuate perceptions of neutrality in the minds of practitioners. “What we hope becomes clear in this book, with evidence and argumentation, is that what journalists think happened is deeply related to who they are and where they’re coming from in broad and specific senses—and that there are multiple truths and perspectives that contribute to understanding what ‘really’ happened,” Callison and Young write. “Recognizing individual and collective social and historical location needs to become part of the methodology for journalists in order to situate themselves, their knowledge, and expertise within a wider web of relations and entanglements.” They also make a convincing case that journalism has done a great deal of

Books HOT TICKET SINCE ITS LAUNCH four years

ago, the annual Growing Room festival has been on a roll—owing, at least in part, to the bewildering fact that it remains the only feminist literary fest in North America. And the momentum keeps building. This year’s edition, running from March 11 to 15 at venues around town, widens its scope to include not only poets, novelists, and essayists, but also musicians, comedians, filmmakers, and dancers—the makings of a full-tilt, all-encompassing arts festival, in other words. Here are just a couple of the highlights on the complete schedule available at festival.roommagazine.com/.

SOMETHING FUNNY (March

12 at the Fox Cabaret) Humour writing meets its extroverted cousin standup comedy for a boisterous evening featuring everyone from author-podcaster Dina Del Bucchia to storytellercomedian Soo Jeong.

harm through the decades by reinforcing colonialism and gendered structures. And they highlight research demonstrating, in stark terms, the underrepresentation of minority journalists in North American newsrooms. “Racialized young journalists are 17% less likely than white young journalists to get a steady job within a year of being in the job market,” Callison and Young write. “And as the economic crisis in commercial journalism continues (in this case, declines in ad revenues, downsizing, and restructuring of news organizations), the percentage of minorities across news organizations is beginning to decline.” Reckoning is not an easy book to read—it is a meticulously footnoted

INDIGENOUS BRILLIANCE (March 15 at the Beaumont Studios) For the last two years, the local reading series of the same name has reflected the storytelling powers of Indigenous women and Two-Spirit and Indigequeer people. This allday showcase (starting at 1 p.m., ending at 9) displays the full reach of those powers through poetry, visual art, sound, film, and more.

THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST: BOUNDLESS FORMS (March 15

at the Native Education College) World-building is the declared theme of Growing Room 2020, and this event is out to show how the worlds we make from stories can take on surprising new shapes when the art of memoir fuses with sculpture, music, and poetry. Moderator Jocelyn Tennant will be joined by Aimee Louw, Aisha Sasha John, Alex Leslie, and Carleigh Baker. g

academic treatise, after all, based on five years of research. In addition, there’s tremendous attention paid to epistemology. I, for one, have real difficulty with the authors’ canonization of U.S. writer Janet Malcolm after reading U.S. author Joe McGinniss’s rebuttal to her attack on him in her book, The Journalist and the Murderer. I also question why Callison and Young devote an entire chapter to the local media startup Discourse. But these are trifling concerns in comparison to the book’s many strengths. There’s an illuminating exploration into the growing impact of Indigenous journalism, showcasing efforts of several leaders and their views on what constitutes objectivity. There’s also a

deep dive into how the Toronto Star’s notion of objectivity clashed with former bimonthly columnist Desmond Cole’s idea of community service. Cole, a brilliant chronicler of racial injustice, had to choose between writing for the newspaper and engaging in activism to advance black liberation. Readers can’t help but wonder if the media’s notion of objectivity is, in itself, racist—or, at the very least, highly exclusionary. Especially if this “view from nowhere” ends up marginalizing someone of Cole’s immense talent. Callison and Young are proponents of recognizing the reality of “situated knowledge”—that journalism is always produced from somewhere, and that this “can be a form of expertise rather than a bias”. They suggest that Indigenous journalists’ perspectives can provide them with better insights into the effects of climate change on humanity and the natural world. Similarly, white, middle-class and upper-middle-class male journalists can bring their own frames of reference to the table, as demonstrated by the way the Indigenous-led resistance to the Coastal GasLink project has been portrayed. Reckoning also serves as a wake-up call to media scholars and executives who’ve tended to link the industry’s financial crisis to technological advancements and social media rather than to its embedded structural inequality. Callison and Young portray the proliferation of digital-media startups as a positive counterweight to the corporate media, which is largely overseen by white men and which primarily delivers content to the dominant culture. Given the reality and pervasiveness of white fragility, the ideas presented in Reckoning may encounter resistance not only in the media, but also in the academy. Yet as Robin DiAngelo has written in her penetrating book, interrupting racism takes courage and intentionality. This is the core of Reckoning—and is what makes it such an important contribution to journalism studies. It also interrupts institutional sexism. “To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs white people to be really nice and carry on, smile at people of color, be friendly across race, and go to lunch together on occasion,” DiAngelo states in the conclusion of White Fragility. “I am not saying that you shouldn’t be nice. I suppose it’s better than being mean. But niceness is not courageous. “Niceness will not get racism on the table and will not keep it on the table when everyone wants it off.” Bring it on, Callison and Young seem to be saying in Reckoning. Let’s hash it out, reveal our strengths and our blind spots, and not be afraid of the consequences. Isn’t that what journalism is supposed to be all about? g

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HOROSCOPES

W

MARCH 12 TO 18, 2020

by Rose Marcus

e may not be done with COVID-19, the oil crisis, or the domino of fear that plagued the stock market earlier in the week, but Friday/Saturday, the stars set a good backdrop for shifting the attention onto life’s reward category and the things that you can control. God knows, we could all use a break! The start of spring break or time off is ideally timed. What is it that you don’t usually have time for? Why not find time for it this weekend? Dive deep into the parts of your life that can provide the best the moment has to offer. As of Monday, Mercury advances into Pisces. Through month’s end, Mercury will reclaim the ground it lost during the recent retrograde cycle. It won’t leave Pisces until April 10, so know it is wise to continue to be vigilant regarding health and safety. A last-quarter moon begins the spring-break week. St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday) and Wednesday, the moon in Capricorn keeps it under good control. Wednesday can prove to be the most productive day of the week. It’s also a good day to tend to anything official and/or to call it a wrap. Make the most of the here and now while the stars keep it relatively smooth-running. Next week is sandwiched between big stars earlier in the month and the next activation period, which will arc over the last two weeks of the month and the first 10 days of next month. Marking the sun’s entrance into Aries, the spring equinox happens on Thursday (8:50 p.m. PDT). Watch for the action to pick up, thanks not only to the sun in Aries but also to Mars in Capricorn, on the move with Jupiter on Friday and a power surge with Pluto next weekend.

A

ARIES

March 20–April 20

You’ll have no trouble getting a jump-start on spring break this weekend. Saturday night sets a good backdrop for an early St. Pat’s celebration. To Wednesday, it’s mostly a smooth sail. Returning to Pisces on Monday, Mercury keeps it flowing well. Over the next few weeks, you’ll get a better feel regarding the potential and what is your highest and best interest.

B

TAURUS

April 20–May 21

The end of the week can see you make a good turnaround. Friday/Saturday, your powers of observation and persuasion are at peak. Go by feel and trust your intuition. Set mind and/or heart into action and you stand to gain. Regaining Pisces on Monday, Mercury will continue to stir up fresh opportunity for the next three weeks. Wednesday onward, the pace picks up.

C

GEMINI

May 21–June 21

Friday/Saturday, the stars dish up as good as it gets. Sunday to Tuesday, stick to what’s easy and simple. Ease up on the rules or the mustdo list. Mercury in Pisces, starting Monday, is a good transit for a vacation and/or going with the flow. As of Wednesday/Thursday, the stars are on an energy perk-it-up. You will see more action soon enough!

D

CANCER

June 21–July 22

Whether you are on spring break or not, now through mid–next week, you’ll gain a reprieve from the stars. Friday ends the workweek (and date night) on a strong finish. The Scorpio moon loans you sway. Saturday also keeps you going strong. Starting Monday, Mercury in Pisces gives you more to shoot for. Tuesday/Wednesday, stay ambitious and you’ll make good headway.

E

LEO

July 22–August 23

Friday/Saturday, reward is high on the pick list. You deserve

it! Despite COVID-19, spring break couldn’t be better timed. Sunday to Wednesday, expectations are mostly well met. As of Monday, Mercury returns to Pisces. In coming weeks, the transit can stir up better potentials and help you to regain or rebound. By the end of the week, expect life to pick up more speed.

F

VIRGO

August 23–September 23

There’s no need to worry or to put extra pressure on yourself, especially through mid–next week. Natural foresight is your gift. Trust your inner knowledge and you’ll hit it right. Friday/Saturday and Tuesday/Wednesday, make the most of it and you’ll net good reward. For the next three weeks, Mercury in Pisces will continue to unfold it on a moment-to-moment basis.

G

LIBRA

H

SCORPIO

September 23–October 23

Friday/Saturday, you’ll get full value out of the time you spend and the conversations you have (including the one you have with yourself). Monday to Wednesday are par for the course. Mercury, on the move in Pisces for the next three weeks, will put an added spotlight on health and work. As of next Friday, the stars hit a fresh action track. October 23–November 22

Friday, the Scorpio moon sets a great backdrop for profit, pleasure, and reward. Saturday’s stars are also optimum for the start of spring break, an early St. Pat’s celebration, or a much deserved “own it” weekend. Starting Monday, Mercury in Pisces enhances your creative flow, emotional responsiveness, resourcefulness, and intuitive smarts. Trust your heart. Tuesday/ Wednesday, you’ll get a good handle on it.

I

SAGITTARIUS

November 22–December 21

Friday through Sunday, there is no place better to be than right where you are. As of Monday, Mercury begins a three-week stint in Pisces. Use this transit for a personal or spiritual regroup or creative undertaking, to feel your way along and/or to take more time out to heal. Tuesday/Wednesday, aim for what’s most practical and doable; it shapes up well.

J

CAPRICORN

December 21–January 20

Friday/Saturday brings a welcome shift of attention and momentum. Enjoy it social, one-on-one, or on your own; you’ll hit good as it gets. Next week’s stars are mostly smooth going. Monday to Wednesday, the moon in Capricorn keeps you timing it just right. Mercury in Pisces keeps activities, conversations, and stream of consciousness flowing well.

K

AQUARIUS

January 20–February 18

An early end to the workweek is ideal, but if you can’t do it, know that Friday can be a day of good accomplishment. No matter what you get up to this weekend, it hits the spot just right. The week ahead is mostly easy going too. As of next Friday, the pace/the action picks up again.

L

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PISCES

February 18–March 20

At work and/or at play Friday/Saturday, the stars set you up to reap good reward. Creativity, romance, pleasure, and vacation time are on top of the stars pick list. Mercury revisits Pisces as of Monday, but rather than hit a backtrack, this three-week transit can see you regain better footing, especially Tuesday/Wednesday and next Friday onward. g

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Book a reading or sign up for Rose’s free monthly newsletter at rosemarcus.com/.

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 17


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23RD Annual

2020

18 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


golden plates

“Hotel restaurants” offer dining in style

H

by Gail Johnson

otel restaurants sometimes get a bad rap. Granted, the quality of these dining rooms varies wildly from one to the next; just as with regular restaurants, some are exceptional and some most certainly are not. Vancouver, being the food city it is, however, is home to some fantastic hotel-based places for wining and dining. What exactly is a hotel restaurant? We ask the question, because it seems there’s some confusion. Some, like Hawksworth and Mott 32, are in fact wholly independent businesses that just happen to be situated on hotel property (the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and Trump International Hotel and Tower, respectively). Others, like Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and Notch8 Restaurant and Lounge at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, are fully part of a brand’s operations. Call them what you want: the city’s top “hotel restaurants” are delivering some of Vancouver’s most sublime dining experiences. For those working the line or the floor, being associated with a hotel has its pros and cons. David Hawksworth loves his eponymous restaurant’s location in the heart of Vancouver. However, Rosewood Hotel Georgia employees went on strike earlier this year, picketing outside for 59 days—the longest hotel workers’ strike in the city’s history. His business took a hit, despite it not being officially affiliated with the hotel. It was a situation the chef entrepreneur (who also runs Bel Café at the same address) never anticipated. “It was awful,” Hawksworth says during an afternoon interview with the Straight at the restaurant. “It affected business horrendously. If I was to ever get involved in a hotel again, I would know how to prepare myself businesswise. That was rough. “But there’s so much upside to being where we are,” he’s quick to add. “We have a captive audience. Guests just have to put on their slippers and come down for dinner. That’s fantastic. And, I grew up in Vancouver, and being right on the corner of Howe and Georgia— that’s centre ice.” When Hawksworth thinks of hotel restaurants, places like the Savoy come to mind, the luxury London institution being an establishment he aspires to emulate. At Hawksworth, you might find items prepared with modernist techniques; consider crab-and-prawn toast with celery and green apple dusted with sour cream that’s been frozen by liquid nitrogen—the ingredient ending up looking like powdery snow. But even in the Instagram age of fine dining, he attributes his success to a commitment to the basics—seasonality and provenance—and to a deeper, more personal motivation. “Food is getting better across the globe exponentially faster than ever before,” he says. “Chefs can forget it’s maybe less about tweezers and more about real ingredients. I love working with great products.” What drives him? “Fear of failing,” he says. “School was a nightmare for me. I’m dyslexic. I want to succeed. We’re highly critical of what we do. Vancouver is a tricky place to do business, but it means more to me than anything to do this in Vancouver.” Working at a Fairmont hotel, Notch8 executive chef Dennis Peckham says he sometimes gets asked if he feels boxed in, restricted

Straight readers voted David Hawksworth as chef of the year. He describes the site of his restaurant at West Georgia and Howe as “centre ice”. Photo by Chris Mason Stearns

in terms of ideas in order to align with the international brand. The answer is “Not at all.” “It’s like a painter: just because the canvas is this one size doesn’t mean that a painter can’t do his own work,” Peckham says in an interview in the lounge just as happy – David Hawksworth hour is getting under way. “We’re encouraged to be creative. It doesn’t stifle your creativity; you just find your way within the borders.” Peckham, a Top Chef Canada finalist, describes the approach at wagyu steak frites with red-wine On the other, it boasts the kind of the iconic Vancouver hotel as “ap- jus as an example. On one hand, it’s premium ingredients that so-called proachable sophistication”. Take a simple dish people can relate to. foodies crave. “It’s still sophisticated

Food is getting better across the globe exponentially faster than ever before.

READERS’ f CHOICES CHEF

GASTOWN

SOUTH GRANVILLE

1. DAVID HAWKSWORTH Hawksworth Restaurant 801 West Georgia Street 604-673-7000 2. Kai Leitner Bishop’s 2183 West 4th Avenue 604-738-2025 3. Alessandro Vianello Kitchen Table Restaurants Ktrestaurants.com

1. WATER ST. CAFE 300 Water Street 604-689-2832 2. The Flying Pig 102 Water Street 604-559-7968 3. L’Abattoir (tie) 217 Carrall Street 604-568-1701 3. MeeT (tie) 12 Water Street 604-696-1111

1. JAMJAR 1488 West 11th Avenue 604-733-2211 2. Stable House Bistro 1520 West 13th Avenue 604-736-1520 3. Heirloom 1509 West 12th Avenue 604-733-2231

KITSILANO

1. ESPAÑA 1118 Denman Street 604-558-4040 2. Nook 781 Denman Street 604-568-4554 3. Tavola 1829 Robson Street 604-606-4680

CHINATOWN/STRATHCONA 1. PHNOM PENH RESTAURANT 244 East Georgia Street 604-682-5777 2. Kissa Tanto 263 East Pender Street 778-379-8078 3. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 163 Keefer Street 604-688-0876

COMMERCIAL DRIVE 1. BANDIDAS TAQUERIA 2781 Commercial Drive 604-568-8224 2. Jamjar 2290 Commercial Drive 604-252-3957 3. La Mezcaleria 1622 Commercial Drive 604-559-8226

1. MAENAM 1938 West 4th Avenue 604-730-5579 2. Nook 1525 Yew Street 604-734-3381 3. The Naam Restaurant 2724 West 4th Avenue 604-738-7151

MAIN STREET 1. CHICKPEA 4298 Main Street 604-620-0602 2. MeeT on Main 4288 Main Street 604-696-1010 3. Burgoo, 3096 Main Street 604-873-1441

WEST END

YALETOWN 1. BRIX & MORTAR 1138 Homer Street 604-915-9463 2. Elisa 1109 Hamilton Street 604-362-5443 3. Minami 1118 Mainland Street 604-685-8080

to keep with the brand, but it’s also accessible,” Peckham says. “Anybody staying in the hotel, no matter their culinary knowledge or experience, will find something on the menu that will satisfy them.” Other current dishes Peckham is especially proud of include roasted duck breast with shiso-braised red cabbage, and pickled currants and beets; and sablefish with roasted Delicata squash, pickled mustard seeds, squid ink tuile, and black garlic purée. Both have depth of f lavour and a stunning presentation, “but at the end of the day, they’re simple dishes,” he says. “We push ourselves creatively to build dishes that people will appreciate but not be intimidated by.” Botanist is the first hotel restaurant executive chef Hector Laguna has ever worked at—and he’s loving it. Born in La Estación, a town of about 500 in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, he got his start at a small Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco. He went on to work in Miami with Michelle Bernstein, a James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef of Jewish and Latin descent, who “took his like of cooking to a whole new level” with her enthusiasm and dazzling f lavours. Eventually, Laguna moved to Vancouver via Toronto, joining the crew at Hawksworth before getting a call from the management team at Botanist. He admits he had preconceived notions of hotel dining. “Hotels aren’t known necessarily for their cuisine,” he says. “I came in for a chat with the GM and the executive chef at the time, and we just talked and talked about food and what we like to eat and how they wanted to run Botanist as if it was an independent restaurant. Half an hour turned into two-anda-half hours. It was easy to say yes.” Laguna describes the menu in terms not often heard from top chefs: “It’s happy food.” “I cook what we think is good see next page

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 19


from previous page

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23RD Annual

2020

AFGHAN HORSEMEN RESTAURANT SINCE 1974

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20 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

2020

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23RD Annual

2020

23 RD Annual

food,” he says. “I think of something, I play with it, I use local as much as possible; the farms here are amazing. “They trust us,” he says of the hotel’s higher-ups. “It has to run as a business, but it doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant.” When Mott 32, the upscale Chinese restaurant run by Hong Kong– based Maximal Concepts, opened in conjunction with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in 2017, the only thing that left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths was its association with the hotel’s namesake. In February 2019, the restaurant separated completely from the hotel, and it has since been independently owned and operated. Mott 32 wine director and general manager Robert Stelmachuk says that although some people may have an issue with the hotel, they’re often quickly won over by Mott 32—particularly by the organic, expertly executed Chinese cuisine, including dim sum made fresh to order, Ocean Wise seafood, and Peking duck (Brome Lake fowl produced specifically for the restaurant), and the gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options, all offered with topnotch service and one of the most impressive wine and beverage programs in the city. “I’m in the business of food and beverage, which has no politics,” Stelmachuk tells the Straight during an interview on-site. “The experiences we create here are done in this room by us. The people who dine with us are really quite amazed that this is available to them in Vancouver; there’s nothing like it. The ambiance, the décor, is world-class. The style of service we do is geared to five-starstyle dining; we guide guests and explain dishes to them, we announce food when it’s placed on the table. “We don’t just try to operate Mott 32 as a fine-dining Chinese,” he adds. “We want to be competitive as one of the best restaurants in the city, regardless of the ethnicity of the food we’re serving.” g


GOLDEN PLATES

Industry experts applaud the imaginative Roger Ma by Tammy Kwan

Describing his food simply as “thoughtful and tasty”, Roger Ma likes to draw on Asian cooking’s fondess for sweet, sour, and salty elements. Photo by Leila Kwok

H

e didn’t open a new restaurant in Vancouver this past year, nor is he new to the local culinary industry, but Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar’s executive chef, Roger Ma, has found himself in the limelight after recently returning home with a prestigious accolade. The Vancouver-born-and-raised chef won gold at this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships (CCC), a two-day national cooking competition held last month in Ottawa that was the finale to its regional counterpart, the Great Kitchen Party. The invite-only gastronomic event consists of three parts (mystery wine pairing, the black box, and the grand finale), creating a rigorous mental and physical process that rewards only the most deserving chefs. This achievement may not resonate with people outside the professionalcooking sphere, but local chefs and culinary experts who are familiar with the CCC recognize its magnitude and how challenging it can be, which is why they voted Ma chef of the year in the Georgia Straight’s annual industry-insiders survey of more than 50 chefs, food and beverage directors, and restaurant managers. They often say that being slow and steady wins the race, and those wise words can definitely be used to describe Ma’s journey to culinary success. The 38-year-old Vancouverite originally enrolled in art school, and planned to pursue a career in design. But having grown up in a large Asian family where food was often a focal point at home and at family gatherings, Ma soon realized he wanted to try his hand at cooking for a living, and eventually attended the Dubrulle French Culinary School (the same year it was bought by the Art Institute of Vancouver). “Food has always been a part of me. We would always end up at my grandma’s house on weekends and spend the whole day eating and cooking, and at home my mom would cook a lot of Chinese [food],” Ma told the Straight in a phone interview. “[I] haven’t looked back since deciding to go to culinary school. I really enjoy making people happy through food.” After completing his training, he held positions at Rogers Arena, Umberto Menghi’s former high-end Italian eatery Circolo, and Fifty Two 80 Bistro & Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. It was up at Whistler that Ma made many meaningful connections that got him to where he is today: getting connected with Thomas Haas through his chef Jason McLeod would help pave the way for six years at New York’s Michelin-starred Daniel by Daniel Boulud, and meeting chef Alex Chen (his colleague and mentor at Boulevard) through Dan Olson (Railtown Cafe and Catering) would eventually lead him to his current role.

I always like to have a story behind whatever I make. – Roger Ma

When Ma decided to move back to Vancouver from New York, Chen reached out to him about working together. “At that time in 2013, Boulevard was just a concept the owners were talking about. Alex wanted me to be a part of it [and] I thought it was going to be a great opportunity,” said Ma. “I was a chef de cuisine, and Alex was the executive chef. We did all the concept development, all the recipes, and setting up the restaurant.” Ma acknowledges that Boulevard may have had a sleepy start, but it has since won various awards and become one of the most respected finedining establishments in Vancouver. He helped propel the restaurant to where it stands now by consistently creating dishes that cater to all kinds of palates, by drawing from his training, experiences, and travels, as well as his Asian heritage. “For a lot of Asian food, there’s always that sweet, salty, sour element that a lot of other cuisines don’t really have. It’s nice to kind of apply that, whether it’s French, Italian, or Japanese,” explained Ma. “Having that at the back of your head makes your dishes a little more diverse and unique.” He describes his food as thoughtful and tasty. “I always like to have a story behind whatever I make, either a historical reference or a reason for being on the plate,” said Ma, “whether it’s tradition or inspired by another dish from somewhere else or the circumstances of it.” At the CCC, Ma’s regional qualifier and grand-finale dish was his B.C. Coastal Terroir, which features a unique marrying of flavours and textures like honey-mussel gratinée, foraged bull kelp, sea-urchin custard, Yukon Gold potato, scallion terrine, and shellfish emulsion. The inspiration behind his awardwinning dish was a boat trip that he took with local seafood purveyor Fresh Ideas Start Here. “It was actually very inspiring being out on the boat and just seeing all the kelp floating in the water, and [how] you could literally pull it out and start eating it,” he recalled. The winning dish pays homage to where he’s from, and showcases the progression of his career. Ma’s gold medal was not the first CCC win for Boulevard—Alex Chen

23RD Annual

2020

see page 23

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 21


23RD Annual

2020

22 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


from page 21

also took home the top prize in 2018. With him following in Chen’s footsteps within and beyond the kitchen, one has to wonder if Ma has ever felt the need to break out of his colleague’s shadow. “Him and I, it’s a pretty unique relationship we have. He looks at me as a little brother and I look at him as an older brother,” explained Ma. “For sure, he has a big shadow, but I never felt that I’m trying to make my own voice or something like that. He’s very respectful and supportive of me, so I never felt like at any point I’ve had to fight for my own spotlight. “I just like to keep my head down and work, and focus on my food and make sure the restaurant is running well and guests are happy,” he added. “Those things are more important to me than the spotlight.” While Ma will be busy re-creating his competition dishes for

a special tasting menu running throughout March, he’ll still have love to spare for the classics in Boulevard’s food repertoire, such as the roasted sablefish (with soysake glaze, baby hakurei turnip, and bone-broth emulsion with marinated seaweed). “That’s all I really want to eat on my days off.” Don’t expect the 2020 Canadian culinary champion to diverge from his current path anytime soon. He’s happy where he is, and has no far-fetched plans to open his own restaurant in the near future. But he does have ambitions to turn the establishment where he works into an institution that can survive for decades to come. “I just want to continue to evolve Boulevard and evolve myself as a chef and see where that takes me,” said Ma. “I feel like we’re just getting started for what we can really do, and I’m pretty excited for the next few years.” g

23RD Annual

2020

INDUSTRY f CHOICES CHEF OF THE YEAR

INDIAN

1. ROGER MA Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar 845 Burrard Street 604-642-2900 2. Ricardo Valverde Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio Various locations 3. Joel Watanabe Kissa Tanto 263 East Pender Street 778-379-8078

1. VIJ’S 3106 Cambie Street 604-736-6664 2. Tasty Indian Bistro Various locations 3. Indian Oven 2006 West 4th Avenue 604-730-5069

NEW RESTAURANT 1. PUBLISHED ON MAIN 3593 Main Street 604-423-4840 2. Elisa 1109 Hamilton Street 604-362-5443 3. Oca Pastificio 1260 Commercial Drive

FRENCH 1. LE CROCODILE 100–909 Burrard Street 604-669-4298 2. Au Comptoir 2278 West 4th Avenue 604-569-2278 3. St. Lawrence 269 Powell Street 604-620-3800

ITALIAN 1. SAVIO VOLPE 615 Kingsway 604-428-0072 2. Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca 1133 Hamilton Street 604-688-7466 3. Ask for Luigi (tie) 305 Alexander Street 604-428-2544 3. Oca Pastificio (tie) 1260 Commercial Drive

OTHER EUROPEAN 1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119 2. ¿CóMO? Taperia 201 East 7th Avenue 604-879-3100 3. Autostrada Osteria Various locations

CHINESE 1. BAO BEI CHINESE BRASSERIE 163 Keefer Street 604-688-0876 2. Mott 32 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8886 3. Jade Seafood Restaurant 280–2811 Number 3 Rd., Richmond 604-249-0082

JAPANESE 1. MIKU RESTAURANT 70–200 Granville St. 604-568-3900 2. Yuwa Japanese Cuisine 2775 West 16th Avenue 604-731-9378 3. Masayoshi (tie) 4376 Fraser Street 604-428-6272 3. Kingyo Izakaya (tie) 871 Denman Street 604-608-1677

 1ST BEST 

BRUNCH

KOREAN 1. DAMSO RESTAURANT Various locations 2. Sura Korean Royal Cuisine Various locations 3. Maru Korean Bistro 125 2nd Street East, North Vancouver 604-566-6292

VIETNAMESE 1. ANH AND CHI 3388 Main Streetw 604-878-8883 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia Street 604-734-8898 3. Mr. Red Cafe, Various locations

OTHER ASIAN 1. MAENAM 1938 West 4th Avenue 604-730-5579 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia Street 604-734-8898 3. Sala Thai 102–888 Burrard Street 604-683-7999

LATIN AMERICAN 1. ANCORA WATERFRONT DINING AND PATIO Various locations 2. Chicha Restaurant (tie) 136 East Broadway 604-620-3963 2. Cuchillo (tie) 261 Powell Street 604-559-7585 3. La Mezcaleria, Various locations

AFRICAN 1. HARAMBE ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT 2149 Commercial Drive 604-216-1060 2. Arike Restaurant & Cocktail Bar 1725 Davie Street 604-336-9774 3. Simba’s Grill 825 Denman Street 604-974-0649

23RD Annual

2020

VEGETARIAN 1. THE ACORN RESTAURANT 3995 Main Street 604-566-9001 2. Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant (tie) Various locations 2. MeeT Restaurants (tie) Various locations 3. Burdock & Co, 2702 Main Street 604-879-0077

Thank you for voting us, Vancouver’s

#1 BEST COMFORT FOOD

Best Main Street Neighborhood Restaurant Runner up

CHEAP EATS 1. GUU IZAKAYA Various locations 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia Street 604-734-8898 3. The Dime Various locations

POINT GREY 4434 West 10TH 604.221.7839

NORTH VANCOUVER 3 Lonsdale Ave 604.904.0933

burgoo.ca

MT. PLEASANT 3096 Main St 604.873.1441

KITSILANO 2272 West 4th 604.734.3478

DOWNTOWN 1100 Burrard St 604.416.1444

burgoobistro MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 23


GOLDEN PLATES

Diverse talent thrives in western kitchens

I

by Tammy Kwan

23RD YEAR ANNIVERSARY

THE IRISH HEATHER

210 Carrall Street • 604.688.9779 I R I SH H EATH ER .COM 1ST PLACE - BEST PUB 3RD PLACE - BEST PUB FOOD

13TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY

SALT

45 Blood Alley • 604.633.1912 SALTTASTI NGROOM .COM 3RD PLACE - BEST WINE BAR

18TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY

SHEBEEN WHISKEY HOUSE 210 Carrall St • 604.688.9779 S H E BE E N.CA

2ND PLACE - BEST RESTAURANT FOR A STIFF DRINK

23RD Annual

23RD Annual

2020

2020

Thank you for your votes!

24 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

t’s no secret that most of Vancouver’s restaurant kitchens are diverse: local dining spots usually employ cooks from different backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. But when you look higher up on the rosters of professional kitchens, they’re not always that inclusive. At most “western” fine-dining establishments, most of the executive chefs are male, and most of those men are white. It’s not impossible to find ethnic minorities—some of whom are women—at the helm of such kitchens, but it’s still a rare sight. Some younger chefs who are members of visible minorities, though, believe that their background hasn’t hindered their climb to success in western kitchens. Daniel Kim, 25, is the sous-chef at the upscale Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar. He never went to culinary school, but had a serious passion for cooking and worked his way up. “Being a minority in Vancouver is very hard. There are a lot of Asians; there are a lot of multicultural people,” Kim told the Straight in a phone interview. “Funnily enough, in the restaurant industry, I never thought I was a minority. Being here and being born in Canada, I didn’t feel like I was different from everyone else, except for appearance, like skin colour.” That doesn’t mean it isn’t a hard industry in which to stay, because of long hours and low wages for those on the lower tiers. But he’s never felt like he had to work harder than his white counterparts to get to where he is now. “Of course, there’s [the] degrading part of cooking, where you get yelled at and shouted at, and then you get stuff thrown at you,” Kim said. “But it’s not because I was different or because I was Asian. No one was discriminated because of their skin colour.” Qing Qing An is the pastry chef at Origo Club in Richmond, a highend restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine. She studied pastry at the Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute before moving to Montreal to work at a four-star hotel. She acknowledged that she may not be as proficient in English as colleagues born and raised in Canada, but she never found it hard to secure a job at an upscale restaurant because of her roots. “In my case, every time I send my résumé out, I always get a response, have an interview, and get a job offer,” An told the Straight by phone. “I understand not everyone has had the same experience, [so] that’s why I’m saying I’m lucky.” Like Kim, she believes that nothing else matters in the kitchen other than a passion for cooking. “The first important thing to me is you have to have the patience for what you are doing, then you have to have the right attitude. That’s more important than other stuff,” An said. Although some chefs may have found it easy to work in kitchens where one’s skin colour and gender don’t matter, it isn’t the same for everyone across the board. Masa Mabuchi is the chef at the Five Sails Restaurant at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. An industry veteran, he’s worked at fine-dining establishments for decades. When he first moved to Canada from Japan after being trained in French cooking, he definitely felt like he needed to work harder than his Caucasian colleagues, especially because he spoke barely any English. “Coming from Japan, it was not easy, and I still feel that way sometimes,” Mabuchi told the Straight. “It was challenging at first, but I am confident in my cooking and my skills.” He acknowledges that the culinary scene for professional cooks has gotten better over the years. “As the time passed by, I opened myself to the Canadian culture,” he added. “Everyone was very welcoming, and it still is the case. I feel at home.” His advice to culinary students who are also visible minorities who aspire to work in western kitchens is simple. “Be patient, be humble, and have a

Glowbal sous-chef Karla Contreras (left) began as the only woman in the kitchen, while Origo Club pastry chef Qing Qing An started out at a four-star hotel.

purpose. Work hard; never cease to learn,” Mabuchi said. “Always remember where you come from.” Rebecca Chen is the executive pastry chef at Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio. She was hired immediately after graduating from Granville Island’s Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. When asked about her experience working as a double minority— Asian and female—in a western kitchen, she said it hasn’t been easy. “I have to say that it’s definitely an exercise in trying to overcome people’s first impressions and stereotypes,” Chen told the Straight by phone. “People are always assuming that you’re not from here. A lot of times, they’re like: ‘Oh, you’re actually Canadian and from here.’ ” She noted that in addition to skin colour, female chefs with higher ranks in professional kitchens face challenges purely because of their gender. “I’ve hired people that are supposed to be below me, and they’re white and male, and then I just kind of feel a little bit like, ‘Why do I have to fight so hard to earn [their] respect when they’re working for me?’ ” Chen said. “There are a lot of males I run into, sometimes they are just shocked when they discover I’m a female and I have my own opinions on how I want things run. Some people just don’t know how to deal with that.” She believes that local restaurants are offering more recognition and

opportunities to women—but that there’s still a way to go until both genders are viewed as equals. Mexico-born Karla Contreras has a similar perspective. She started out bussing tables at Glowbal Restaurant before rapidly moving up the ranks to become sous-chef. That was four years ago. “It has been a total challenge, because when I started working there I was the only woman in the kitchen and it was pretty much only guys in the kitchen,” Contreras told the Straight by phone. Like Chen, she’s had to deal with men in the kitchen who didn’t always appreciate that she had a voice. “Most of the cooks are male. Sometimes, having the power and authority [as a female] is not something some people are used to,” Contreras explained. “To earn their respect, you have to show you can do the things [and] show them how you do things your way. So that’s why it has been a little bit challenging.” But when it comes to ethnic backgrounds, she believes there is equality. “Obviously, it’s an environment that is not easy. It’s hard and you have to work long hours. Most of the people think it’s only for tough, rough guys,” Contreras said. “But part of the beauty of this thing is that we, women, can show them that we can do it as well. The mindset for hiring people in the kitchen now is as long as they have the skill, then anyone can join.” g

READERS’ f CHOICES CHINESE

JAPANESE

1. PEACEFUL RESTAURANT Various locations 2. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 163 Keefer Street 604-688-0876 3. Mott 32 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8886

1. MIKU VANCOUVER 70–200 Granville Street 604-568-3900 2. Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 West Broadway 604-872-8050 3. Minami 1118 Mainland Street 604-685-8080

INDIAN 1. VIJ’S 3106 Cambie Street 604-736-6664 2. Sitar Restaurant 8 Powell Street 604-687-0049 3. Silk Lounge 132 Powell Street 778-379-6900

SOUTHEAST ASIAN 1. ANH AND CHI 3388 Main Street 604-878-8883 2. Banana Leaf Various locations 3. Tropika, Various locations

KOREAN

MALAYSIAN 1. BANANA LEAF Various locations 2. Mamalee Malaysian Delight 3144 West Broadway 604-733-8882 3. Tropika Various locations

MIDDLE EASTERN 1. NUBA Various locations 2. Afghan Horsemen Restaurant 202–1833 Anderson Street 604-873-5923 3. East Is East Various locations

PERSIAN

1. SURA KOREAN Various locations 2. Kyo Korean BBQ & Sushi House 2993 Granville Street 604-739-8868 3. So Hyang Korean Cuisine 6345 Fraser Street 604-729-0702

1. CAZBA RESTAURANT Various locations 2. Persian Gulf Restaurant 114 A West 15th Street, North Vancouver 604-971-5113 3. Afghan Horsemen Restaurant 202–1833 Anderson Street 604-873-5923

LEBANESE

THAI

1. NUBA Various locations 2. Jamjar Various locations 3. Wild Thyme 705–12th Street, New Westminster 604-276-8010

1. BOB LIKES THAI FOOD Various locations 2. Maenam 1938 West 4th Avenue 604-730-5579 3. SalaThai Restaurant 102–888 Burrard Street 604-683-7999


MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 25


N N E N I K C NGOLDEN PLATES ER W NER CHI N I D N E N I K ¿CÓMO? charms with flavours of Spain C W I H R C E N I N R D E N N E N I K C W I H NG I NER NNER C D N E I K C W I H C R D NNWeERcluckin’INlove you, vancouver E N N E K C W I H R #2 Best Gluten-Free Friendly ER CFood KEN D INNE #3 BestINComfort N C W I H R C E WINN R WINNER HICKEN @jukefriedchicken /jukefriedchicken C E N R N E I N W N I W NER by Gail Johnson

jukefriedchicken.com | 182 Keefer StreeT

Thank

yo

u,

Va 1074 Davie Street @beetboxveg

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ncouver!

#3 Best New Restaurant #3 Best Vegan-Friendly

rowing up in “landlocked” Nelson, B.C., Justin Wichter dreamed of seeing the world after he graduated from culinary school in Vancouver. He got a job cooking on a cruise ship and visited places in Australia, Asia, Europe, and beyond. The experience piqued his love of travel, his favourite place to go proving to be the home of tapas and sangria. “I love Spain,” the executive chef of ¿CóMO? Taperia tells the Straight. “I love the simplicity of the food. You don’t need to do much to it; the ingredients are so good they speak for themselves. There’s no better ham in the world than Iberico ham. There’s no better nut than Marcona almonds. Pair them with sherry and you’re set. “It’s simple, but Spanish people also play with their food,” he adds. “Italy or France don’t stray from what they do too much; you don’t fuck with a spaghetti vongole. It is what it is. It’s tried and true and super good. In Spain they really experiment more. So many chefs think outside the box. It’s cool that they’re so progressive.” With his long-standing love of all things Spanish, it’s no wonder the Vancouver Community College grad got excited when bartender Shaun Layton (previously of L’Abattoir) and Meat & Bread cofounder Frankie Harrington told him about the tapas restaurant and bar they wanted to open on Main Street. From the moment it launched, ¿CóMO? has bedazzled diners. This year, it earned the title of Best New Restaurant in the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates. The eatery was also named the second-best new restaurant in Canada last year by enRoute magazine—the only Vancouver establishment to make the list. For Wichter, the accolades have been overwhelming. “It’s been a whirlwind,” he says. “Even when I thought about it being at its absolute best, I didn’t imagine it would be like this. It’s pretty cool. “It’s not just good food, but good drinks and good atmosphere,” he says of the team’s vision. “You can come and have a quick drink and a quick bite at the bar, have a glass of sherry and meet your friends before having dinner reservations somewhere else,” he says. “We have people who do that. Of course, we want them to have dinner here, but we really want people to talk to each other. What inspired me about restaurants in Barcelona was that within an hour, we knew everyone around us; we were eating off other people’s plates. It was so cool. ¿CóMO? is something new for Vancouver.” Wichter got his start in the industry right after high school, when he got a job as a dishwasher at a small Mexican restaurant in his hometown. “I had to pay snowboarding bills,” he says with a laugh. He worked his way up the ranks before taking on a role at an Italian restaurant. At 20, he moved to Vancouver for his culinary training. After his cruise-ship stint came more work and more travel, including time at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Melbourne, which employed marginalized youths; there, he learned patience. He had a gig at the Wedgewood Hotel, where then executive chef Lee Parsons helped unleash his creativity. Then it was back to Aus-

Executive chef Justin Wichter formed his love of Spanish cooking on a cruise ship. Today, he appreciates its simplicity and playfulness. Photo by Rich Won

tralia, where he worked with hospitality company Atlantic Group, cooking for visiting world leaders and royalty. After nearly four years, Wichter was back on the West Coast, battling it out with two other chefs vying for a position with the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. Each had to spend a day cooking to prove their chops. He won, Eventually, a mutual friend introduced him to Layton and Harrington, who share a deep appreciation for Spanish cuisine and culture and the way they’re deeply intertwined. “We wanted it to be authentic—to make croquettes like your tavern croquettes from Spain,” Wichter says. The menu features classic items like patatas bravas, goat-cheese stuffed peppers, and bikini sandwiches with jamón and Manchego cheese. Then

READERS’ f CHOICES NEW RESTAURANT 1. ¿CÓMO? TAPERIA 201 East 7th Avenue 604-879-3100 2. Ugly Dumpling 1590 Commercial Drive 604-258-0005 3. Beetbox 1074 Davie Street 604-233-8269

ROMANTIC 1. MOTT 32 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8886 2. Seasons in the Park Queen Elizabeth Park (West 33rd at Cambie) 604-874-8008 3. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119

CASINO RESTAURANT 1. HONEY SALT (PARQ VANCOUVER) 39 Smithe Street 778-370-8200 2. The Victor (Parq Vancouver) 39 Smithe Street 778-370-8600 3. Tramonto (River Rock Casino Resort) 8811 River Rd, Richmond 604-247-8573

COFFEE CHAIN 1. JJ BEAN COFFEE ROASTERS Various locations 2. Waves Coffee House Various locations 3. Blenz, various locations

THANK YOU FOR VOTING 23RD Annual

2020

AS BEST ASVANCOUVER’S VANCOUVER’S BEST MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT 26 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

there are more daring dishes like arroz negro: black rice with squid ink, squid, prawn, dashi, smoked paprika tempura crunch, and aioli; and a recent special of uni foam with hot smoked paprika, spot prawns, and squid-ink focaccia. The bar offers selections not easily found on this side of the Atlantic: Spanish vermouth on tap, for instance, as well as an extensive selection of Spanish beer, sherry, and cava by the glass. There’s an entire section dedicated to gin and tonics. Wichter says people often ask if another restaurant is in the works; perhaps, he says, but the team is in no rush to expand. “We want to be true to our work here,” he says. “Maybe we’ll slowly branch out, but for now we want to continue to make people happy." g

INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOP 1. REVOLVER COFFEE 325 Cambie Street 604-558-4444 2. Matchstick Coffee Roasters Various locations 3. Pallet Coffee Roasters Various locations

TEAHOUSE 1. SECRET GARDEN TEA COMPANY 2138 West 40th Avenue 604-261-3070 2. Neverland Tea Salon 3066 West Broadway 604-428-3066 3. TWG Tea Salon & Boutique 1070 West Georgia Street 604-336-1070

DOUGHNUT 1. CARTEMS DONUTS Various locations 2. Lucky’s Doughnuts Various locations 3. Lee’s Donuts 122–1689 Johnston Street, Granville Island 604-685-4021

JUICE BAR 1. THE JUICE TRUCK 2. Glory Juice Co. 3. Jugo Juice

FOOD TRUCK 1. TACOFINO 2. Chickpea Food Truck 3. Mom’s Grilled Cheese


Grazie Vancouver! Celebrating 20 years of serving homemade pasta on the Drive. 23RD Annual

2020

1404 Commercial Drive 604.215.7760 marcellopizzeria.com

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 27


         





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Thanks for Voting us

#1 Best Persian Restaurant! Six Years in a Row

— Downtown —

1103 Davie Street — North Vancouver —

132 16th Street West & Capilano Mall 935 Marine Drive

— Coquitlam —

Coquitlam Center Mall 2929 Barnet Hwy. — Burnaby —

Lougheed Mall 9855 Austin Ave.

— Brentwood Mall (Opening Soon) —

4567 Lougheed Hwy.

cazbarestaurant.com 28 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

GOLDEN PLATES

Not an Ugly farm-to-table Asian eatery

C

by Tammy Kwan

hef Darren Gee wants to make one thing clear: his restaurant, Ugly Dumpling, is not a dumpling house. Granted, it does serve dumplings, but the house-made comfort food is not the main focus of its menu. It’s a common misconception that the young restaurateur is still trying to work around, but he chose the name because it’s fun and spontaneous, in a way that’s similar to the food that he makes. “You’d be amazed how many people walk in here, look at the menu, and leave, because it’s not a dumpling house,� Gee told the Straight in an interview at his Commercial Drive eatery. “It’s not a Chinese restaurant, it’s not a Japanese restaurant. It’s whatever I feel like making that day.� There’s a reason why Ugly Dumpling was voted the 2020 Golden Plates runner-up for best new restaurant by Georgia Straight readers—Gee makes tasty food that extends beyond the Chinese-style comfort dish in a fuss-free, neighbourhood-style setting. After completing a six-month course at Granville Island’s Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, he went on to work at some dining establishments around Vancouver. He held a position at Farmer’s Apprentice for a long time, which he credits as a strong influence on how he works with ingredients and creates food at his own restaurant today. But opening his own brick-andmortar spot wasn’t the first thing that came to his mind. “When I was thinking about opening a place, it was not really because I wanted to, but there wasn’t really anywhere else that I wanted to cook at the time,� explained Gee. “I guess the next logical step was just to do what I wanted to do. Cook food that I wanted to eat, and hopefully other people wanted to eat it too.� For those who want to get a better grasp of what kind of culinary creations come out of Ugly Dumpling’s kitchen, it’s simple: it depends on what ingredients get delivered to Gee daily or weekly. “Our menu is very much ingredient-based. The most important thing about food for me is how it’s grown and where it comes from,� he explained. “We don’t have an account with GFS [Gordon Food Service] or FreshPoint. We only use small farms, we do whole-animal butchery. “We put a lot of time and effort into our sourcing. And then when we have these great ingredients, it’s really just not to screw them up too much. So the food is very, very simple, often just, like, two or three ingredients,� added Gee. He also built a small garden on the patio meant for more seating, which perpetuates his culinary philosophy of local, seasonal, and organic. Since the menu changes so often, there’s no static menu page on Ugly Dumpling’s website. Instead, Gee makes sure that the daily features and specials are posted to its Instagram account. On the day Gee spoke to the Straight, the menu consisted of duckfat scallion pancake, house-cured ikura (salmon roe) on grated daikon, steamed ling cod and kabocha squash in black-bean sauce, B.C. uni (sea urchin) on sushi rice, and braised duck leg with mustard-soy gravy and celeriac slaw, among others. “If we were to compress it into one statement that would be semiaccurate, I think we settled on farmto-table Asian restaurant,� said Gee, when asked how he would categorize his cuisine. Although Gee emphasized that he doesn’t run a dumpling house, he acknowledges that pretty much all of his guests order dumplings, which is why the flavours change every couple of days. “There are infinite combinations of dumplings you can make. Some of them are just classics, sometimes

Ugly Dumpling places an emphasis on keeping things simple. Photo by Leila Kwok

You’d be amazed by how many people‌ leave because it’s not a dumpling house – Ugly Dumpling owner Darren Gee

they are just experiments,� said Gee. “Pork and cabbage, and pork and chive, come back often.� Besides food, guests will also find a very lengthy selection of libations. “Food and drink should go hand in hand, I think. We have a very diverse bar program,� he added. “Our wine is shifting toward more farm-focused producers, so it will align more with the concept and ideology of our food— how it’s grown and the quality and care that’s taken for the planet.� The drinks menu includes sake,

craft beer, wine, cocktails, and sherry—the last of which Gee believes goes well with food that is hard to pair with wine, such as dishes with very intense, fishy, or spicy flavours. Ugly Dumpling opened in the last quarter of 2018, and has garnered plenty of attention and recognition within and outside the province. This has helped attract a clientele that Gee wasn’t used to receiving, because his main demographic is regulars and industry folks who live in the neighbourhood. “There were people coming here to dine as a destination that we hadn’t really seen on a large scale before. It didn’t last too long, it was a little bit of a trend,� said Gee. “We tried not to pay too much attention to it. Just keep your head down and keep working.� If you’re wondering what drink pairs best with dumplings, Gee has some insight to share. “Beer and dumplings is what I would go for. Champagne and dumplings is very trendy,� he said. “If we’re just talking about flavour pairings, sherry and dumplings is very good.� g

READERS’ f CHOICES BISTRO

SEAFOOD

1. TABLEAU BAR BISTRO 1181 Melville Street 604-639-8692 2. Les Faux Bourgeois 663 East 15th Avenue 604-873-9733 3. Au Comptoir 2278 West 4th Avenue 604-569-2278

1. JOE FORTES SEAFOOD & CHOP HOUSE 777 Thurlow Street 604-669-1940 2. Blue Water Cafe 1095 Hamilton Street 604-688-8078 3. Coast 1054 Alberni Street 604-685-5010

LEGENDARY 1. JOE FORTES SEAFOOD & CHOP HOUSE 777 Thurlow Street 604-669-1940 2. Bishop’s 2183 West 4th Avenue 604-738-2025 3. Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar Various locations

DUMPLINGS 1. DINESTY DUMPLING HOUSE Various locations 2. Mott 32 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8886 3. Peaceful Restaurant Various locations

PASTA

POKE

1. ASK FOR LUIGI 305 Alexander Street 604-428-2544 2. Di Beppe Ristorante 8 West Cordova Street 604-620-3800 3. Marcello Pizzeria & Ristorante 1404 Commercial Drive 604-215-7760

1. WESTCOAST POKÉ Various locations 2. The Poke Shop 306 Water Street 778-379-1567 3. Pacific Poke Various locations

COMFORT FOOD

1. JINYA RAMEN BAR Various locations 2. Marutama Ra-men Various locations 3. Ramen Danbo Various locations

1. BURGOO Various locations 2. MeeT Restaurants Various locations 3. JUKE Fried Chicken 182 Keefer Street 604-336-5853

TACOS 1. TACOFINO Various locations 2. La Taqueria Various locations 3. Sal y LimĂłn Various locations

RAMEN

SUSHI 1. MIKU VANCOUVER 70–200 Granville Street 604-568-3900 2. Toshi Sushi 181 East 16th Avenue 604-874-5173 3. Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 West Broadway 604-872-8050


GOLDEN PLATES

Bishop’s decides to close after an incredible run by Tammy Kwan

O

John Bishop changed Vancouver’s attitudes to food. Photo by Amanda Siebert

ne of Vancouver’s legendary dining establishments is closing its doors this summer. Kitsilano’s well-loved Bishop’s Restaurant (2183 West 4th Avenue) has announced that it will be closing for good on August 1, after 35 years in business. Owner and chef John Bishop opened his eponymous restaurant in 1985, and celebrated its milestone 30th anniversary in 2015. It’s won a multitude of Golden Plates awards over the years. The 75-year-old Welsh native has decided to retire, declaring in a statement that he wishes to write and spend more time with his family. “It has been a terrific run,” said Bishop. “After 35 years, our customers have become good friends, but now I want to spend more time with my own family and get to work on another book. I also want to use these next few months to say thank you to my customers and our entire team, the people who made all of this possible. “My name may be on the door, but Bishop’s is all about a team effort, and that includes the dozens of local farms and suppliers who provide us with the incredible seasonal ingredients we prepare for your plate,” he added. In interviews with media outlets, Bishop also left no doubt that rising property taxes, higher rent, and the general cost of operations factored into his decision. Before Vancouver’s farm-to-table

I want to find some special ways to...thank our customers – John Bishop

THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST BISTRO BEST BARTENDER

cuisine blew up, Bishop’s was already known for its signature dishes that used seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Many celebrities have visited the restaurant over the years, including former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and his son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Hollywood stars such as Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, and Goldie Hawn have also walked through Bishop’s doors. There are still a couple of months before the iconic eatery bows out of Vancouver’s restaurant scene, and a few final events are being planned. “I want to find some special ways to celebrate and thank our customers,” said Bishop. “I might even try and get some of our alumni chefs back together for one incredibly memorable meal that hits all the high notes of the past 35 years.” g

BRUNCH

LUNCH

...

DINNER

JS DUPUIS •

DRINKS

HAPPY HOUR

tableaubarbistro.com tel 604 639 8692 1181 Melville Street Vancouver BC Canada V6E 0A3 @tableaubarbistro

@HomerStCafe

#takemetotableau

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READERS’ f CHOICE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

ITALIAN

1. BISHOP’S 2183 West 4th Avenue 604-738-2025 2. Botanist 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5500 3. Blue Water Cafe 1095 Hamilton Street 604-688-8078

1. ASK FOR LUIGI 305 Alexander Street 604-428-2544 2. Savio Volpe, 615 Kingsway 604-428-0072 3. Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca 1133 Hamilton Street 604-688-7466

CARIBBEAN

LATIN AMERICAN

1. CALABASH BISTRO 428 Carrall Street 604-568-5882 2. The Reef 4172 Main Street 604-874-5375 3. Riddim & Spice 1945 Commercial Drive 604-215-9252

1. CUCHILLO 261 Powell Street 604-559-7585 2. Baru Latino 2535 Alma Street 604-222-9171 3. El Camino’s 3250 Main Street 604-875-6246

CONTINENTAL

MEDITERRANEAN

1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119 2. Bauhaus Restaurant 1 West Cordova Street 604-974-1147 3. Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant 555 West Hastings Street 604-669-2220

1. CIOPPINO’S MEDITERRANEAN GRILL & ENOTECA 1133 Hamilton Street 604-688-7466 2. Nuba Various locations 3. Hydra 825 West Pender Street 604-416-0880

GREEK

MEXICAN

1. THE GREEK BY ANATOLI Various locations 2. Apollonia Greek Restaurant 1830 Fir Street, 604-736-9559 3. Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna Various locations

1. LA TAQUERIA Various locations 2. Sal y Limón Various locations 3. Tacofino Various locations

898 Likes

s! ldenPlates vote o G # e th r fo ks ar Than heatre HomerStCafeB of the Best Pre-T ne O s. ui up D JS ehomer #BestBartender #theresnoplacelik ty ci e th in s nt ra restau MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 29


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GOLDEN PLATES

Staycation helps One Girl Can charity NEW ORLEANS INSPIRED CUISINE

by Gail Johnson

23RD Annual

2020

L

Some proceeds of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver’s Philanthropic Stay go to promoting gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa.

VOTED BEST EATERY WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

ooking for an excuse for a staycation? This could be the one: Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver has partnered with One Girl Can, a local charitable organization, for a new package called the Philanthropic Stay. Partial proceeds go toward supporting education for girls in some of the most marginalized regions of sub-Saharan Africa. For every night booked, $50 will be donated to One Girl Can. Available till December 20, the package includes a welcome goodie from Shangri-La’s pastry chef, daily breakfast for two or a $50 in-room

dining credit, Vitruvi essential oil amenities, an AG Hair gift bag, and valet parking. It also comes with a 20-percent discount at CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. Guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and an oversized bathroom with granite vanity, soaker tub, and separate glass-encased shower. There’s an option to add a set of white cotton KIP. X ShangriLa PJs with gold piping, mother-ofpearl buttons, and a matching silk sleep mask. Founded in 2008 by South African native Lotte Davis—who’s also the CEO and cofounder of Vancouver’s

AG Hair—One Girl Can is a registered Canadian charity that aims to break the cycle of poverty while promoting gender equality in underdeveloped countries such as Kenya and Uganda. To date, it has provided more than 400 scholarships to female secondary students, ensuring they never have to miss a day of school due to cultural pressures or lack of fees. The organization has also built or renovated more than 100 schools and learning environments, and it mentors more than 8,500 girls annually through workshops, activities, and conferences. To book a getaway that does some good, visit Shangri-la.com/vancouver. g

READERS’ f CHOICES

BLUEMARTINIJAZZCAFE.COM 1516 YEW STREET, VANCOUVER, BC | 604 428 2691

COOKING STORE

BARBECUE

SPECIALTY FOOD STORE

1. MING WO Various locations 2. The Gourmet Warehouse 1340 East Hastings Street 604-253-3022 3. Cook Culture Various locations

1. DIXIE’S BBQ MeatDixies.com 2. Hog Shack Cookhouse 160–3900 Bayview Street, Richmond, 604-272-7264 3. Memphis Blues BBQ Various locations

1. BOSA FOODS Various locations 2. Meinhardt Fine Foods Various locations 3. Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli 4156 Hastings Street, Burnaby 604-291-9373

Thanks for voting us “Best Pre-Game Restaurant” and “Best Restaurant For Watching The Game”

23RD Annual

2020

32 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


Vancouver’s BEST FINE DINING 23RD Annual

2020

23RD Annual

23RD Annual

2020

2020

BEST CHEF David Hawksworth BEST RESTAURANT OVERALL Runner up Try our new Dinner Prix Fixe menu $45 for three courses 801 W. Georgia St. | 604.673.7000 HAWKSWORTHRESTAURANT.COM

Join us for Happy Hour Sunday to Wednesday from 3pm to 5:30pm 1017 W. Hastings St. | 604.695.9500

hawknightingale.com

• BEST DELI RD Annual 23RD

2020

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SPECIALT Y FOOD STORE

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Name:

Phone/E-mail:

4142, 4150 & 4156 Hastings St, Burnaby | 604.291.9373 | w w w.cioffisgroup.com MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 33


WORLD RECORD HOLDER

Thanks for the love Vancouver! The feeling is mutual. We really enjoy feeding you delicious plant-based comfort food with a Mediterranean twist.

23 RD Annual

2020

Best VeganFriendly Restaurant

The ONLY place in the WORLD with

Dine in at our restaurant at

23 Annual RD

Best Food Best Main St. Truck Restaurant

2020

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884 W Cordova Mon-Fri

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RD 23 Annual

2020

238 avours on Location!

La Casa Gelato | 1033 Venables St | 604 251 3211

www.lacasagelato.com

FOUR ON THE FLOOR IS GREAT, BUT FOUR YEARS IN A ROW IS EVEN BETTER!

THANK YOU VOTERS 23RD Annual

2020

FOR VOTING US BEST LOCAL

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GOLDEN PLATES

Notch8 chef brings creativity to work Dennis Peckham strives for “approachable sophistication” at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

D

by Gail Johnson

ennis Peckham has been keeping busy since he joined Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as executive chef of Notch8 Restaurant & Bar last year. Born in Williams Lake, he graduated from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute in Vancouver in 2001 and went on to work at such acclaimed places as Lumière, West Restaurant, and French Laundry, a Michelin three-star restaurant in California. A fitness enthusiast and dog lover who hosts charity dinners in his own home for the SPCA, Peckham has a penchant for making fresh pasta. We caught up with the Top Chef Canada competitor (2019) and Chopped Canada champ (2016) to hear more.

HOW DID YOU END UP PURSUING A CULINARY CAREER?

I was working construction in Victoria, and I hated it. I was building scaffolding and I was always wet and cold, and I was terrified of heights. I was laid off one winter, and a buddy was a cook at a private golf course in Victoria. He said, “Why don’t you come wash dishes for a winter?” It was on the ground and it was inside, so I figured why not? I really liked the culture of the kitchen. I started doing prep, then I started doing banquet prep, then lunch, and I always had a lot of fun with it. It was my mom who said, “Why not go to cooking school?” LOOKING BACK NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR YOUNGER CHEF SELF?

I thought I was so good, but in

WHAT WAS IT LIKE COMPETING ON TOP CHEF CANADA?

I had applied probably five times in my lifetime; I was like, “Finally!” It was a bucket-list thing. It was awesome. I loved it. I had so much fun. You don’t have to worry about anything—staffing, scheduling, nothing. You just have to cook. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The first time we cooked in the kitchen, I was nervous as hell. But elimination challenges were fine. But don’t try something new. If you don’t know how to make bread, don’t make bread. Ultimately, that’s what sent me home. WHAT DREW YOU TO NOTCH8?

I had worked at the Fairmont Waterfront before. When I got the call, I had also been working a ton running my own business [Fraiche Sheet Foods, with his former partner]. I was working 30, 35 hours straight. I was so tired I couldn’t think straight. I met with the GM and the director of operations [at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver]. I really love the brand, I love the culture of the company, I love the hotels… There wasn’t much to think about. Everything comes from the restaurant: room service, the lounge, the breakfast buffet, happy hour, afternoon tea, dinner… We describe the style as approachable sophistication. I’m just in the process of launching a new breakfast menu. I just love to cook. I love it here. Notch8 Restaurant and Lounge executive chef Dennis Peckham loved being on Top Chef Canada. Photo by Leila Kwok. (GS happy-hour tip: Order the hindsight I was so terrible. I was a the culture is positive and fosters bring to the kitchen. beer-battered oyster mushrooms with good cook but a terrible chef. Be- progression and ownership. CookA lot of people complain about Parmesan dip (also available on the ing a chef is about managing people ing is such a small part of what you staffing issues, but the bottom line lounge menu); stay for the DJ, who and running a business and ensur- do as a chef. You teach it, but it’s a is if you give people a reason to stay, spins twice a week.) ing consistency and making sure lot more about the culture that you they’ll stay. see next page

$ INDIAN N RESTAURANT 8 POWELL ST. (IN GASTOWN) 604

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6 87- 0 0 49 4 8 4 -2236

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Open Daily 11am-10pm Across from the Gassy Jack statue in Gastown

37

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Expires: May 31, 2020

• One coupon per 2 people • Max: 3 coupons per table

Ru nne r- up Be st I ndi an

23RD Annual

2020

23 RD Annual

2020

A N N I V ER SA R Y

Th a n k y o u Ge o r g i a S t r a i g h t Vote r s ! #1 BEST

YALETOWN RESTAURANT RUNNER UP

BEST RESTAURANT WINE SELECTION & BEST HAPPY HOUR - Metro Vancouver -

23RD Annual

Voted Best BBQ

2020

160 -3900 Bayview St., Richmond B.C. ACCEPTING RESERVATION 7 DAYS (604) 272-7264 • info@hogshack.ca

1137 Hamilton Street & 1138 Homer Street

brixandmortar.ca @brix_vancouver + @brixandmortarweddings

www.hogshack.ca MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 35


from previous page

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT YOU MAKING DINNER FOR RANDOM STRANGERS IN YOUR HOME TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE SPCA?

I love making pasta, but I don’t eat it all. I have a freezer full of tortellini. A few months ago, I was at home with my dog [MacGyver, a Doberman pinscher] and I wanted to cook five courses of Indian food. Five Indian courses for one person is just such a waste. Why am I going to cook all day long to eat for three minutes? My friends are super busy. So I thought,

I’m going to invite random people off my Instagram page to come over to my house for dinner. The first six people to get back to me and who can show me they made a minimum $40 donation to the SPCA can come over to my house and I’ll feed you. You have to be okay with the dog, the house won’t be spotless but it will be clean, and it’s for charity. I went to bed, and the next day 300 people had asked to come to this dinner. The next one is later this month. I feel I live a very fortunate life, and I want to support the work they do. g

READERS’ f CHOICES VEGETARIAN

PIZZERIA

1. MEET RESTAURANTS Various locations 2. The Naam Restaurant 2724 West 4th Avenue 604-738-7151 3. Heirloom Various locations

1. VIA TEVERE 1190 Victoria Drive 604-336-1803 2. Nicli Antica Pizzeria 62 East Cordova Street 604-669-6985 3. Pizzeria Farina 915 Main Street 604-681-9334

VEGAN-FRIENDLY 1. CHICKPEA 4298 Main Street 604-620-0602 2. Nuba Various locations 3. Beetbox 1074 Davie Street 604-233-8269

GLUTEN-FREE–FRIENDLY

23 RD Annual

2020

23 RD Annu al

2020

TAKEOUT PIZZA 1. PIZZA GARDEN Various locations 2. Uncle Fatih’s Pizza Various locations 3. AJ’s Brooklyn Pizza Joint 325 East Broadway 604-428-5805

VEGGIE BURGER

1. MEET RESTAURANTS Various locations 2. JUKE Fried Chicken 182 Keefer Street 604-336-5853 3. Virtuous Pie Various locations

1. MEET RESTAURANTS Various locations 2. White Spot Various locations 3. A & W Restaurant Various locations

GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA

GROCERY DELIVERY

1. VIRTUOUS PIE Various locations 2. Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Various locations 3. Uncle Fatih’s Pizza Various locations

1. SPUD 1660 East Hastings Street 604-215-7783 2. Save-On-Foods Various locations 3. Stong’s Market Various locations

HEY YOU. CRAFT BEER LOVER. THANKS FOR SUPPORTING

BRASSNECK. WE LOVES YA RIGHT BACK. (ALMOST AS MUCH AS WE LOVE BEER!)

BEER!)

BRASSNECK.CA

36 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


GOLDEN PLATES

Women raise the bar behind the bar by Gail Johnson

READERS’ f CHOICES GROCERY STORE

POUTINE

1. URBAN FARE Various locations 2. IGA Various locations 3. Donald’s Market 2342 East Hastings Street 604-254-3014

1. FRITZ EUROPEAN FRY HOUSE 718 Davie Street 604-684-0811 2. La Belle Patate 1215 Davie Street 604-569-1215 3. Belgian Fries 1885 Commercial Drive 604-253-4220

PRODUCE STORE 1. KIN’S FARM MARKET Various locations 2. Donald’s Market 2342 East Hastings Street 604-254-3014 3. Whole Foods Market Various locations

BREAKFAST 1. OEB BREAKFAST CO. 1137 Marinaside Crescent 604-423-3447 2. The Red Wagon 2296 East Hastings Street 604-568-4565 3. Belgard Kitchen 55 Dunlevy Avenue 604-699-1989

BURGER 1. ROMER’S BURGER BAR Various locations 2. Vera’s Burger Shack Various locations 3. White Spot Various locations

CHICKEN WINGS 1. WINGS RESTAURANT & PUBS Various locations 2. Phnom Penh Restaurant 244 East Georgia Street 604-682-5777 3. The Pint Public House 455 Abbott Street 604-684-0258

FISH AND CHIPS 1. PAJO’S Various locations 2. The Fish Counter 3825 Main Street 604-876-3474 3. Go Fish 1505 West 1st Avenue 604-730-5040

CHOCOLATIER 1. BETA5 CHOCOLATES 413 Industrial Avenue 604-669-3336 2. Thierry 1059 Alberni Street 604-608-6870 3. Mink, a Chocolate Café Various locations

DESSERTS 1. THIERRY 1059 Alberni Street 604-608-6870 2. BETA5 Chocolates 413 Industrial Avenue 604-669-3336 3. Sweetery Cafe + Dessert 340 West 2nd Avenue 604-568-5486

W

Sabrine Dhaliwal of Juke Fried Chicken (left) and Katie Ingram of Elisa Wood-fired Grill. Photos by Leila Kwok

GELATO 1. BELLA GELATERIA 1001 West Cordova Street 604-569-1010 2. La Casa Gelato 1033 Venables Street 604-251-3211 3. Amato Gelato Cafe/ Mario’s Gelati 78 East 1st Avenue 604-879-9011

ICE CREAM 1. EARNEST ICE CREAM Various locations 2. Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream Various locations 3. La Glace 2785 West 16th Avenue 604-428-0793

FOOD FESTIVAL/EVENT 1. DINE OUT VANCOUVER FESTIVAL 2. EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival 3. Brewery & the Beast

VISIT GOLDEN PLATES ONLINE AT STRAIGHT.COM

hen it comes to bartending, women are still outnumbered by men. But female presence behind the bar in Vancouver is growing, and two women—Sabrine Dhaliwal of Juke Fried Chicken and Katie Ingram of Elisa Wood-Fired Grill—have come in second and third behind Tableau Bar Bistro’s JS Dupuis in the Golden Plates readers’ choice ballot for best bartender. The community of female bartenders is tight-knit, supportive, and fiercely talented. As a follow-up to International Women’s Day, we connected with a few of the city’s finest. Here’s what they had to say about their work, the industry, #MeToo, and other topics.

SABRINE DHALIWAL

(Juke Fried Chicken, 182 Keefer Street) Born in the Netherlands and raised on a dairy farm in Ontario, Sabrine Dhaliwal moved to Saskatchewan as a teen, then relocated to Vancouver a decade ago via Sunwapta Falls, just outside of Jasper. She was planning on becoming a dentist after completing her degree in microbiology, but the world of cocktails won her over. Today an ambassador for Belvedere

Vodka and Hennessy Cognac, she gained experience working at Reflections, West Restaurant, and Pourhouse, among other places. At one point she took time off to train for the Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association’s Restaurant Rumble, a charity boxing event. “It makes you realize you have strength in ways you didn’t know,” Dhaliwal says of being in the ring. “Your mind will quit before your body is willing to. It’s about telling your mind that you can do it. It’s the longest two minutes of your life.” On what she loves most about her role: “There aren’t many jobs where you have instant gratification, when someone loves their drink. But it’s not just about what you’re drinking; it’s about your whole experience. The word mixologist gets thrown around a lot. Yes, I mix a drink, but I’m a bartender, and a bartender is a host. People go to restaurants to dine, but people go sit at a bar to be hosted.” On the #MeToo movement: “I’ve stopped harassment from happening. I’ve protected both men and women by saying to someone, ‘They’re not interested in this tonight, here’s your bill and you can leave.’ I make sure everyone is safe, and I don’t drink behind the bar.”

On how the tragic passing of Anthony Bourdain helped open up the conversation on mental health: “Vancouver is very fortunate to have a program called Mind the Bar to make sure everyone knows it’s okay to not be okay, and if you’re not okay, there are people you can contact. Mind the Bar is somewhere you can go in confidence and get help. I wish there was more like it around the world. We have so much to be thankful for in Canada, and Vancouver specifically.” Now pouring: Anyone for Tennis—a bright and refreshing drink, with Beefeater gin, Pimm’s No. 1, strawberry-rhubarb tea, lemon, Bittered Sling Plum and Rootbeer bitters, and sparkling wine. KATIE INGRAM

(Elisa Wood-Fired Grill, 1109 Hamilton Street) Coming from a large, boisterous family, Katie Ingram always wanted to work in hospitality. After university, she started working with the Donnelly Group at the Lamplighter and Clough Club and became increasingly curious about cocktails and flavours. She says she first learned what it really means to be a see next page

THANK YOU FOR VOTING

ASASVANCOUVER’S BEST VANCOUVER’S BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT

THANK YOU VANCOUVER WE ARE PROUD TO BE YOUR

23RD Annual

2020

GOLDEN PLATES WINNER SINCE 2013 1st Place: BEST CRAFT BEER STORE OPEN 11 - 11 EVERY DAY • FREE PARKING AROUND BACK WWW.BREWCREEK.CA • 604-872-3373 14TH & MAIN • FIND US @brewerycreek MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 37


Think you know BBQ? You don’t know

Emily Vey (left) of the Diamond and Olivia Povarchook (photo by Anjali Spooner) of Odd Society Spirits are among some of the city’s top bartenders.

from previous page

Vancouver’s #1 Central Texas BBQ smokehouse.

Catering Available Drop off or full service weddings corporate events parties

all your bbq favourites, plus custom menus! Please note our dining room is permanently closed, but you can get the taste of Dixie’s delivered to your door through both DoorDash and UberEats, as well as private catering! Email us today for more information, or a quote for your next event.

778-379-4770 info@meatatdixies.com

23RD Annual

2020

l! l a ´ y s k n a h T

bartender through Lauren Mote, cofounder of Bittered Sling, a retail line of bitters and culinary extracts. On what motivates her daily: “I love the creative and performance elements about bartending. Every day the guests are different, and it is your job to take care of them and create the best experience you can. I love that the possibilities are endless, especially at Elisa, where we have something for everyone. We have a lot of pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan guests who keep coming back because of our varied menu options.” On getting her start in the industry: “When I first began to bartend, it was definitely very hard to get my foot in the door. I was either always in the way, too slow, or ‘not where I was supposed to be’, but that attitude didn’t last very long. It was interesting sometimes being the only female on the floor some nights, but I think that gave me confidence—especially when you are working with a great team—to feel equal among the other bartenders.” On the impact of the #MeToo movement on the industry: “There is a lot of change happening. Restaurants and bars are not tolerating unacceptable behaviour. This behaviour isn’t just behind closed doors, during service, or after hours either; it’s in dining rooms and bars as well. When the Dandelion Initiative [For Safer Bars and Spaces] from Toronto was here last year, Chantelle Gabino and Viktoria Belle taught a seminar on a wide range of topics to help prevent and respond to any type of sexual harassment. I’m very lucky to have always worked on teams with great managers that have always supported me or anyone on our team when they tell them about an inappropriate situation or encounter. It needs to be zero tolerance no matter who you are: boundaries need to be set, and the line drawn very clearly. “One thing that I notice is that people feel that they can’t say anything to anyone: say something! How can anyone help you if we don’t know about something someone has said to you? Sometimes in the moment it is paralyzing, because you almost cannot believe that someone would say this to you or dare to touch you. It is important to remember: it is never your fault.” On the state of gender equality in bartending: “I feel empowered by the International Women’s Day theme this year of Each for Equal. This isn’t a man’s industry anymore; it’s our industry. I am a bartender, and I got to where I am today by working hard, pushing the boundaries, and being my best possible self, showing everyone that I belong here, and you do too.” Now pouring: Pomela, “a perfect little spring tipple” made with Volcan de Mi Tierra tequila, grapefruit and pomegranate cordial, lime juice, dry tonic, and Bittered Sling Kensington bitters. EMILY VEY

38 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

(The Diamond, 6 Powell Street) Emily Vey was 19 when she got her first job in the bar industry, in a small pub in Clarenville, Newfoundland, her hometown of 4,000 people. It was a way to work at night to pay for the university schooling she was pursuing during the day. An avid home cook, she has always enjoyed coming up with fresh recipes and flavour combinations; working with beverages as opposed to foods opened up a whole new world. On what keeps her behind the

stick: “Once I started getting comfortable in the service industry, I realized I loved chatting and interacting with people too, learning their stories, and figuring out how each guest wants to be treated to keep them happy. I love that interaction. It shows our guests that I care about what they’re saying and makes them look forward to what I’m going to put on the table in front of them.” On whether she has encountered any obstacles along the way as a woman: “Absolutely, I think as a woman in this industry we have to work twice as hard with guests oftentimes to show we know what we’re talking about and that our opinions and recommendations are just as great as our male partners behind the bar. I have had the experience with some patrons who still have the mentality that a woman is a server and a man is the bartender. I do notice that even though guests can clearly see me behind the bar shaking drinks, I am still often told to ‘have the bartender make me something,’ referring to my barmate, or I am met with quite a tone of surprise or disbelief that I made their drinks. My coworkers and I often laugh about how a guest will sometimes ask for a second opinion or confirmation from the other bartender because they think the guy is more qualified than I am to make a drink recommendation.” On the impact of #MeToo: “I have noticed guests seem to be more wary of how they treat and talk to me in terms of tone and respect. It wasn’t so long ago that male guests could get away with acting in ways that would never be accepted now, especially in terms of touching or grabbing your server or bartender and otherwise acting inappropriately. This movement has been part of the catalyst that makes us identifying as women feel like it’s okay to stand up for ourselves and feel comfortable calling somebody on their behaviour—whether we say it ourselves or ask a manager to intervene. “While I’m lucky enough to work with a great team of guys who support me, I’ve also seen firsthand that, in general, it is necessary for our male coworkers to set an example to guests to show them we’re as valued behind the bar and deserve to be treated that way. We need men to show other men that everyone behind the bar at an establishment is there for a reason regardless of gender. Once you change the attitude from within, it can set a great tone for guests to pick up when they interact with us and carry forward into other experiences.” Now pouring: Tiger Breath, a delicate blend of Hibiscus Cachça, pineapple, lime, and jalapeño honey. OLIVIA POVARCHOOK

(Odd Society Spirits, 1725 Powell Street) Olivia Povarchook moved to Vancouver from Kelowna in 2010 to go to culinary school. After a couple of years working in pastry kitchens, she jumped over to front-of-house. Bartending was a natural progression, using her training in flavour profi les, only in a more social environment. On what’s behind her passion for pouring: “I love that there’s always something new to learn and that every day at work is different. At Odd Society especially, there’s so much encouragement to experiment with techniques and think outside the box.”

see next page


Osteria Savio Volpe general manager Lisa Cook loves interacting with guests.

On being a woman in an industry still largely dominated by men: “It is baffling to me that people still think circumstances of gender discrimination are uncommon. The #MeToo movement has opened up a discussion in our industry and is allowing for more open discussion about abuses of power, discrimination, and sexism in hospitality. Change is coming, but at a very slow rate. A lot of things need to change to empower women behind the bar; but ultimately, just believe women.” Now pouring: The Gentleman’s Sour, a long-standing favourite featuring a bittersweet mixture of Wallflower gin, Bittersweet vermouth, cassis, and “other fun things” for a frothy pink drink topped with rose petals. LISA COOK

(Osteria Savio Volpe, 615 Kingsway) Lisa Cook went to culinary school 20 years ago and starting cooking straight after. She became interested in food-and-wine pairings and decided to transition from working back-of-house to front-of-house, first as a server at Joey Bentall One. She quickly became bar manager, then wine-room manager, helping develop the wine program there. On what piqued her interest in the field: “What drew me to bar-

tending in the first place was the similarity it had to cooking, following recipes, experimenting with different flavours, and being able to create something delicious that you are excited to share with guests. What I love about being behind the bar today is the guest interaction. Most people who sit at the bar want to engage and ask questions, and I really enjoy getting to know people.” On whether she has noticed differences in the way men and women are treated in the industry: “When I first started in this industry as a cook, I noticed how few women there were and felt the pressure to work twice as hard while showing less emotion than my male counterparts. In the last decade I have been very fortunate to have had some incredible employers who have valued me for my work and not my gender. Sometimes I feel guests or vendors I deal with expect to see a male in my position. I get a lot of ‘May I speak to your manager if he isn’t busy?’ or ‘Can you ask your sommelier to recommend us a wine that he thinks will go with our meal?’ I think people’s perception of what a bartender looks like needs to change, but I’m not really sure how to make that happen.” Now pouring: Lambrusco Spritz, a wine-based cocktail that’s a spin on the classic Aperol Spritz, made with Lambrusco rather than Prosecco. g

23 RD Annu al

2020

BEST WINE BAR — 11 YEARS IN A ROW! BEST INDEPENDANT BAR LOUNGE

READERS’ f CHOICES OVERALL

PRETHEATRE

1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119 2. Hawksworth Restaurant 801 West Georgia Street 604-673-7000 3. Nightingale 1017 West Hastings Street 604-685-9500

1. CHAMBAR RESTAURANT 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119 2. Homer St. Cafe and Bar 898 Homer Street 604-428-4299 3. Cibo Trattoria 900 Seymour Street 604-602-9570

FINE DINING

PREGAME

1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT 801 West Georgia Street 604-673-7000 2. Le Crocodile 100–909 Burrard Street 604-669-4298 3. Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge 845 Hornby Street 604-608-5319

1. SHARK CLUB Various locations 2. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119 3. Boston Pizza Various locations

RESTAURANT GROUP 1. CACTUS CLUB CAFE Various locations 2. Glowbal Restaurant Group Various locations 3. Toptable Group Various locations

BRUNCH 1. CAFÉ MEDINA 780 Richards Street 604-879-3114 2. OEB Breakfast Co. 1137 Marinaside Crescent 604-423-3447 3. Slickity Jim’s Chat ‘n’ Chew 3469 Main Street 604-873-6760

HOTEL RESTAURANT 1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT 801 West Georgia Street 604-673-7000 2. Botanist 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5500 3. Mott 32 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8886

WATCHING THE GAME 1. SHARK CLUB Various locations 2. Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery 560 Smithe Street 604-689-4460 3. Cactus Club Cafe Various locations

Thank you Vancouver! We’re excited to once again be voted #1 Professional Culinary School.

PATIO 1. DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT 1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island 604-685-7070 2. Cactus Club Café Various locations 3. Tap & Barrel Various locations

22NDAnnual

2019

VIEW 1. MIKU VANCOUVER 70–200 Granville Street 604-568-3900 2. Cardero’s Restaurant 1583 Coal Harbour Quay 604-669-7666 3. Bridges Restaurant 1696 Duranleau Street, Granville Island 604-687-4400

VISIT GOLDEN PLATES ONLINE AT STRAIGHT.COM

Meet VCC’s all-star chef instructors and see our kitchens in action. Sign up now for an upcoming free info session at vcc.ca/culinary. @vccculinaryarts

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 39


Merci,

23RD Annual

2020

Authentic Greek Food

Extensive Wine & Bar List

23 Annual RD

1830 Fir St. Vancouver | 604.736.9559

www.apolloniagreekrestaurant.com

2020

C L O S E D M O N D AY S L � N C � � � E D N E S D AY to F � � D AY 11�30A M � ��30 � M D � N N E � � � � E S D AY to S � N D AY 4�30 � 9�30 � M

W W W. B E A U C O U P B A K E RY. C O M 2150 FIR STREET

|

604.732.4222

@beaucoupbakery

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2020

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23 RD Annu al

r s i n a ro

Cakes, Pastries, Breads, and More! 100% Gluten Free using all natural ingredients 3385 Cambie Street • 604.873.9993 lemonadebakery.ca

23RD Annual

2020

docksidevancouver.com

604.685.7070

1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver in the Granville Island Hotel 40 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

Thank you for voting us #1 Best Patio in Vancouver


GOLDEN PLATES

READERS’ f CHOICES HOTEL LOUNGE

B.C. WINERY (RED)

1. NOTCH8 RESTAURANT & BAR 900 West Georgia Street 604-662-1900 2. The Lobby Lounge and RawBar 1038 Canada Place 604-695-5502 3. Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge 845 Hornby Street 604-608-5319

1. BURROWING OWL ESTATE WINERY 500 Burrowing Owl Place, Oliver, 250-498-0620 2. Mission Hill Family Estate 1730 Mission Hill Road, West Kelowna, 250-768-6448 3. Quails’ Gate 3303 Boucherie Road, West Kelowna, 250-769-4451

WINE BAR 1. UVA WINE & COCKTAIL BAR 900 Seymour Street 604-632-9560 2. The Trump Champagne Lounge 1161 West Georgia Street 604-979-8885 3. Salt Tasting Room 45 Blood Alley Square 604-633-1912

WINE STORE

Spring brings some fine wine bargains

A

by Kurtis Kolt

fter the one-two punch of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival and Vancouver International Wine Festival, both of which start off local wine enthusiasts’ year with a bang, the dust is indeed settling, but only so much. This shoulder season between winter and spring used to be a sleepy one, but it looks like there are plenty of vinous offerings around town, and many of them are quite the bargain. How much of a bargain? How does free grab ya? On Friday (March 13), between 3 and 7 p.m., step into the B.C. Liquor Store signature tasting room at their 39th Avenue and Cambie Street location for a complimentary tasting through a trio of wines from northern Italy. Representatives from the Venetian winery Masi will be pouring their Masi Campofiorin Ripasso 2015, a “super Venetian” chewy red made from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes; their fresh, lively, and berry-laden Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico 2018; plus their crisp and citrusy Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio–Verduzzo delle Venezie 2018. The latter is also $3 off the regular price of $19.99 through March 28, so now is the time to stop in. Over at Everything Wine’s Vancouver location (8570 River District Crossing), representatives from British Columbia’s Lake Breeze winery will be pouring three wines from their portfolio on March 19 between 2 and 6 p.m. The Naramata-based winery has had winemaker Garron Elmes overseeing things during its two-anda-half-decade existence and putting Okanagan terroir in our glasses. Look forward to supping Lake Breeze’s juicy and toasty red Meritage 2017 blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec), plus its aromatic white “Spice Jar” 2018 blend

B.C. WINERY (WHITE) 1. QUAILS’ GATE 3303 Boucherie Road, West Kelowna, 250-769-4451 2. Mission Hill Family Estate 1730 Mission Hill Road, West Kelowna, 250-768-6448 3. Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 500 Burrowing Owl Place, Oliver, 250-498-0620

INDEPENDENT BAR LOUNGE

1. EVERYTHING WINE Various locations 2. Legacy Liquor Store 1633 Manitoba Street 604-331-7900 3. B.C. Liquor Store 5555 Cambie Street 604-660-9463

1. UVA WINE & COCKTAIL BAR 900 Seymour Street 604-632-9560 2. The Keefer Bar 135 Keefer Street, 604-688-1961 3. The Narrow Lounge 1898 Main Street, 778-737-5206

WINE SELECTION

LOCAL DISTILLERY

1. HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT 801 West Georgia Street 604-673-7000 2. Brix & Mortar 1138 Homer Street 604-915-9463 3. Wildebeest 120 West Hastings Street 604-687-6880

1. ODD SOCIETY SPIRITS 1725 Powell Street 604-559-6745 2. Long Table Distillery 1451 Hornby Street, 604-266-0177 3. The Liberty Distillery 1494 Old Bridge Road, Granville Island, 604-558-1998

VANCOUVER HIDDEN GEM

RESTAURANT FOR A STIFF DRINK

1. H TASTING LOUNGE 1601 Bayshore Drive 604-210-6924 2. Trans Am, 1879 Powell Street 604-690-1879 3. The Liberty Distillery 1494 Old Bridge Road, Granville Island 604-558-1998

1. POURHOUSE 162 Water Street 604-568-7022 2. Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Behind 212 Carrall Street 604-688-9779 3. Shameful Tiki Room 4362 Main Street 604-999-5684

Everything Wine’s Vancouver location hosts Lake Breeze on March 19.

of Gewürztraminer, Schönberger, and Viognier. Rounding out the flight is Elmes’s iconic Pinot Blanc 2018; he’s always had a way with the crisp, apple-and-pear-driven variety. Got 10 bucks? Over in Davie Village, John Clerides’s Marquis Wine Cellars is hosting a small series of tasting events, each with a measly $10 price tag. Saturday (March 14) at 2 p.m., “Pacific Port” sees Fladgate Partnership brand manager Cynthia Opsal take attendees through the wonderful world of Portugal’s legendary port wine production, with a tour of white port, late-bottled vintage port, tawny port, and vintage port. Gems in the glass will include Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port and Fonseca 2012 Guimaraens Vintage Port. This one, as you may imagine, is going fast. Then on March 20 at 5:30 p.m., Aaron Krombholz from Summit Fine Wines will guide guests through a half-dozen Pinot Noirs from his portfolio. Highlights will include Oregon’s Siduri Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir 2017 and Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir 2016 from California. Capping things off on March 23 at 5:30 p.m. is a Negociants Australia tasting that looks like a dynamite way to start your week. Pewsey Vale 1961 Block Riesling 2018 is a tart and mineral-driven take on the grape from old vines steeped in quartz soils, while the 50-year-old vines responsible for Henschke Louis Sémillon 2015 make for a dazzling white that’s built to age. Fans of big reds won’t be left out in the cold either: selections like Henschke “Henry’s Seven” Red 2016 and Yalumba “The Signature” Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2013 will be poured, among other selections. More info on all three of these tastings is at Marquis-Wines.com. Finally, how about rolling up our sleeves and getting some skin in the game? On Thursday (March 12) at 6:30 p.m., Vancouver wine lovers will have the opportunity to do just that at Swirl Wine Store (1185 Mainland Street) in Yaletown. For $39.99, you get a seat at an interactive blending seminar with winemaker Mark Simpson of B.C. Wine Studio. First up, he’ll present a three-vintage vertical of his Bordeaux-inspired Siren’s Call Harmonious red wine, followed by a tutored tasting through each of its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Syrah components. After that, the fun really starts. After a discussion of vintage variation and various blending strategies, attendees will be able to create their own red blend, offering thoughts and inspiration for the upcoming 2018 edition of the wine. These exercises are always illuminating, quite educational, and a lot of fun, too! Visit SwirlWineStore. ca to secure your spot. Cheers! g

Great Deals!

Thank You Georgia Straight Voters!

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STRONGBOW APPLE CIDERS ORIGINAL DRY United Kingdom 622282 4 x 500 ml

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MILLER GENUINE DRAFT Canada 695023 15 x 355 ml

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PADDY IRISH WHISKEY Ireland 30332 750 ml

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ARTIUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON USA 121225 750 ml

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CONO SUR RESERVA ESPECIAL CARMENERE Chile 464990 750 ml

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OPEN CABERNET MERLOT BC VQA 569715 750 ml

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CAROLANS IRISH CREAM Ireland 623678 1.14 L

YOUR PURCHASE CONTRIBUTES TO VITAL BC PUBLIC SERVICES

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GOLDEN PLATES

Well-crafted mocktails get popular

by Gail Johnson and Tammy Kwan

BLOSSOM DIM SUM AND GRILL

(808 Bute Street) To go with your siu mai, har gao, grilled meat, and sushi at this East meets West eatery, try the Chrysanthemum Honey Cooler (chrysanthemum tea, honey, and water) or the Jasmine Lemonade (jasmine tea, lemon, and ginger). HY’S STEAKHOUSE AND COCKTAIL BAR The Fabled Virgin includes blueberry and grapefruit juice, as well as soda.

M

any libations that have enjoyed the limelight lately: craft beers, natural wines, and locally made gins among them. However, there’s one category on restaurant drink menus that used to get little love but is fast gaining popularity among health-conscious Vancouverites and folks who won’t (or just don’t want to) drink alcohol: mocktails. Several local restaurants have a full mocktail menu with expertly crafted selections that go far beyond the usual orange juice and soda. Here’s a nonexhaustive list of where you can find fine zero-proof beverages around town. BOTANIST

(1038 Canada Place) This dining establishment has won all kinds of awards for its bar program and its bartenders, so it’s a nobrainer that its mocktail list would be just as winning. Check out spirit-free libations like the Heartwood (cedar, smoked alder, and birch saps), the Not Yet (carrot, golden beet, ginger, and lemon), and the Nonhattan (Seedlip distilled nonalcoholic spirit, chai, North African spice, and black walnut).

cucumber, simple syrup, lemon juice, pear green tea, basil, kombucha, and soda make up the Tang Dynasty; for lime juice, and soda water). something sunny, try the Cast Away: LOBBY LOUNGE AND RAWBAR pineapple, coconut water, mint, and (1038 Canada Place Way) ginger honey. Grab a seat by the white Fazioli piano with walnut inlay, order some FABLE DINER freshly made Ocean Wise sushi, and (151 East Broadway) try a nonalcoholic sipper for a swish Pair your fare with one of Fable Dinand delicious evening. Yuzu juice, er’s nonalcoholic delights (assuming

(637 Hornby Street) This classic restaurant has created several nonalcoholic refreshments for a menu named Prohibition. Try the Adelaide Sour (Seedlip Garden 108, aquafaba, and fresh lemon juice), the Richmond Fizz (pomegranate and pineapple juices, falernum, and ginger beer), and the Fentimans Botanically Brewed soft drinks (tonic water, rose lemonade, cherry cola, and ginger ale). CACTUS CLUB CAFE

(Various locations) When a Bellini just won’t do, try a Hey Hibiscus, with the namesake ingredient, rose, ginger, white peach, lemon, and soda. Or opt for a Soul Revival, which is a mix of ginger beer, lime, mango, turmeric, jalapeño, and Thai basil. THE SANDBAR SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

(102–1535 Johnston Street, Granville Island) Located on Granville Island, this popular spot has a sizable mocktail list that will satisfy all types of taste buds. Go for the New Fashioned (brewed iced tea, lemon juice, cinnamon, simple syrup) if you’re feeling trendy; stay refreshed with the Seawall Sunset (pineapple juice, orange juice, soda water, and grenadine); or keep it simple with its Spritzer (mint,

you’re not sipping on a milkshake, that is). Creative numbers like the Fabled Virgin (Bremner’s blueberry juice, Giffard pomegranate syrup, Cyoni fresh grapefruit juice, Bitter Envy, and soda) and Don’t Call Me Shirley (Chaser’s fresh orange, lemon, and pineapple juices, Giffard grenadine syrup, Angostura bitters, and ginger ale) are just two of the options. g

READERS’ f CHOICES DELI

PATISSERIE

1. OYAMA SAUSAGE CO. 126-1689 Johnston Street, Granville Island 604-327-7407 2. Santa Barbara Market 1322 Commercial Drive 604-253-1941 3. Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli 4156 Hastings Street, Burnaby 604-291-9373

1. BEAUCOUP BAKERY & CAFÉ 2150 Fir Street 604-732-4222 2. Thierry 1059 Alberni Street 604-608-6870 3. Ganache Patisserie 1262 Homer Street 604-899-1098

PROFESSIONAL CULINARY SCHOOL 1. VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE 250 West Pender Street 604-443-8300 2. Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) 101–1505 West 2nd Avenue 604-734-4488 3. LaSalle College 2665 Renfrew Street 604-683-2006

BREAD BAKERY 1. TERRA BREADS Various locations 2. Saint Germain Bakery Various locations 3. A Bread Affair 1680 Johnston Street, Granville Island, 604-695-0000

CATERING COMPANY

EATERY WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT 1. BLUE MARTINI 1516 Yew Street 604-428-2691 2. Frankie’s Jazz Club 765 Beatty Street 604-688-6368 3. East Is East 3035 West Broadway 604-734-5881

HAPPY HOUR

1. SAVOURY CHEF FOODS 1175 Union Street 604-357-7118 2. Culinary Capers Catering 1545 West 3rd Avenue 604-875-0123 3. Hawksworth Catering 1780 West 3rd Avenue 604-605-3325

1. THE FLYING PIG Various locations 2. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House 777 Thurlow Street 604-669-1940 3. Brix & Mortar 1138 Homer Street 604-915-9463

GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY 1. LEMONADE GLUTEN FREE BAKERY 3385 Cambie Street 604-873-9993 2. The Gluten Free Epicurean 633 East 15th Avenue 604-876-4114 3. Cloud 9 Specialty Bakery (tie) www.Cloud9GlutenFree.com 3. Delish Gluten-Free Bakery (tie) Various locations

MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICE 1. FRESH PREP 2. Good Food 3. Hello Fresh

TAKEOUT DELIVERY SERVICE 1. SKIP THE DISHES 2. Uber Eats 3. DoorDash

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notch8-dining.com • @notch8restaurant 900 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 43


GOLDEN PLATES

Beer finds its footing on the culinary landscape

A

by Mike Usinger

23RD Annual

2020

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s someone who was ahead of the curve when it came to raising the profile of craft beer in British Columbia, Howe Sound Brewing coowner Leslie Fenn has seen a change in the way lagers and ales are regarded on the culinary front. Long gone are the days when the only thing a cold one was paired with was a hot dog or hamburger and a baseball game. And when it comes to getting creative with alcohol in the kitchen, we’ve embraced the idea that wine—and cognac, if we’re being extra fancy—aren’t the only tools at our disposal for creating complex flavour profiles. Fenn entered the beer business as co-owner of Squamish’s Howe Sound Brewing in 1996—a good decade and a half before the B.C. craftbeer scene exploded. “When we started, there were about seven breweries,” she says, on the line from the States, where she’s on business. “Now I think there’s something like 180.” Today, she’s also a co-owner at East Van’s R&B Brewing, with her time on the frontlines giving her a good vantage point for watching the way attitudes towards craft beer have evolved among those who love to cook and eat. Howe Sound Brewing’s menu, for example, features items like Rail Ale BBQ Smoked Chicken Wings and Ale and Cheddar Soup. “Think about how mussels and beer seems to be a standard on menus these days,” says Fenn. “You might have seen it in Europe, in England, Ireland, Belgium, or France 20 years ago, but you wouldn’t have seen that here. Now it’s standard fare in North America.” While folks on this side of the Atlantic took a while to pick up on it, beer has actually been used as a valuable cooking ingredient for centuries. Things date right back to the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians, whose physicians believed that using beer in recipes had health benefits. In stews and traditional chilis, which tend to call for tougher cuts of meat, science comes into play. The process of braising helps break down collagen—the connective tissue that holds muscle fibres in meat together. And while you can use wine or stocks and broths for tenderizing during the braising process, you can also use beer. “Wines can be more acidic, although probably the vintners wouldn’t

Howe Sound Brewing’s Leslie Fenn says beer has many uses in cooking.

agree with that,” Fenn says with a laugh. “Beers are very different. There have been unique beers created for centuries, using so many different yeasts and malts and hops. So when those are added to a recipe, they really add a flavour profile. They can be used for adding a bitterness, or a dark richness. And they can add a lightness, or a hoppiness.” The next time you decide to play amateur Bobby Flay by attempting the celebrity chef’s Red Beef Chili, think about Howe Sound’s Pothole Filler Imperial Stout and what it might add with its pronounced notes of chocolate and coffee. “Porters are also fantastic for adding a toasty aroma to meats in the cooking process because they are dark and strong,” Fenn says. As sure as a traditional American lager has little in common with hopheavy India pale ale, Irish stout, or Belgian lambic, different dishes will call for different beers. “One year we made chocolate ganache and beautiful chocolate truffles to give out,” Fenn says. “And they were a hit—people are still asking us to make them. Chocolate and stouts definitely go together.” With lighter dishes, you obviously go lighter with the beer. So, when breaking out the deep fryer and unleashing your inner Iron Chef on Cat Cora’s Spicy Onion Rings, opt for something like a Red Truck Round Trip Amber Ale. There’s also nothing to stop you from getting creative. When doing a beer-can chicken on the barbecue, work a couple of lemon slices under the skin with the oregano sprigs and then stuff the cavity with a Parallel 49 Grapefruit Tricyle Radler.

see page 46

23RD Annual

2020 22NDAnnual

2019

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arts

Double Happiness braids stories together by Alexander Varty

W

In Double Happiness: Detour This Way, pianist Robyn Jacob (left) and sound artist Nancy Tam join multimedia forces to explore the diverse experiences of the Chinese diaspora. Photo by Daniel O’Shea

hen Only a Visitor singer and pianist Robyn Jacob first approached Nancy Tam about a collaboration, she was only thinking that the acclaimed sound artist and set designer could create a multimedia performance environment to showcase the group’s remarkable Technicolour Education, one of the finest CDs to have emerged from Vancouver in recent years. The record centres around Jacob’s discovery of her Chinese-born mother’s family history, one of emigration, displacement, and a Canadian connection that dates back to 1920; for Tam, adding archival images and recordings to Only a Visitor’s rich soundscapes would have been a relatively routine assignment. But as the two discussed the project, they realized that they had something bigger in mind, something that would deal with both of their histories—and that something is Double Happiness: Detour This Way, which premieres at the Left of Main performance space this week. Both artists will contribute songs, and the band will be Only a Visitor’s

five musicians, augmented by three more singers to handle the complex web of braided stories Tam and Jacob have designed. But there’s more, all the better to capture the overwhelming strangeness of arriving in a new country from some other, beloved but abandoned locale. “Anyone who has ever dug into their own history will find that there are a lot of details, and it’s all over the place,” says Tam, interviewed on speakerphone with Jacob from Left of Main. “It’s like too much at once, or even if there’s not the volume of it, there’s a lot of piecing together that needs to happen. So the stage is set up so that it’s much wider than it is deep, so as you’re watching the show, you kind of have to choose where you look, and you can’t really take in all of the visual information at once. And sonically, because it’s so full, you’re also immersed in a world where you can’t always be, like, ‘We’re listening to this song only.’” It’s all designed to be “a little more theatrical, a little more cinematic” than a typical concert, Tam adds. “There is a band on-stage, there is

It’s really helping me put a new lens on what I was learning from my elders. – Robyn Jacob

live foley on-stage, there’s live videomaking on-stage. There’s also bodies: eight cast members, who are playing and singing as well as creating these stage images. That’s kind of what the show looks like.” Tam, who came to Canada with her family in 1997, shortly before China took control of Hong Kong, draws a loose analogy between the experience of watching Double Happiness and learning to live in a new country. “You kind of know what’s happening and you kind of don’t,” she says.

“Coming to Canada and trying to be a kid still and encountering so many new concepts and new things…was a big part of how I pieced together my identity. And certainly I feel like that experience is not unique. It’s a shared communal experience, and not just within the Chinese diaspora, but within diasporic culture.” As such, her collaborative project with Jacob is a perfect fit for Vancouver, where almost every non-Indigenous family has arrived here from somewhere else, mostly within the past century. And the two seem like a perfect creative fit, as well. In Double Happiness, Jacob explains, they’re also playing with the notion of “twinning”, exploring topics that resonate with both the biracial Canadian and the “third-culture” immigrant. “There are so many parallels that we’ve found through our research,” she says. “In parts of the show we are weaving our own time lines together, and all of the performers participate in both Nancy’s and my songs. “It’s really helping me put a new lens on what I was learning from my elders, and my mom also,” Jacob adds.

“I’ve also met tons of people in the Chinese community who are fantastic contributors to the project, so I think it’s just been so beneficial on so many levels, personally and artistically.” Tam agrees, saying that she finds it particularly gratifying to set Double Happiness’s stories, many having to do with the Chinese past, within a contemporary art-pop sound. And she adds that collaborating with Jacob has given her new insight into her own immigrant experience. “I’ve done this kind of work before in various different projects,” she notes. “But thinking about the word research in the sense of, like, ‘searching again’ has been really alive for me, because all of my grandparents have now passed. There was a sense of loss within the process of re-searching, but I also feel very privileged to be part of this process with Robyn, and having her very personal, intimate stories shared with me, too.” g Music on Main, Neworld Theatre, and plastic orchid factory present Double Happiness: Detour This Way at Left of Main from Thursday (March 12) to March 22.

Trans Scripts gives vivid voice to the margins

T

by Janet Smith

o write Trans Scripts, Part 1: The Women, producer and playwright Paul Lucas held 70 interviews over hundreds of hours around the world, from Cuba to Australia. He talked to people who had gone through transition from the age of 16 all the way up to 68, including everyone from sex workers to a gynecologist. And if you’re expecting the next statement to be about the similarities he found between the stories he heard, think again. The accounts couldn’t have been more diverse, and that’s exactly the point of the work. The verbatim play will be performed here for the first time by members of Vancouver’s own transgender community in a Frank Theatre and Zee Zee Theatre coproduction. “Trans people have had to tell their story in a concise elevator pitch for the past 40 years,” the affable conversationalist Lucas tells the Straight over the phone from his home base in New York City. “That’s because so many people are confused by your journey. But it’s also because there were these gatekeepers [to transitioning] in the medical system, so people would learn what story would get them through the front door and use that— the same narrative elements got told over and over again.”

Trans community members perform the verbatim true stories of others. Photo by Tina Krueger Kulic

Lucas went into the massive project not knowing entirely what he might find. The project was prompted by a conversation he’d had with a gay friend who was ailing in the hospital with HIV. On one of Lucas’s visits to his bedside, the subject of transgender pianist and writer-producer Our Lady J (of Pose fame) came up, and his friend commented, “I don’t believe in this whole transgender thing. I could say I’m a unicorn but that doesn’t make me a unicorn.” “And here is somebody saying that who had to be fairly sensitive to people’s prejudice,” Lucas says.

The comment became a vivid reminder of how marginalized the trans community is. Lucas started looking into his own vast network of contacts and realized he didn’t have many transgender friends amid the thousands in his Rolodex. And so began a project of tracking down individual stories that would take him most of the next few years. The true tales he drew from are given voice here by seven people—in this case, Carolynn Dimmer, Quanah Napoleon, Morgane Oger, Amy Fox, Sabrina Symington, Josie Boyce, and Julie Vu. Frank Theatre director Fay Nass says they all bring personal experience to the stories, but in a vivid illustration of how marginalized the community still is, none of them bring stage experience. “It shouldn’t be that hard to find a trans person with theatre training in Vancouver,” Nass, who codirects with Cameron Mackenzie, observes in a separate phone call. “As truly transgender-identified, we don’t have that much representation—even in cinema.” The artist, who straddles the worlds of community and professional theatre in her work, adds the extra benefit of the Trans Scripts project is the skills it’s building in the women taking part. “They have learned

things about working in theatre, with mentorship and things like approaching a script, and hopefully they can cultivate that,” she says. “The generosity of the cast has been extremely wonderful.” Both Nass and Lucas stress the reach of the play to audiences outside the trans community—those whose knowledge of the subject might perhaps be limited to RuPaul’s Drag Race or Caitlyn Jenner tabloid stories. And Lucas expresses hope that the stories he worked so hard to find will open their minds to a narrative beyond the stereotypes of the trans experience—just like it has opened his own mind. “I am not a fan of ‘I was born this way,’” he asserts. “Why does it matter? What if I just woke up and said, ‘This is what it is’? Why does it make it better? And the idea of being trapped in your own body—like someone had no choice in the matter—to me was something negative and victim-y.” Along the way, Lucas has found himself in awe of the courage, sharp humour, and insights of the dozens of people he connected with for the play. “They are some of the most self-reflective people I’ve met,” he says. g Trans Scripts, Part 1: The Women is at the Firehall Arts Centre from Thursday (March 12) to March 21.

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 45


from page 44

As we’ve become more sophisticated as beer consumers, we’ve also started to pay attention to what pairs well with our food after it leaves the kitchen. Those marriages have long been important to Fenn and her team. “We’ve done pairing with food for about 20 years,” she says. “Think stout and chocolate cake. Our Whitecap Wheat Ale has orange and cardamom in it, so it’s a natural pairing with a light fish dish. It adds to the profile of food whether it’s paired with it or added to it. It’s amazing what you can do.” A pint can also help when you’re starting to regret ordering that extra slab of sliced beef brisket with the flavour-bomb fat cap.

“One of the things that beer does is sort of cut the fat as well,” Fenn says. “When you have something quite greasy, and have a standard pale ale or a British brown, it really cuts the fat.” One of the greatest things about beer is its versatility. Whether you’re cooking with it or drinking it, Fenn notes there’s a style to go with anything, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and baseball. “There are hundreds and hundreds of different versions of beers and ales,” Fenn says. “In many cultures beer is the standard drink instead of wine. If you’re in a British bar you’ll often have a sausage and pint, or a pickled egg and a pint—if you like pickled eggs. I can’t imagine having those things with a wine.” g

READERS’ f CHOICES BEER STORE

NEW BREWERY

1. BREWERY CREEK CRAFT BEER & WINE STORE 3045 Main Street 604-872-3373 2. Coal Harbour Liquor Store 1218 West Pender Street 604-685-1212 3. B.C. Liquor Store 5555 Cambie Street 604-660-9463

1. HOUSE OF FUNK 350 Esplanade East, North Vancouver 604-770-3676 2. BREWHALL 97 East 2nd Avenue 604-709-8623 3. East Van Brewing Co. 1675 Venables Street 604-558-3822

LIQUOR STORE

LOCAL BREWERY

1. LEGACY LIQUOR STORE 1633 Manitoba Street 604-331-7900 2. B.C. Liquor Store 5555 Cambie Street 604-660-9463 3. JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits Various locations

1. RED TRUCK BEER COMPANY 295 East 1st Avenue 604-682-4733 2. Parallel 49 Brewing 1950 Triumph Street 604-558-2739 3. Brassneck Brewery 2148 Main Street 604-259-7686

BREWPUB RESTAURANT 1. BIG ROCK VANCOUVER 310 West 4th Avenue 604-708-8311 2. BREWHALL 97 East 2nd Avenue 604-709-8623 3. Yaletown Brewing Co. 1111 Mainland Street 604-681-2739

PUB 1. IRISH HEATHER & SHEBEEN 210 Carrall Street 604-688-9779 2. Bells and Whistles 3296 Fraser Street 604-620-7990 3. Darby’s Public House 2001 Macdonald Street 604-731-0617

PUB FOOD 1. ALIBI ROOM 157 Alexander Street 604-623-3383 2. The Wicklow 610 Stamps Landing 604-879-0821 3. Irish Heather & Shebeen 210 Carrall Street 604-688-9779

LOCALLY BREWED BEER

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46 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

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1. LIONS WINTER ALE (GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING) 1441 Cartwright Street, Granville Island 604-687-2739 2. 33 Acres of Sunshine (33 Acres Brewing Company) 15 West 8th Avenue 604-620-4589 3. Red Truck Lager (Red Truck Beer Company) 295 East 1st Avenue 604-682-4733

LOCAL BREWERY FLIGHT 1. BRASSNECK BREWERY 2148 Main Street 604-259-7686 2. Parallel 49 Brewing 1950 Triumph Street 604-558-2739 3. 33 Acres Brewing Company 15 West 8th Avenue 604-620-4589

RESTAURANT BEER SELECTION 1. CRAFT BEER MARKET 85 West 1st Avenue 604-709-2337 2. BierCraft, various locations 3. Chambar Restaurant 568 Beatty Street 604-879-7119

CANADIAN BEER 1. STEAM WHISTLE - CANADA’S PILSNER 2. Red Truck Lager (Red Truck Beer Company) 3. Lions Winter Ale (Granville Island Brewing)

BARTENDER 1. JS DUPUIS (TABLEAU BAR BISTRO) 1181 Melville Street 604-639-8692 2. Sabrine Dhaliwal (JUKE Fried Chicken) 182 Keefer Street 604-336-5853 3. Katie Ingram (Elisa) 1109 Hamilton Street 604-362-5443

BEER FESTIVAL/EVENT 1. VANCOUVER CRAFT BEER WEEK 2. Oktoberfest 3. Red Truck Concert Series


ARTS

Diversity comes in threes in Boca series

B

by Janet Smith

oca del Lupo’s upcoming presentation series will give Vancouverites a vivid taste of what diversity in theatre programming could really look like. With Boca now booking Granville Island’s versatile Performance Works along with its tiny Fishbowl venue, artistic director Sherry J. Yoon finds herself one of the few women of colour presenting theatre in the city—not to mention the country. And it’s led her to question what part she has to play in the movement toward more cultural variety on Canadian stages. “My role in presenting is shifting and I asked myself, ‘How can I present something differently?’ The difference being I’m not an institution,” she explains to the Straight over the phone. “So, what would it look like if you were starting from a place that did not need to diversify? “I don’t have tons of role models,” she adds. “It’s important to try something new. It really is about staying relevant and keeping the conversation going—about being a woman of colour and never imagining I’d be in a position like this.” Those ideas take form this spring with the series, three innovative shows by a diverse group of women: the salsafuelled Broken Tailbone by Vancouver Latin-Canadian writer and performer Carmen Aguirre; the immersive Social Docent, moderated by playwright, MC, and social activist Donna-Michelle St. Bernard; and the mix of memoir and Indigenous clowning that is Michelle Thrush’s Inner Elder. “I thought, ‘Why not tie all these ideas in with some audacious exciting women who work within their own culture, history, and cultural intersections in an innovative way?’” Yoon says. “Their work is exceptional and their careers are exceptional.”

Boca del Lupo’s Sherry J. Yoon puts women of colour in spotlight.

Professional Association of Canadian Theatre conference in Montreal. “More than ever it’s important for us to gather, because the instinct is to isolate ourselves and try to do it alone,” Yoon says. “It’s really important to gather and be strong—and in programming, to highlight the stuff theatre has not seen at the forefront. And people are coming and people are interested!” For now, here’s more detail on the 2020 Presentation Series. All of the shows carry on the inventiveness and interactivity that Boca del Lupo’s always been interested in in the works it creates in-house. BROKEN TAILBONE Wednesday to Saturday (March 11 to 14) at Performance Works Fresh off her epic multimedia show Anywhere but Here, theatre artist Aguirre leads a salsa dance lesson, interweaving it with stories, politics, and the spicy sounds of DJ Don Pedro. Don’t forget to wear your dancing shoes.

SOCIAL DOCENT April 1 to 4 at the Museum of Vancouver St. Bernard invites audiences to ask a diverse panel of “culture guides” questions they might normally be too scared to pose. “They can be private, with some at the I don’t have tons of role models. It’s microphone and some emailed,” Yoon explains. “It important to try something new. starts with a real divide between the docent and audience members, and then that collapses and it ends in a – Sherry J. Yoon, Boca del Lupo conversation. I feel like we’re in a country where there’s a niceness and politeness that really keeps us from getting close to each other. Donna-Michelle is so good at animating it; she brings out the best of us with humour At the same time, behind the scenes, Yoon has been and grace and an open heart, creating a safe space for an working on a wider movement to boost women from uncomfortable conversation.” diverse backgrounds in the theatre industry here and across the country. The 3.7% Initiative, named for the INNER ELDER low percentage of key creative roles in Canadian the- April 29 to May 2 at Performance Works atre held by ethnically diverse women, was launched Cree creator-performer Michelle Thrush shares stories by Boca del Lupo to help develop that demographic’s about her journey from growing up in a volatile home to career opportunities in the field. The group does that becoming a successful TV and film actor, with sharp huthrough everything from peer-to-peer learning to work- mour and elements of Indigenous clowning. “She’s comshops and speakers. Yoon reports it’s having its first na- ing here right after the National Arts Centre Indigenous tional meeting in May, with representatives from as far Theatre Project,” Yoon says. “It’s such a personal story afield as Halifax, Winnipeg, and Victoria, as part of the told in such an innovative way.” g

At Sonic Boom, brand-new meets baroque

T

by Alexander Varty

he idea of performing brand-new compositions on the instruments of the baroque era—as the Pacific Baroque Orchestra will do during this year’s edition of the annual Sonic Boom festival—might seem odd. But to PBO artistic director and harpsichord virtuoso Alexander Weimann, there’s nothing untoward about it at all. “Period instruments and their players are one segment of the market as peers among other genres, and it seems quite natural that composers of acoustic music would turn their ears and imagination to these slightly distant or exotic types of instruments,” he reasons in an interview from his Ladner home, hinting that curiosity is a primary motivation for composers—the same kind of curiosity that now finds them incorporating instruments from beyond the western orchestral tradition into their scores. “For us players of baroque music,” Weimann continues, “it’s important to keep in mind that when our music was written, pretty much every musical performance was a premiere, and almost exclusively the brand-new was played. When the first Academy of Ancient Music in London formed [in 1730-31], a composition had to be older than 20 years to qualify for the attribute ‘ancient’! So it seems all too logical for PBO to play its role also with new music.” It’s not only modern-day composers—including Edward Top, Trevor

PBO’s Alexander Weimann puts period instruments to cutting-edge works.

Tunnacliffe, Kamran Shahrokhi, F. Scott Thompson, Carl Winter, and Henry From, all debuting works with the PBO—who benefit from stretching their sonic palettes. Working in the contemporary field “keeps the player alert”, Weimann says. “Nothing in life or art is more detrimental than navigating on autopilot…instead of listening to what every piece wants to tell us, and being responsive to the little signs we perceive when we open our eyes and ears. To do something quite different now and then is very helpful to stay alive. “Of course, in nowadays compositions we get to do things that we are not so used to,” he adds, citing “uneven metres [and] going to the edge of playing technique” as among the skill-testing factors in the PBO’s

March 22 program at the Orpheum Annex. “But I love that. It’s freeing.” The inclusion of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra as Sonic Boom’s resident ensemble will pay dividends for composers and listeners alike; under the direction of first Marc Destrubé and then Weimann, the ensemble has become one of North America’s most accomplished and adventurous period-music ensembles. Also noteworthy at Sonic Boom is the presence of artist in residence Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, a fearless and gifted pianist who’ll premiere works by Rodney Sharman, Jennifer Butler, Jeffrey Ryan, and others at the Vancouver Academy of Music on March 21. Amateur composers will still be featured in most festival events, but Sonic Boom’s jury process aims at keeping musical standards high—although Weimann doesn’t have much to say about that. “I was not part of the process, and I think it’s for the better,” he notes affably. But he also notes that he and the PBO were able to confer with all of the chosen composers and discuss the possibilities of their instruments, a situation he describes as “luxurious”. “I really embraced this cooperation,” he says. “The creation of music is eminently human and basic and important, and we are privileged to have this organization.” g Vancouver Pro Musica presents Sonic Boom at various Vancouver venues from next Thursday (March 19) to March 22.

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 47


"Tabea Zimmermann is one of the greatest players of our time (on any instrument)" — The Observer

“Seldom, if ever, have I encountered such a combination of evident modesty and utter brilliance” — The Times (London)

NOT TO BE MISSED!

TABEA ZIMMERMANN VIOLA JAVIER PERIANES PIANO SUN MAR 29 at 3pm I VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE

Music lovers need no introduction to Tabea Zimmermann; her name is almost synonymous with her instrument. Admired for her exceptionally rich and sensual tone, the acclaimed violist returns to the VRS to partner with the brilliant Spanish pianist Javier Perianes in a program of

ARTS

Drums to cellos, 2020-21 seasons unveiled

S

by Janet Smith

everal big local arts groups have unveiled their 2020-21 seasons, with everything from ukulele orchestras to star string maestros and big Broadway hits on the roster. The Jerusalem Quartet playing all 16 of Ludwig van Beethoven’s string quartets headlines the Vancouver Recital Society’s season. The 2020-21 lineup also includes South African cello sensation Abel Selaocoe, who works with African compositions and umngqokolo throat singing (October 18 at the Vancouver Playhouse). Other names on the schedule include cellist Zlatomir Fung, the Omer Quartet with accordionist Hanzhi Wang, the Dover Quartet with harpist Bridget Kibbey, and the Chiaroscuro Quartet. The season kicks off with star soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci on September 13 at the Vancouver Playhouse. The Jerusalem Quartet appears from October 1 to 8 at the Telus Studio Theatre at the Chan Centre. And the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain visits here as part of the VRS offerings on April 20, 2021,

Cellist Abel Selaocoe comes to the VRS. Photo by Ben Bonouvrier

at the Playhouse. Meanwhile, Beethoven meets the Police in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s wide-ranging 2020-21 season—the company’s 102nd. The third season with maestro Otto Tausk at the helm features classical stars like cellist Mischa Maisky, violinists Itzhak Perlman and James Ehnes, and soprano Measha Brueggergosman, alongside Stewart Copeland in an evening of music by the Police, and Paul Shaffer in Symphony.

Movies like West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain, Rocketman, Back to the Future, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi will see their scores brought to life in special screenings. The season kicks off September 18 and 19 with violin king James Ehnes performing Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, while Tausk leads German composer Richard Strauss’s A Hero’s Life, and debuts a work from Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Croall. October 2 to 3, legendary drummer Stewart Copeland brings his Police Deranged to the orchestra here. String master Itzhak Perlman takes on Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto January 14, 2021, and February 5 to 14, MahlerFest pays tribute to the composer. And in the realm of musical theatre, for its 80th anniversary, Theatre Under the Stars has just announced two big Broadway hits that will rotate on the Malkin Bowl Stage this summer. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Hello, Dolly! will run on alternate evenings from July 4 to August 29 under the trees in Stanley Park. g

Closes Sunday, March 29

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MARCH 19–22, 2020

SAT APR 18 2020 / 8PM

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Kalabanté Afrique en Cirque

RACHEL KIYO IWASSA FEATURED ARTIST

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48 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020

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ARTS

Old Paris comes alive in song by Janet Smith

I

Anne Carrere pays impassioned tribute to Edith Piaf with live musicians and projections in Paris! The Show. Photo by Lise Breton

n springtime, it’s natural to get nostalgic about Paris—especially the old chansons of Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, and Jacques Brel. Cue up Brel’s “Ne me quitte pas”, close your eyes, and you can pretty much transport yourself to a bistro chair off Place du Tertre, an absinthe in one hand, a Gitane in the other. For Nice-based producer Gil Marsalla, the songs of old Paris are a constant state of mind. He’s the mastermind behind the hit Piaf! The Show that hit town last year, with French chanteuse Anne Carrere rekindling the magic of the Sparrow’s singing. But he’s also got five other musical revues touring the planet: Formidable! Aznavour, Brel! The Show, Douce France, Piaf! Symphonique (just announced for June 2021 as part of our own Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Pops series), and Paris! The Show, which comes here this week. With these productions travelling everywhere from Poland to Lima to the United Arab Emirates, 250 shows per year, why such a worldwide

appetite for the emotion-drenched love songs of long-gone French stars? Marsalla says the music is even being celebrated by a new generation at home in France. “Perhaps people want to come back to this kind of ballad—I think this is why it’s coming back,” he offers over the phone from Nice. “The love and the lyrics are so powerful. Plus this allows you to travel to Paris but stay in your seats—there’s accordion, Montmartre.” Marsalla, a former musician who met Aznavour many times, says he spent the last two decades on a search for the right singers to interpret such singular, personal works. Paris! The Show brings a few of his most talented finds together in a tribute to the best-known French songs of the post–Second World War era. It features some of the most beloved songs of Piaf, Aznavour, Brel, Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Lucienne Boyer, Charles Trenet, Yves Montand, and others. Carrere, who famously sold out

Carnegie Hall in 2017 with Piaf!, returns. This time she’s joined by singers Stéphanie Impoco and Jules Grison. (Check out his take on troubadour Aznavour, the “Frank Sinatra of France”, who died in 2018 at 94.) The touring company also includes dancers and a quartet of live musicians. “You need good musicians as well, who are passionate about these songs like me,” Marsalla says. “French music is very specific and so difficult to interpret.” Paris! weaves it all together with a loose story line, following a smalltown girl who dreams of moving to Paris to become a famous artist. Along the way, she befriends Piaf and falls in love with a bohemian painter, Aznavour. Projections of imagery from old Paris complete the effect—and with what’s going on in the world, it may be the safest way to visit the City of Light this spring. g Paris! The Show is at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday (March 18).

Ballet to swoon for, and brains with brawn by Janet Smith

DANCE

ROMEO + JULIET

A Ballet BC production. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Wednesday, March 4. No remaining performances

d IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS since choreographer Medhi Walerski debuted his audaciously contemporary vision of Romeo + Juliet with Ballet BC. With the troupe just back from taking it to L.A. and preparing to tour it as far away as the Sydney Opera House, the work is in finely polished form. Well worth a second viewing, the production staged in stormy whites, greys, and blacks reveals brilliant new nuances. The fact that Walerski is getting ready to take over the helm of the company in July, and that there are so many fresh and exciting new dancers taking on roles in the show, creates even more of a draw. Despite Walerski retaining Sergei Prokofiev’s lush, dramatic score, Theun Mosk’s design has a stark look, with giant rectangular frames that roll around to become everything from the famous balcony to doorways for entries, exits, and hiding. But there is nothing spare about Walerski’s choreographic interpretation of the age-old tale, and that’s why there’s so much more to notice and discover on repeated looks. The brilliance is in the scenes where he uses nonliteral ways to express the emotions and turmoil in the story. In staging the death of Romeo’s buddy Mercutio, Walerski switches the perspective to the dying young man’s, with onlookers suddenly swirling around him after he’s stabbed,

In Romeo + Juliet, Kirsten Wicklund and Dex van ter Meij dance an emotional pas de deux, while Jordan Lang spars with Zenon Zubyk. Photos by Michael Slobodian

laughing in dreamlike slow motion, and finally gathering to lift him up to the light for his final breaths. The second act features black-suited figures who roil and pulse at Juliet’s feet like shadows of death as she contemplates suicide. The choreographer has a way of freezing, stretching, and warping these iconic moments, and others, to find a new, resonant horror in them. Amid this, the performers find beautifully differentiated characterizations. As Romeo, newcomer Dex van ter Meij (who alternates in the role with Justin Rapaport) brings to mind a young, lithe, and heartthrobby Leonard Whiting (from Zeffirelli’s film), turning his spine, arms, and legs liquid in the achingly lovelorn movement that Walerski gives him. He has a sensual second-act pas de deux with Kirsten Wicklund’s feisty Juliet (she alternates with Emily Chessa), literally rolling out of bed together and folding and tangling gorgeously across the floor until they

rise for effortless lifts and turns. Zenon Zubyk, another relative newcomer to the troupe, threatens to steal all his scenes as the joker Mercutio, mocking Romeo’s lovesickness and blending aggro posturing with physical comedy in believable, and hugely entertaining, ways. Ballet BC alumni Makaila Wallace and Dario Dinuzzi bring the sinister Capulet energy—watch him force Juliet to don a wedding veil—and Alexis Fletcher and Peter Smida bring extra charisma to the nurturing Nurse and the empathetic Friar Laurence. This is a production that seems to be getting better with time, its most unforgettable moments—Romeo drawing a stage-filling white sheet off Juliet’s lifeless body, the Capulets engaging in a sinister ballroom dance of doom— carrying even more emotional impact. The dancers make it clear that story ballet—not to mention Shakespeare—has a place in cutting-edge contemporary repertoire. see next page

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 49


from previous page

The beloved voice of a new Mexican-American generation, La Santa Cecilia’s songs “get listeners dancing and thinking at the same time” (The New York Times)

SAT APR 4 2020 / 8PM

La Santa Cecilia chancentre.com

2020VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL DANCEFESTIVAL MARCH 6 –28

EPILOGOS

A Radical System Art production. A Vancouver International Dance Festival presentation. At the Vancouver Playhouse on Friday, March 6. No remaining performances

d RADICAL SYSTEM ART’S new Epilogos is like a marathon for its performers—if they had to do back flips and downrock the entire distance. It’s not just that Vancouver choreographer and performer Shay Kuebler requires his crew to master his singularly athletic mashup of martial arts, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. He also pushes them beyond what should physically be possible. The show demands near-superhuman core strength, as much for the women as the men, as they lift and swing each other around, drop to the ground and snap up again, whipsaw their arms, or flip on one hand across the floor. Kuebler is a master of tension and release, and when the troupe “pops” out of its freezes it’s explosive. During the brief moments when the electro score pauses, all you can hear is bodies gulping for air from the stage. The other indelible aspect of his newest show is its LED light wall, a brilliant floor-to-ceiling backdrop that conjures, by turns, old-Broadway-style stages, pixellated video, rainstorms, lightning, and ever-morphing patterns. It allows Kuebler to shift the moods of each themed section of the work, but also to tap into the glitzy commercial-billboard quality of the lights—a perfect tie-in to the show’s theme of rhetoric, salesmanship, and propaganda. On an added level, the bulbs respond to sound and movement, rippling and erupting. They’re like another character in the show. Epilogos opens with the dancers enacting a ritual, pouring water over a bowed-down Kuebler and dressing him in a suit, tie, and porkpie hat. Kuebler rises to suddenly become “the orator”, a sort of grand showmanpolitician-persuader who mobilizes the six others. He doesn’t speak, but

rather moves his body with the language of rhetoric, pointing, reaching out to us, and raising his arms emphatically above his head. Choreographically, this is Kuebler’s biggest strength in this production: sampling, speeding up, and melding the gestures of dictators and politicians into adrenalized dance sequences. Together they “sell” certain ideas—morality, duty, integrity, compassion, and other values are spelled out digitally across the light wall to theme each vignette. The concepts are part of Bushido’s samurai moral code. Each projects a different mood: “courage” finds Kuebler darting amid a lightning storm, stopping each time a bolt cuts down the light wall; “compassion” features the dancers turning and supporting each other in sculptural lifts; “honour” starts with Kuebler’s showman pop-and-lockposturing in a regal gold robe. But then the power shifts and the minions turn on their leader. He tries the same shtick over and over, but things start to glitch out—in his body and across the light wall. Let’s just say everyone realizes the emperor has no clothes. That’s when it becomes most apparent that Kuebler is talking about our world—one full of fast talkers and divisive rhetoric that sometimes backfires. Donald Trump looms large. Epilogos continues the artist’s themes of manipulation and control from his last piece, the tap-fuelled Telemetry. He also pushes further with his group work, sending bodies rolling and scattering into elaborate formations and then freezing them before they erupt again. There’s a lot going on in Epilogos, possibly too much; sometimes the audience needs a breather to take in some of the more oblique intellectual concepts—with wide-ranging touchstones from Aristotle to samurai culture—not to mention the high-octane dance. But with humour, cutting-edge visuals, and truly pummelling dance, Kuebler is pushing ever ambitiously into timely ideas. Call it a show that has brains and brawn. g

> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < WORKING NEAR BURRARD

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 20, 2020 WHERE: Near Burrard SkyTrain Station

Ferenc Fehér photo by Cserkuti Gyorgy

UPCOMING: Experience Ferenc Fehér at the VIDF’s nightclub venue, KW Production Studio, March 11 - 14 @ 9:15pm. See free performances by Boogaloo Academy, Now or Never Crew & Modus Operandi March 15 @ 2pm and 3pm in Woodward’s Atrium

Roundhouse

March 19-21 @ 7pm: Farouche March 19-21 @ 8pm: inDANCE KW Production Studio

Info & Box Office:

VIDF.CA 604.662.4966

March 25-28 @ 9:15pm: FakeKnot

Roundhouse

March 26-28 @ 7pm: Olivia Shaffer March 26-28 @ 8pm: Ichigo-Ichieh Vancouver Playhouse

March 27-28 @ 8pm: Kokoro Dance

I was working in front of a hotel, when you came from the street and asked for directions to the train. I asked where you were heading expecting you to say airport. You said Port something, so I showed you where Burrard Station was. As I was walking to the sidewalk I heard, "You're hot, so I'll follow you". I couldn't believe someone as gorgeous as you thought I was hot! Your name started with a J. You were (presumably still are) Caucasian, brown hair, black shoes, black jacket, blue jeans. I doubt you'll see this, but if you do, could I maybe get a mulligan on meeting you so I can ask you for your number?

CONVERSATION AT SECOND BEACH

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 8, 2020 WHERE: Second Beach/English Bay Vancouver It's Mary from the beach. I asked you for a conversation, and I really liked that you were up for going deep without any awkwardness. I got the sense that you are happily and intentionally single, or perhaps in a monogamous relationship. Without overstepping any of those boundaries, or the boundaries of your introversion, I would love to have another conversation. Unlike you, I am easy to find online. Just google my name, my profession, and my city.

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 6, 2020 WHERE: East Van

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I saw you walking down Main Street this morning I would guess you are in your late 40’s. I guess you were going to work. What a pleasure it was to witness your fabulous vintage look.

BRANDIS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 4, 2020 WHERE: Brandis

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I was obnoxiously drunk and kept asking you how I knew you. I just want to apologize, I was very rude and wasn't respecting your boundaries.

SALTED CARAMEL

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 25, 2019 WHERE: Whole Foods Freezer Door You liked Salted Caramel at the freezer in Whole Foods. I said I liked Strawberry Rhubarb. Wanna get together and share flavours with your wife(?) Still curious about your flavour... sure felt like Christmas when we met. ;)

PUPPET SHOW

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 26, 2020 WHERE: Cultch on Main Wow! You actually replied on “I saw you” I was thrilled but my email to you keeps bouncing back. Please try again Duke.

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You’re a server and we’ve briefly spoken before about a libra night last year. I like the vibe between us, just curious if you’d be down to get a coffee/ drink sometime? Probably should’ve asked in person... but hey, who does that nowadays!

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I SAW YOU, SPACE MOUSE!

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 29, 2020 WHERE: YVR Absolutely gorgeous blonde with your friend, probably the sexiest feet I’ve ever seen. No I don’t have a foot fetish, yet... Eyes connected a couple times. Wish I had taken a chance. What I would do for a chance to share some tacos and tequila

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 1, 2020 WHERE: Bakery, South Granville

I Saw You buying a croissant for a friend, dressed all in Lycra. You were reading some Lainey Gossip on your phone and you were unbelievably nice and polite to everyone. You mentioned something about beaver spotting and I’m wondering if there’s any chance that may have been a euphemism..? ;) I’d love to check out the Stanley Park beavers with you some time...

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 26, 2020 WHERE: Kitsilano I’ve seen you around the building a few times lately, and think you’re super cute. Last week you saw me helping some people carry the furniture they bought from me down the stairs, and then struck up a conversation in our hallway about my impending move. I was sweaty and in packing mode and you completely caught me off guard, hence my single sentence answers and awkward smile as I quickly ducked back into my apartment (where I proceeded to curse myself out for missing an opportunity to chat you up). Maybe you were literally just being neighborly, but if you had other intentions I’d love to hear what those were...

LEAVING THE VOGUE, AFTER THE RONNIE CHIANG COMEDY SHOW

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PAWN SHOP YVR

BREWHALL I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 7, 2020 WHERE: Brewhall

VINTAGE DREAM

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: FEBRUARY 22, 2020 WHERE: The Vogue You were exiting the theater. You appeared to be by yourself, well-dressed and put together. I was with a guy friend, and after I went on to Granville trying to look for you. I eventually saw you picking up a snack in an eatery a few doors down. We should of went in for a coffee, and a chance to talk with you. If you do see this, try to connect with me.

Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ 50 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020


ARTS

Wedding Party marries big laughs and chaos INHERITANCE: A PICK-THEPATH EXPERIENCE

Todd Thomson and Andrea del Campo. Photo by David Cooper

THEATRE

THE WEDDING PARTY

By Kristen Thomson. Directed by Ann Hodges. An Arts Club Theatre Company production, in partnership with Prairie Theatre Exchange. At the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre on Wednesday, March 4. Continues until March 22

d THE UNDERLYING CHAOS of a wedding is in the tension of families forced together because two people fall for each other and decide to celebrate their union with a legally binding contract. In other words, it’s the perfect setting for a comedy— particularly one about class warfare, love, and familial dysfunction. Toronto playwright Kristen Thomson mines this territory reasonably well in The Wedding Party, which features a sprawling cast of characters, but only six actors, meaning each cast member is playing multiple roles. In a smart move, Sherry and Jack Jr., the wedded couple, are only mentioned and seen in shadow or from behind in video projections. We find out three things immediately: Sherry and Jack Jr. had a whirlwind romance; Jack Jr.’s family is very rich and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this wedding; and secretly Jack Sr. (Todd Thomson) is not thrilled about the match. He believes Sherry and her family are beneath him, even as he’s cracking jokes about the size of his new daughter-in-law’s breasts and trying to put on a show of how worldly he is, particularly compared to Maddy (Jane Spidell), Sherry’s mom, whose insecurities and “big mouth” are exacerbated by her fondness for alcohol. When Maddy overhears Jack Sr. trash-talking Sherry, the façade of politeness crumbles and they go head-to-head. High jinks ensue when Tony, Jack Sr.’s long-estranged identical twin, shows up. Tony and Maddy bond and flirt, and Jack Sr.’s wife, Margaret (Luisa Jojic), can’t tell the brothers apart. Conflicts escalate and reach a fever pitch when Sherry and Jack Jr. take off and the wedding party is left to deal with the fact that they’ve maybe ruined the couple’s day. The entire cast works well together, and each actor has at least one moment in which they get to really earn the spotlight, but the standout is Jane Spidell as Maddy. Drunk, single, working-class mother of the bride could be a mess of stereotypes in another actor’s hands, but Spidell brings the necessary nuance and humanity, transforming Maddy into a complex, fierce, funny, and sympathetic character. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments throughout The Wedding Party, but the play is not as comedically sharp as it could be. Some of the jokes are so old and tired that they feel like relics of a different era, whereas other scenes are so absurdist and clever that they’re a total delight. With so much going on, the pace needs to be brisk, and slightly tighter direction could make the farcical elements feel fresher. But thanks to some inspired performances and genuinely hilarious moments, The Wedding Party mostly lives up to its name. by Andrea Warner

Created by Daniel Arnold, Darrell Dennis, and Medina Hahn. Directed by Herbie Barnes. A Touchstone Theatre and Alley Theatre production, in association with Vancouver Moving Theatre and in community partnership with the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. At the Annex Theatre on Thursday, March 5. Continues to March 15

d WHAT WOULD YOU do if an Indigenous nation laid claim to the land your family cabin—your “inheritance”—sits on? Would you split the territory 50-50? Hand it all over? Tell them to get off “your” property? Daniel Arnold, Darrell Dennis, and Medina Hahn’s creatively ambitious new interactive production actually invites you to answer those and other questions—anonymously—and your responses will help shape the course of the story. The real question is, though: will you be honest, or choose what you perceive to be the right, progressive course of action? In its investigation of unceded land, Inheritance: a pick-the-path experience makes you consider your own actions and responsibility as our nation negotiates reconciliation and justice. That may be one of the biggest achievements in what is also a pretty fun idea. When audience members enter either side of the traverse stage area, they find clickers on their seats. At certain segments of the show, they’re given the chance to vote by multiple choice on the route the play should take. The onus this puts on the actors, with about 50 possible pathways, is mind-boggling, but the cast rides the shifts with apparent ease. Sometimes the questions are simple—our first assignment is to choose the music that opens the show (will that be the Clash or A Tribe Called Red?)—sometimes they are funny (one selection reads “Keep that shit to yourself”), and sometimes they tread into more political questions about property rights in our postcolonial world. The show gets off to a strong and engaging start, with urbanites Abbey (Hahn) and Noah (Arnold) disembarking from a boat to visit her father at the remote rural cabin that’s been in the family for years. But when they arrive, they only find Frank (Dennis), a local Indigenous man, staying there instead. Dennis is adept at creating a character who can by turns seem sinister or harmless, mixing humour with more cutting gibes at the couple’s privilege—say, Noah’s fear of bears. Over time, he reveals himself an astute, politicized thinker, one with a sardonic bent; listen to the way he laughs when Noah talks about the progress of reconciliation. Things feel a little stretched when it’s revealed that Abbey’s father has set up a sort of scavenger hunt for the land’s deed. A hunting gun comes into play, and Dennis starts to list off a lot of facts about land claims and history. The book Unsettling Canada takes a role, and it seems to have inspired a lot of the writing, too. The fact that the non-Indigenous population hogs 99.8 percent of the land in this country, and the way that links to dependency and poverty, forms the basis of Frank’s argument— timely information to emphasize in this province right now. Those informational bits make the plot bog down a bit near the end, even with the fun facts (the definition of “unceded”, say) that pop up occasionally on the show’s two big screens. Those projections also tally our votes, as well as showcase coolly expressive cabin sketches, map illustrations, and other imagery by Sammy Chien, Shang-Han Chien, and their

artists’ collective Chimerik. Set designer Lauchlin Johnston conjures additional visual interest with a zigzaggy stage that looks like a deconstructed 3-D map sprouting sawed-off tree stumps. Dennis and Arnold’s characters develop a rich dynamic, the liberalminded Noah trying to bro it up hilariously with the acerbic stranger. And the script cleverly digs into ideas of entitlement, liberalism, and privilege. At one point, Abbey and Noah try to argue they deserve the land Hahn and Daniel Arnold star in because they’re pinched by the sky- Medina Inheritance. Photo by Emily Cooper high costs of real estate (presumably Vancouver’s)—as if that would com- even more layers of debate by empare to centuries of mistreatment. phasizing Hahn’s own immigrant The play might have garnered past in a stronger way. And some

of its late-stage historic explanation could have been tightened up. All of this should be qualified, however, by the fact that the show changes drastically each night due to audience choices; word of mouth is that it can be by turns lighter and funnier or more of an action-thriller. Still, the creative team is definitely onto something here, using a lively mix of humour and interactive technology to work through heavy concepts. Viewers go out into the night with the knowledge that land issues will never be solved with an easy click of the button. And more importantly, with plenty to think about their own role in the matter.

by Janet Smith

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 51


ARTS LISTINGS ONGOING SHUVINAI ASHOONA: MAPPING WORLDS A selection of drawings created by the acclaimed Inuk artist over the past two decades. To May 24, Vancouver Art Gallery. PLAYING WITH FIRE: CERAMICS OF THE EXTRAORDINARY Exhibition of ceramic works by 11 celebrated B.C.â&#x20AC;&#x201C;based artists. To Mar 29, Museum of Anthropology at UBC. From $16.

VIFFâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19

VIFFâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19

ACTS OF RESISTANCE Artwork of seven Indigenous artist-activists from the Pacific Northwest. To Jul 1, Museum of Vancouver. THEATRESPORTS Two teams of players are pitted against each other in competitive improv matches. To Mar 26, Improv Centre. From $10.75. THE WEDDING PARTY Comedy about a wedding where the two families are at each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s throats. To Mar 22, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. From $29. BEST OF ENEMIES Civil-rights drama about the battle between an activist and a KKK leader. To Mar 21, Pacific Theatre. $20-36.50. THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER Stage adaptation of A.A. Milneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book blends puppetry and music. To Mar 29, Waterfront Theatre. $18/29/35.

FRI. MAR. 13

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VIFFâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19

GROWING ROOM: LITERARY & ARTS FESTIVAL The 2020 Growing Room Festival will take place from March 11-15, 2020. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The new guard of CanLit has arrived, and it is young, diverse, wiredâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and passionately political.â&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;The Toronto Star. Growing Room is Room magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual literary and arts festival, a celebration of diverse Canadian writers and artists which takes place every March. Mar 11-15, Mount Pleasant. Pay what you can/by donation.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13 FRISKY FRIDAY Improvised late-night comedy show. To Mar 27, 11:15 pm, Improv Centre. From $10. A WILDERNESS OF SEA The Vancouver Chamber Choir and Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Elmer Iseler Singers perform. Mar 13, Pacific Spirit United Church. $33/29/15. SHEN YUN New York-based Chinese performing-arts production. Mar 13-22, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. $95-239.

SATURDAY, MARCH 14

UBC GALA BALL International ballroomdance competition for dancers of all levels TRANS SCRIPTS, PART I: THE WOMEN The and ages Mar 14-15, 10 am, AMS Nest. $10/15. TEATRO INTIMO DEL FLAMENCO Karen Frank Theatre and Zee Zee Theatre present Flamenco presents a one-hour flamenco a work featuring local transgender actors, music and dance production. Mar 14, 3-4 pm, activists, artists, and politicians. Mar 12-21, 5-6 pm, Improv Centre. $12. 7:30 pm, Firehall Arts Centre. From $17. REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. A non- â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S OPERA, DOC?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Vivaldi Chamber Choir presents â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Opera, Doc?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, linear, post-modern manifesto by Alice Birch. Featuring great opera arias and choruses, Warning: adult content. Mar 12-28, 7:30-9:30 with guest soloists Elaina Moreau (soprano), pm, Frederic Wood Theatre. $24.50-11.50. Tabitha Brass (mezzo soprano), Mark Pepe BILL COLEMAN: DOLLHOUSE Toronto(tenor), and William Liu (baritone). Mar 14, based dancer performs a duet with experi7:30 pm, St. Helenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anglican Church (4405 mental sound artist Gordon Monahan. Mar W. 8th); and Mar 15, 3 pm, West Vancouver 12-14, 8 pm, Scotiabank Dance Centre. $22-35. United Church (2062 Esquimalt Ave.). $25/22. CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES Members of Manhattan Chamber Players perform works by DvoĹ&#x2122;ĂĄk and Brahms. Mar 14, 7:30 pm, West Vancouver United Church. $35/25. TIMELESS TREASURES Laudate Singers perform music from the Renaissance to the Beatles. Mar 14, 8 pm, Pyatt Hall. $35/30/20/10.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12

The Vancouver Burlesque Co. STUDENT SHOWCASE 9:00 pm Get ready

to usher in spring with a sparkly Student Showcase! Come see all the hard work and dedication put into the last few months of the VBC. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for well stage debuts from fresh-faces, a shining starburst of group numbers, plus appearances from some of your favourite instructors, as well as an appearance from headliner The Luminous Pariah!

FANTASTIC FUNGI 4:20 pm â&#x20AC;&#x153;Visually stunning and groundbreakingâ&#x20AC;? (SF WEEKLY) %JSFDUFECZBXBSEXJOOJOHmMNNBLFSBOEQJPOFFSPGUJNFMBQTFQIPUPHSBQIZ Louie Schwartzberg, and narrated by Oscar-winner Brie Larson, this profound documentary is an immersive journey into the magical earth beneath our feet: An underground network with the potential to heal and save our planet. Minors OK! Also March 15 at 2:00 pm

TITMOUSE 5 SECOND ANIMATION DAY 8:00 pm Rush seating only! Subject

to availability.

FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD 11:00 pm The Rioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Friday Late Night Movie series continues on Friday, March 13 withâ&#x20AC;ŚFRIDAY THE 13th! (So meta.) This time, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re screening 1988â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entry, THE NEW BLOOD (aka Part VII). Minors OK!

PRINCESS MONONOKE 1:00 pm Anime looks better on the big screen! Family-friendly screening of Hayao Miyazakiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1997 fantasy-fable. Minors OK! English Dub. Kid pricing in effect!

JOJO RABBIT 4:00 pm â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Waititiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to balance unassailably goofy moments with an acknowledgment of real-life horrors that makes the movie exceptional.â&#x20AC;? (Time Magazine) Oscar-winner Taika Waititi wrote, directed, and stars in this satirical coming of age tale about a young German boy whose imaginary spirit guide through the devastating turmoil of WW2 happens to be... Adolf Hitler. Minors OK! Also March 16 9:00 pm, March 22 6:20 pm

SATURDAY MAR. 14

EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY

ANNA BELLA EEMA Sol Theatre Collective presents Lisa Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Amourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s play, directed by Charles Siegel. To Mar 15, 8 pm, Vancity Culture Lab. $30.

BROTHERHOOD 6:30 pm i"QPXFSGVM mHIUGPSTVSWJWBMTUPSZGSPN$BOBEJBOEJSFDUPS Richard BellySFBMJTUJDBOETQFDJmDy5IFmMNJTBXBTIJOQFSJPEEFUBJM5IJTNPEFSOUBMLJFUFMMT a powerful story.â&#x20AC;? (The National Post) Set in the 1920s, Brotherhood recounts the true story of a HSPVQPGZPVUIBUBTVNNFSDBNQXIPIBEUPmHIUGPSTVSWJWBMXIFOBOVOGPSFTFFOUIVOEFSTUPSN overwhelmed their canoe trip. Filmmakers in attendance for Q&A! Minors OK!

TUESDAY, MARCH 17 SHAMROCKS AND SHENANIGANS Vancouver TheatreSports presents an improvised St. Patrickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day show. Mar 17, 7:30 pm, Improv Centred. $19.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 LIGHT RAPID TRANSIT Play explores the ways human beings affect one another through chance encounters and random acts. Mar 18-29, Historic Theatre. $12/15/20.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19 ORQUESTA TIPICA LA JUAN Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ARIENZO: TANGO ARGENTINO Direct from Buenos Aires, the top tango orchestra in the world today puts on a mesmerizing and unforgettable performance. Experience the unique sound of four bandoneons, four violins, piano, and contrabass, joined on stage by singer Fernando Rodas and professional tango dancers. On stage for one night only at the beautiful York Theatre in Vancouver. Mar 19, 8 pm, York Theatre. $38-52.

Arts

HOT TICKET

BOMBSHELL 9:30 pm The provocative, real story of three whip-smart, ambitious, strong women (Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie in Oscar-nominated performances) who anchored one of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most powerful news networks--becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous. Minors OK! Also March 16 6:30 pm, March 17 9:15 pm

BENJAMIN GROSVENOR

SUNDAY MAR. 15

LITTLE WOMEN 4:15 pm â&#x20AC;&#x153;Not just for women of whatever size. Warm but never wishy-

washy, cosy without being cutesy, this is a superb adaptation of the source and further evidence that Greta Gerwig is the real deal.â&#x20AC;? (Empire Magazine) With Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, TimothĂŠe Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep. Minors OK! Also March 17 & 18 at 6:15 pm

TOKYO GODFATHERS (2020 RESTORATION!) 7:15 pm â&#x20AC;&#x153;Takes anime to a whole new level.â&#x20AC;? (Variety) The late, great Satoshi Konâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (Perfect Blue, Paprika) masterpiece is by turns heartfelt, hilarious and highly original, a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Minors OK! Japanese with English subs.

THE LODGE 9:30 pm â&#x20AC;&#x153;Riley Keoughâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is so strong, so effective, that by the time we

learn the ultimate fate of Grace, we would have bought into any of the possible optionsâ&#x20AC;? (Chicago Sun-Times) The latest white-knuckle thriller from the team behind arthouse horror hit Goodnight Mommy. Minors OK!

MAR. 18

The Fictionals Comedy Co. Presents LADIES AGAINST HUMANITY

8:00 pm Oh, the womanity! Some of the funniest women in Vancouver will celebrate kickass women everywhere through hilarious improv scenes in a live event that brings Cards Against Humanity to life. With Denise Jones, Meagan Hommy, Jalen Saip, Rachel Kent, Aida Viziru, Sarah Dawn Pledge, Margret Nyfors, Lauren McGibbon, Taylor Ray, Rachelle Lachland, Kia Rae, Alex Gullason, and host Claire Pollock. Minors OK!

Ladies Against Humanity

A QUIET PLACE PART II

Wednesday, March 18, 7:00pm Scotiabank Theatre O P E N S I N T H E AT R E S M A R C H 2 0 52 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 19 / 2020

20

series continues with Sigourney Weaver kicking all the asses and taking all the names in an iconic, trailblazing performance in Ridley ScottTMFHFOEBSZTDJmIPSSPSDMBTTJDMinors OK!

ASS-TROLOGY BURLESQUE 9:00 pm The stars have aligned!

April Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Peel ProductionsUBLFTPWFSUIFTUBHFPOUIFUSBEJUJPOBMmSTUEBZPGUIFBTUSPMPHJDBMZFBS BOEIBTBTTFNbled Vancouverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s superstar teasers for a glittering Zodiac Burlesque Show of Celestial Bodies!

MAR. 22 21

Visit for your chance to win a double pass to the advance screening of

ALIEN 11:00 pm In space, no one can hear you scream. Our Friday Late Night Movie

THE GREAT DICTATOR 3:45 pm Charlie Chaplinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s classic 1940 social satire plays as part of a double bill with Taika Waititiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jojo Rabbbit at 6:20 pm. See one, or see â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;em both! Minors OK!

COME AND SEE 9:00 pm 3FTUPSBUJPOPG3VTTJBOmMNNBLFSElem Klimovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 1985 stark drama about Nazi barbarity in 1943 Soviet Union. English subs. Minors OK!

(March 15 at the Vancouver Playhouse) Discovered as a prodigy, the 27-year-old British pianist has enjoyed a meteoric rise ever since. The Vancouver Recital Society brings the polished, expressive young talent back for an afternoon of lush Liszt, Schumann, and Rameau.

REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. (March 12 to 28 at

the Frederic Wood Theatre) Playwright Alice Birch tears down language, institutions, and theatrical forms in her humourspiked, ferociously feminist gut punch. The young UBC Theatre and Film crew take on the series of radically deconstructed vignettes. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just one of Birchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stage directions to give you a sense of what awaits: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most importantly this play should not be well behaved.â&#x20AC;? g

SUNDAY, MARCH 22 LINCOLN CENTER YOUNG MASTERS ENSEMBLE Six talented musicians from the Lincoln Center presenting early masterpieces--a piano quartet of Mozart and Richard Strauss and a string quintet of Mendelssohn. Led by Gilles Vonsattel on piano, this is a chance to hear works not performed very often for us. Mar 22, 3 pm, Vancouver Playhouse. $60 early/$70 at door. ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it into the paper will appear on the website.


MOVIES

Out with the old, to hell with the new REVIEWS TO LIVE TO SING

Starring Zhao Xiaoli. In Mandarin, with English subtitles. Rated PG

d SOMETIME VANCOUVERITE Johnny Ma, who made the prizewinning Old Stone, about gaps in the Chinese health-care system (and much more), changes gears here, following a Sichuan-opera troupe on the verge of collapse. The picaresque story centres on tough-as-nails Zhao Li (Zhao Xiaoli), struggling to keep her company going as times and tastes keep changing. Currently, her pretty niece Dan Dan (Gan Guidan) is bringing some new customers to add to the doddering oldsters who make up most of the base for this more dancebased variation on the better-known Beijing opera style. But Dan Dan is using her noodle to start a parallel career as nightclub performer— something her aunt, who essentially raised her, sees as the road to perdition. Some of the other performers are sneaking off to do the “mask dance” at popular restaurants, illustrating how archaic forms carry on in vestigial fashion. The demolitions facing their home theatre (and just about everything else in fast-changing China) are real and so are the performers, who do their own music and dancing here. It’s essentially a “let’s put on a show to save our beloved roller rink” story, given fresh life in a classical setting. Mainly, it gives us a chance to observe the quirky relationships between the players, recalling the better moments of Yasujiro Ozu’s A Story of Floating Weeds, about a struggling kabuki troupe.

A Sichuan opera troupe looks for new digs in director Johnny Ma’s To Live to Sing.

The awkwardly titled movie’s episodic structure, which veers from spooky magic realism to bureaucratic entropy, is not always so engaging. The pileup of set pieces near the end is almost too much of a good thing; they feel like they were shot at a different time and place, and Ma didn’t want to waste them. But this talented young filmmaker makes an entertaining case for not throwing out the cornerstones of your culture to build a shiny new skyscraper that, one day, will also fall. by Ken Eisner

RED SNOW

Starring Asivak Koostachin. Rated PG

d THE POETIC, MYSTICAL touches that have made B.C. Métis artist Marie Clements’s plays so striking find vivid new expression on film. As writer and director for Red Snow, she brings deliriously atmospheric storytelling and imagery to a tale that splits its time between two unlikely locations: the Arctic and Afghanistan (the arid B.C. Interior standing in for the latter). That she

achieves this kind of resonant lyricism on an almost impossibly ambitious shoot says something about Clements’s abilities. When Gwich’in soldier Dylan (Asivak Koostachin) is kidnapped by the Taliban in Kandahar, haunting memories of doomed love and death in the Canadian North start to resurface. But he begins to connect with a Pashtun family, and as they flee together, he discovers the similarities between their cultures—oppression, loss, and survival skills, especially in the film’s blizzarding climax. Clements cuts back and forth in time to tell the story, showing memories in dreamlike fragments. One of her more creative devices is a play on the myth that the Inuit have hundreds of words for “snow”. At symbolic moments in Red Snow, words are handwritten in Inuvialuktun across shots of falling flakes, with their English translations—like “snow that brings a new beginning”. (Inuvialuktun is the language of Dylan’s cousin, whom he’s forbidden to love.) Adding to the atmosphere are Inuk

throat singing and Wayne Lavallee’s haunting soundtrack, not to mention the indelible imagery—a close-up of mukluks crunching through snow as blood spills from an unseen wound, wide shots of snowmobiles racing over white plains, or an ice-blue burqa rippling in slo-mo as it’s raised by its wearer. Koostachin holds the centre with a compelling, nuanced performance as the soft-spoken but tormented Dylan. Tantoo Cardinal is a strong presence as his empathetic grandmother, and Shafin Karim and death-threat-braving Afghan talk-show host Mozhdah Jamalzadah give impassioned performances as an Afghan translator and his defiant daughter. Clements manages to sew together diffuse ideas, touching on subjects as far-flung as the plague of suicide in Canada’s northern communities, Gwich’in spirituality, the education ban on Afghan women, and the rise of the Taliban. When a Taliban warrior asks Dylan, “You are on my land protecting your country?” it triggers a head-spinning array of issues around territory and its ownership, here and abroad. At times, the film is more adept at fusing those concepts than it is at melding genres, struggling to adrenalize the action sequences, and working a bit too earnestly on the bond between Dylan and Afghan boy Tahir (Ishaan Vasdev). But those flaws are easily excused when you consider the momentous challenges of Clements’s shoot. Principal photography on the film was limited to just under three weeks, between the subzero Northwest Territories and the Kamloops area. Clements not only required three cultural adviser/translators on the film—Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, and

Pashtun—but Koostachin had to learn Gwich’in from scratch to perform half of his lines (which he does convincingly). Clements, as she’s done with plays from the First World War–inspired Iron Peggy to the ancient Greek Indigenous tale Age of Iron, manages to make grand associations between First Nations stories and the outside world. With Red Snow, the visual storytelling lives up to those epic ambitions.

by Janet Smith

THE WHISTLERS

Starring Vlad Ivanov. In English, Romanian, and Spanish, with English subtitles. Rated 18A

d THIS CLEVER LITTLE item never meta noir it didn’t like. That is, this chilled-out thriller is so packed with homages to movie tropes, new and old, it scarcely has time for the story in the foreground. And that doesn’t matter one bit. The Whistlers is a nifty change of pace for Romanian writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu, whose name sounds like an ancient Latin puzzle game—which is not that far off. He usually makes grittier social studies (like 12:08 East of Bucharest), not without humour, but more sobersided than anything in this geography-hopping fun ride. Porumboiu forges a link with earlier efforts by casting frequent collaborator Vlad Ivanov—who looks something like Michael Keaton after too many beers—as a Bucharest cop named Cristi. In Police, Adjective, the deceptively bland Ivanov played a doctrinaire detective who harried a morally ambivalent narc, also named Cristi.

see page 55

The fearless Mozhdah has a new show

T

by Adrian Mack

here was a permanent security detail outside her house, armed barricades at each end of the block, armoured vehicles to take her to work, and another three barricades to cross when she arrived. For three years in Kabul, she lived under the persistent threat of death. But nothing shook Mozhdah Jamalzadah quite so hard as putting on a burqa in Kamloops. “That burqa was the one my mom used when we escaped Afghanistan,” explains the 34-year-old actor-singer, reached by the Georgia Straight at her home in downtown Vancouver. “Putting it on, in the 36-degree heat, I couldn’t breathe, my eyes were tearing up, I was hyperventilating. I said, ‘Okay, Marie, I can’t do this…’ ” Jamalzadah was shooting the film Red Snow with acclaimed writerdirector Marie Clements. Kamloops was playing Afghanistan— very convincingly, it must be said. Jamalzadah’s character was that of a woman abducted by the Taliban and used as a pawn in the ambush and torture of a Canadian soldier. And the neophyte actor was, very clearly, deep into her role. “Everything came full circle,” she says. “It was very emotional.” The crew assumed Jamalzadah was reacting to the heat. She protested: “ ‘No! I think I’m having a mental breakdown!’ Because all these years I’m fighting for women’s rights but for the first time I’ve actually stepped into their shoes. At least they could call ‘cut’ and I could flip it over, unlike these women back home. They can’t do that. Hours and hours out in the heat. That was a big lesson for me.” There are remarkable stories on both sides of Clements’s camera. Jamalzadah’s family fled to Canada when she was five. After establishing herself as a singer-songwriter in Vancouver, she caught the attention of Afghan broadcaster TV1, which gave

Kabul sensation Mozhdah Jamalzadah makes her feature debut in Red Snow.

Jamalzadah her own talk show in 2009. The remit, largely, was women’s issues, and The Mozhdah Show became a huge, if controversial, hit. Back in Canada, what Clements saw was a proven personality and veteran performer who came front-loaded as a symbol of female resistance. “I thought it was a joke,” says Jamalzadah, recalling the Facebook message Clements sent in 2013 inviting her to read the screenplay for Red Snow. She loved it but had no acting experience. Clements’s response: “That’s not necessary because you are her. I’ve been following your work and what you do, and you are Kathira.” “It definitely wasn’t the first offer I had to work in a movie,” Jamalzadah says. “When you get into the industry and you’re the only Afghan out there, it’s bound to happen. But every time I was approached by other directors, it was with characters that were weak; a victim of rape, for instance, or domestic violence. I didn’t want to start off that way.” Kathira is no victim—not for long, anyway. She’s a “badass”, in Jamalzadah’s words, who turns tables on her captors, helping to rescue a Gwich’in soldier who sets off with Kathira’s family across tribal land fraught with

danger. He’s haunted by memories of an Inuit lover and family tragedy, while Kathira and her kin grieve the murder of her mother. It’s an audacious move, nesting with poetic force these two images of Indigenous and tribal life separated by continents. “Marie’s a genius,” says Jamalzadah. “The more you watch it, the more you get from it.” Viewers evidently agree. Red Snow, which opens Friday (March 13), was voted most popular Canadian feature at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival. At the close of this year’s Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (March 8), it took home awards for best screenplay, direction, and film—an especially sweet win given the theme of Jamalzadah’s life and career. “When I read the script,” she says, “I thought if I were put in Kathira’s situation, I would have done the exact same thing she did. There were times when I was shooting it that I was filled with emotion just because of the similarities.” The vital difference is that Jamalzadah arrived in Canada with her family—including mom and two brothers—intact. Asked to identify the source of her own fighting spirit, she pauses before answering: “I’m thinking that some of it might be innate. Maybe it’s the Afghan blood. The crazy part. I’m not scared of anything, and that’s what helps me to stand up and speak out against injustice. And I think a lot of it had to do with my parents. By the time I was 16 my dad gave me the best advice ever. He said, ‘Don’t ever live for anybody else. Do what makes you happy. Live for you only.’ This is my hero. And my mom, she’s amazing. She’s been able to be the strong woman that she is, again, because of my father. He never restricted her in any way. We’re a power team. When I see them and I see their relationship and the way that they raised us—it’s just ideal. I’m very fortunate.” g

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 53


Madou Diarra & Dakan

Hunter music from the Mandinka Empire With a new uptown sound Special delivery - invisible touch Self-titled album available on streaming platforms Shows and LPs will arrive in the nick of tim LPs will be available at Vinyl Records (321 W. Hastings) 54 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 19 / 2020


MUSIC

from page 53

This particular Mr. Cristi has few good cookies, so he’s amenable to taking side dough from a mobbed-up launderer (Ludwig II star Sabin Tambrea) who runs a mattress factory. When the abject policeman’s even more crooked boss (a sly Rodica Lazar) stings the mattress king anyway, Spanish mobsters pull Cristi into a plan to free him, knowing that he has stashed millions away. Anyone want to guess where? Somehow, our flatfoot-in-themiddle has ended up in the Canary Islands, specifically on one (the original title is La Gomera) where locals developed a weird whistling language over centuries, to communicate across steep mountains, and undetected by, say, European colonizers and cops. Also aboard is the mattress guy’s romantic partner, Gilda, played by former swimsuit model Catrinel Marlon, now based in Italy. She initially seems more glamorous than the story even needs, but the director clearly wants to hit all the femme fatale marks suggested by the name Gilda. (Check IMDb for relevance.) And his TCM obsession extends to including clips of John Ford’s The Searchers and other classics. Beyond all that, the breezily paced film offers a sweet orange-tinged palette and a cool collection of found songs, ranging from Italian opera to “Mack the Knife”, making this a delightful mixtape of a movie you’ll want to whistle along with more than once. by Ken Eisner

HOPE GAP

Starring Annette Bening. Rated PG

d SOME TERRIFIC ACTING brings needed flavour to an undercooked story in Hope Gap, named for a real place on the south coast of England, where three sad-sack characters need all the metaphorical help they can get. Annette Bening steals the show as ironically named Grace, a bulldozer of a woman whose intellectual skills have seemingly justified her total command over slump-shouldered husband Edward (Bill Nighy, nicely playing against quick-witted type). A history teacher near retirement, Edward has summoned Londonbased son Jamie (Emma.’s Josh O’Connor) to their oceanside cottage—bright but cluttered with books and curios—to help soften the blow that will be delivered when he announces that he will leave his wife of almost 30 years. Thanks, Dad! Grace thought everyone was happy because she was having fun, and doesn’t take such a sudden rupture well. “Just because there’s no blood,” she seethes, “doesn’t mean it isn’t murder.” Bening’s accent is good scene by scene, but takes a wide tour of the British Isles throughout the film, which is packed with enough references to English poetry and literature to suggest more profundity than is actually delivered in this second directorial effort from veteran writer William Nicholson, who scripted such grandiose period pieces as Gladiator, Unbroken, and Les Misérables. He adapted this from his play The Retreat From Moscow, named after the Wikipedia entry Edward is currently writing, and the movie remains stagebound, despite much furious walking along the white cliffs of Seaford. There’s considerable wit on display, but little in the way of character detail and background that would distinguish this marital breakdown from countless others. Jamie’s urban subplot, which consists entirely of him complaining to techie coworkers about his poor romantic skills, is so feeble it could easily have been cut out altogether. The son’s a stand-in for the director himself, so you’d think he’d want more presence out of O’Connor, even mopier here than he was as Prince Charles in this season of The Crown. If the movie is Nicholson’s revenge, or resolution, for his own parental crackup a half-century ago, the dish has long since grown cold.

Consequence is love at its rawest

E

by Mike Usinger

mbracing the light before things get heavy, let’s start the latest chapter of Sunday Morning with the story of bean day. At one point in his sometimes nomadic life journey, Bruce Wilson found himself living in Japan—a country that can be difficult to navigate for outsiders, especially those who don’t speak the language or understand the deeply ingrained customs. Travelling can, quite rewardingly, push us out of our comfort zones, and that’s one of the many topics that come up when the Vancouver indiescene vet meets the Straight at Kafka Coffee and Tea on Main. The reason Wilson is across the table is to discuss Consequence of Love (Side 2), the upcoming sophomore outing from Sunday Morning, a grandly dramatic musical project he’s spent his creative energies on for the past decade. But he’s equally happy to hold forth on subjects that include, but aren’t limited to, the indescribable joy of lighting up an American Marlboro, the mind-clearing benefits of carpentry, the healing power of art, and the crippling grip of addiction. And, of course, bean day. Wilson recalls Japan being insanely rewarding. And, occasionally, insane. “Culturally, it’s such a foreign country,” he marvels. “It’s an island, and islands have a real way of preserving their culture. That makes it a really, truly foreign place. It’s why I didn’t know what was going on half the time, and I really enjoyed that.” Wilson ended up in Japan with a friend and then promptly moved in with her and her folks. “One morning the family I was living with woke me up really early on a Sunday,” he recalls. “I was brutally hungover, and they said, ‘Okay, it’s bean day!’ I sat there thinking ‘I have no idea what bean day is.’ But they dragged me out to the country, where all these families go out to pick wheelbarrows full of soybeans. You then make edamame and get really, really drunk. When I think about it, I liked that I had no idea where I was going, and what was going on.” For a lot of years the Vancouverborn Wilson was happy being lost somewhere else, and not just in Japan. After years of toiling in various Lotusland bands—the most notorious being glam-specked ’90s protogrungers Tankhog—he decided he was ready for a change of scenery. For a decade, starting with the implosion of Tankhog in 1995, he was a man constantly

Bruce Wilson (second from right) set out to capture the highs and lows of past relationships on Consequence of Love.

The degree to which that was true on the move, searching for something is made clear right off the top with without knowing what it was. “The War Came to Us”, where, over TODAY, HAVING LIVED in Spain, dark cabaret piano and desert-oasis New Mexico, Thailand, Massachu- guitar, Wilson begins things with setts, Montreal, Morocco, New York, “The war came to us/In an Arizona and more, he’s in no hurry to leave motel/The sheets twisted like rope/ Lotusland anytime soon. When we ran outta dope.” “I just have too much going on From there, Consequence of Love here,” Wilson says thankfully. “I (Side 2) is indeed a record of winning have a really good, core group of contrasts. Over gorgeous grey-skies totally creative people around me cello and soft-focus violin in “Michwho are really inspiring. We feed off igan Winter”, Wilson plays blackeach other as we create stuff. And hearted crooner with “Neither of us creating is what I love to do.” are doing very good/But we’re doing While Vancouver scene vet Ste- better than we used to/I guess it’s safe phen Hamm and ace producer Felix to call that progress.” The distortionFung were integral parts of the cre- swamped gutter-blues stomper “I’m ative process, Consequence of Love in Love” captures all the beautiful (Side 2) is very much a deeply per- sordidness of a relationship built on sonal record, with Wilson looking mutual self-destruction with “You back at various relationships in life. took me home/And we did all the (The EP is being tagged as Side 2 be- drugs/And I’m in love.” cause a story-completing Side 1 will “I don’t ever feel like what I create be released in the future.) isn’t hopeful,” Wilson offers. “There As one might expect, there are was a real cathartic quality to the reglorious highs and emotionally dev- cord, which made me feel good.” astating lows on songs that—quite For a long time, happiness was admirably—will shift effortlessly something that proved elusive. After from garage-grimed doo-wop to first experimenting with heroin in sun-faded ’60s French pop. his teens, he eventually developed an “I think that my goal was to ex- addiction that lasted for years, followpress the duality of love as a really ing him from city to city. The roots of broad topic,” he explains. “I think Sunday Morning can be traced back the reality of love is that it’s not all to his finally getting sober in ’06, getrose petals and white bedsheets. It’s ting divorced, and then moving back far more complex than that. About a to Vancouver. Wilson may be the face year and a half ago, I began to reflect of the band, but he stresses it’s very on my past and how every relation- much a collaboration. The team that ship was all over the spectrum.” helped create Consequence of Love

(Side 2) included Fung and Hamm, as well as bassist Max Staple, drummer Jay Shreib, trumpeter JP Carter, and Trailerhawk’s Carmen Bruno. Asked when he realized that Vancouver was maybe home after his nomadic years, Wilson flashes back to the start of last decade. After returning to this city, he took up residence at the Waldorf Hotel on Hastings, which was at the time a thrillingly electric hub for those interested in art, music, photography, or, really, anything creative. “That’s where I started to write the first Sunday Morning album,” he says. “Living in that hotel room for a year, I remember really connecting with the artistic community in Vancouver.” The power of that connection is simple, he muses. Some people look back at their life and have nothing but regrets about the dark times. When Wilson reflects on where he’s been, he feels in many ways blessed. “Everything is part of a process,” he says philosophically. “Cleaning up is an ongoing process. I spent so many years completely shut off and shut down. But all experiences are valuable. Over the last 13-plus years, I’ve learned how to process things through creating things, and I’ve found that really works for me. It helps me enjoy being alive.” g Sunday Morning plays a Consequence of Love (Side 2) release party at the Rickshaw on Saturday (March 14).

The best rock stars are wasted by Mike Usinger

POP EYE

P

roving that miracles do sometimes happen, even when all seems forever lost, something incredible took place on the Internet a few days ago. The world took to Twitter to deliver word it was worried about Post Malone. And, in doing so, a message was sent that society has changed in ways that once seemed unfathomable. Yes, social media can actually be used for good, instead of as a handy platform to play keyboard gangster to the rich and famous. First the back story. Over the course of his brief and meteoric career, the man born Austin Richard Post has cultivated an image as a man who loves booze, weed, and assorted other drugs almost as much as he hates soap, deodorant, and anything resembling a showerhead. That’s all ripe and dandy to the point when someone discovers that going too far with the partying is always a shit ton of fun until it isn’t. And Post Malone looked like anything but a man having fun last Friby Ken Eisner day night at a show in Memphis.

Post Malone wants you to know that, really, he’s never felt better in his life.

On-stage at the FedExForum, Malone spent part of the concert behaving in a fashion one would charitably describe as erratic. Lowlights included multiple attempts to pick up a dropped mike, forgetting lyrics, slurring his words, and generally behaving like a 14-year-old going 16 rounds with Sailor Jerry for the first time. Fans instantly took to Twitter and Instagram to suggest they were worried about his well-being. And that’s where things got epically weird. At what point did the world become horrified by rock stars acting like rock stars? (And yes, even

though Malone is quite rightly filed under hip-hop, the man is living his permablazed life like a rock star.) Here’s why Malone should be left alone to play a human version of a turtle on its back if that’s what he wants. Imagine how much less interesting the world would have been if Keith Richards hadn’t been allowed to be Keith Richards: no heroin, no smoking 22,948 cartons of Marlboros, no drinking Jack Daniel’s like it was Peace Tea, no snorting coke cut with his father’s ashes, and no being famous as one of the most indestructible two-legged cockroaches to ever walk the earth. There would have been no The Dirt by Mötley Crüe if Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil hadn’t been given the freedom to overdose in the bathroom at weddings, drunkenly terrorize the frantic citizens of Japan on bullet trains, and drive drunker than a buck-naked Randy Travis on free-shooter Saturdays. In a world where idols aren’t allowed to live life at their most stoned and drunkest, we never would have seen Grade A entertainment like a loaded Kid Rock staggering around a Nashville stage yelling that Oprah can fuck herself six ways to Sunday.

Or the Butthole Surfers proving that acid can be a hellishly fantastic thing with Cream Corn From the Socket of Davis. Or the Replacements inventing and perfecting drunk rock with their absolutely untouchable early TwinTone classics. As for Malone, the post-Memphis tweetstorm was kind of undeniably sweet, not to mention hopeful for the future of the planet, considering the bile that’s usually spewed on Twitter. Recognizing that fans were concerned, he took to video to state, “I’m not on drugs, and I feel the best I’ve ever fucking felt in my life. And that’s why I can bust my ass for these shows and fucking fall on the floor and do all that fun shit.” Disappointing, if for no other reason than drugs and/or booze were behind the greatness of Appetite for Destruction, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, In Utero, and everything ever recorded by Hank Williams Jr.? Absolutely. But at least no one suggested Malone continue acting like a rock star until he’s secured a date with Jimi Hendrix, Mac Miller, and Juice WRLD. Sometimes the Internet can be a surprisingly incredible thing. g

MARCH 12 – 19 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 55


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56 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT MARCH 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 19 / 2020


MUSIC

SPECTRES gives chaos a pop sheen LOCAL DISCS SPECTRES

Nostalgia (Artoffact)

d WE’RE WILLING to bet that there aren’t many bands that name both new-wave pioneers New Order and the Finnish gothic rock band Beastmilk as two of their major influences. But both are cited on Vancouver-based postpunk quintet SPECTRES’ Bandcamp page for their latest project, Nostalgia. Appropriately for a group that attaches the seemingly contradictory genre labels “death rock” and “peace punk” to itself, SPECTRES blends together chaotic and distorted soundscapes with the catchiest of ’80s-inspired pop sensibilities. It’s as if the band intended every musical motif of its songs to function as an inescapable earworm of a hook—but to capture an anarchic punk spirit, they instead let all of those noises bleed together and fall into a swirling and indecipherable vortex of sound. The guitars squeal

and the drums rattle incessantly, but the upbeat and bouncy bass lines often sound like they’re fresh from the latest TikTok trend. And yet, it all works out just fine. One of the best twists of the record is when the band’s members reveal they are actually huge history nerds, the musical underscoring following suit and growing more viscerally jolting as frontman Brian Gustavson runs through a couple of humanity’s darkest moments. Switching to a minor key and finally letting out some chilling screams on the World War II–evoking “Pictures From Occupied Europe”, or describing the terrorist activity of the Cold War on “Years of Lead”, SPECTRES sound far from nostalgic. It’s those kinds of contradictions that make them so engaging. by Ben Boddez

WAR BABY

You Are Not Here (Kingfisher Bluez)

d ON ITS THIRD full-length, You Are Not Here, posthardcore trio War Baby sounds almost at its breaking

point when it comes to the cyclical mundanities of life. If you’re a Vancouver resident, congratulations— you’ll have insider knowledge on what the band is talking about, including a song titled “Renovicted”. Backed by an endless wall of grungy guitars on short and punchy songs that get straight to the point, frontman Jon Redditt’s voice fights through all the noise to vent the frustration of being stuck in a sort of purgatory. The band often finds a percussive phrase or musical motif, repeating it until the listener is pummelled into submission. Some of these tracks are the mantras you keep turning over in your head to convince yourself that maybe there’s the tiniest glimmer of hope in the distance. And some of them are the doubting inner voices that put you in this headspace in the first place. War Baby went into the recording sessions with what they called “a loose set of ideas for songs that were far from complete”, and the album is likely all the better for it. The band plays around with tempo switches,

MUSIC LISTINGS

CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED MARION COWINGS Jazz singer and educator from New York. Mar 19, 8-9:30 pm, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $36. LITTLE MISS HIGGINS Early country-blues, jazz, and folk. Mar 21, 8:30 pm, LanaLou’s Restaurant. $18.50. ALTAN The Rogue Folk Club presents traditional Irish band featuring Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. Mar 22, 8 pm, Mel Lehan Hall at St. James. $45/41. NEIL OSBORNE Frontman of 54-40 plays a solo gig. Apr 17, Blue Frog Studios. $47. TOM LAVIN & THE LEGENDARY POWDER BLUES Vancouver blues-rock veterans perform for the Co-Op Radio 45th anniversary. Apr 26, 7 pm, Rio Theatre. $45/40. BAKAR Indie singer-songwriter from London, England. May 1, 8 pm, Fortune Sound Club. Tix on sale Mar 13, 10 am, $20. TREVOR DANIEL Singer-songwriter from Houston. May 31, 8 pm, Fortune Sound Club. Tix on sale Mar 13, 10 am, $22.50. WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS Scottish rock band plays tunes from latest album The More I Sleep The Less I Dream. Jun 3, 9 pm, Fox Cabaret. Tix on sale Mar 13, 10 am, $20. THAO AND THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN San Francisco-based alternative folk-rock group. Jun 18, 8 pm, Imperial Vancouver. Tix on sale Mar 13, 10 am, $25. CAMILA CABELLO Cuban-American pop/R&B singer-songwriter, with guests PrettyMuch. Jul 29, 7 pm, Rogers Arena. From $40.05. BOBBY BAZINI French Canadian folk-soul singer-songwriter. Oct 20, 8 pm, Imperial Vancouver. Tix on sale Mar 13, 10 am, $29.50. OLAFUR ARNALDS Icelandic ambient/ experimental composer. Nov 6, 8 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Tix on sale Mar 13, 7 am, $47.50/40.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 CELTICFEST 2020 Festival showcases Celtic music, dance, and spoken word. To Mar 28, various Vancouver venues. RALPH Synth-pop singer-songwriter from Toronto. Mar 11, Biltmore Cabaret. $20. AMANDA SHIRES Americana/alt-country singer-songwriter and fiddle player from Texas, with guest L.A. Edwards. Mar 11, 8 pm, Rio Theatre. $27.50.

A BOWIE CELEBRATION Long-time David Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson leads performances of the Bowie albums Diamond Dogs and Ziggy Stardust. Mar 13, 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $55.50.

SATURDAY, MARCH 14 ST. PATRICK’S DAY DINNER & DANCE Ardent Tribe performs top 40, worldbeat, soul, and Irish dance music. Mar 14, 6 pm, False Creek Yacht Club. $10. UGC LIVE AT THE LIBRARY The Universal Gospel Choir sings pop, gospel, spirituals, and civil-rights anthems. Mar 14, 1 pm, Vancouver Public Library. Free. TILLER’S FOLLY Celtic roots band, with guest dancer/percussionist/singer Joel Hanna. Mar 14, 7 pm, Blue Frog Studios. $49.50. PETUNIA & THE VIPERS Local folk-blues/ Americana group. Mar 14, 7:30-11:30 pm, Ocean Park Hall. $20. PALEHOUND Alt-rock trio from Boston. Mar 14, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $17. SHANE’S TEETH Local musicians pay tribute to the Pogues. Mar 14, 8-11:30 pm, WISE Hall. $20/25.

SUNDAY, MARCH 15 KIERAH Fiddle player performs with keyboardist Adrian Dolan, guitarist Adam Dobres, and percussionist Robin Layne. Mar 15, 7 pm, Blue Frog Studios. $44.

MONDAY, MARCH 16 TAMINO Indie-rock singer-songwriter from Belgium, with guest Matt Holubowski. Mar 16, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $15.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17 CARNIFEX & 3TEETH Deathcore and industrial-metal bands from California. Mar 17, Imperial Vancouver. $29.50. AVI KAPLAN American folk-pop singersongwriter, former member of Pentatonix. Mar 17, 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $18. DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS Southern rockers from the States play tunes from new album The Unraveling. Mar 17, 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $35.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR Featuring performances by black-metal bands Mayhem and Abbath. Mar 18, Imperial Vancouver. $35.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19 PUSSY RIOT Feminist protest/punk band from Russia. Mar 19, 8 pm, Fortune Sound Club. $26.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20 DESTROYER Vancouver indie-rock band led by Dan Bejar. Mar 20, Vogue Theatre. $29.50. VÉRITÉ Indie-pop singer-songwriter from Brooklyn. Mar 20, Biltmore Cabaret. $15.

disrupting the flow to pull technically impressive guitar licks out of nowhere. “Forever Heavy” uses a sudden slower, contemplative section to bridge the gap between noisy grunge and shimmering power pop. Thankfully, it all ends on a hopeful note, with the calmer acoustic track “Come to Pass” having Redditt remind himself that all things eventually do.

by Ben Boddez

ORCHID ENSEMBLE

From a Dream (Independent)

d YOU’LL WANT TO hear this because it’s beautiful—and also because it’s music that deftly encapsulates the Vancouver experience. Admittedly, “the Vancouver experience” will need some clarification. This is not the Vancouver experience of seeing the world from some penthouse condo. Nor is it scabrous rock ’n’ roll from some DTES gutter. If our city’s physical environment has influenced the music, that’s most likely audible on Jin Zhang’s “No Rush”, which has the uncanny sound

of the seawall in fog, a kind of contemplative grey shot through with the magical and the unexpected. But what’s really being celebrated here is possibility: the avenues that open in an immigrant city. Founded in 1997 by Taiwan-born erhu virtuoso and singer Lan Tung and her Canadian partner, percussionist Jonathan Bernard, the Ensemble now includes another Taiwanese musician, Yu-Chen Wang, on zheng. This instrumentation naturally inclines the band towards Chinese music, which it plays beautifully. But the trio also honours its intercultural aspects in Dorothy Chang’s spiky, cerebral, and appropriately otherworldly title track, and in the dramatic “Ghosts of the Living”, with Wang’s zheng effectively standing in for the Persian santur. Exquisitely produced by Jay O’Keefe, From a Dream is an intellectually stimulating yet luxurious listening experience—and a dream vision of what Vancouver could be if art were as privileged as commerce.

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SATURDAY, MARCH 21 WILCO Alt-rock band from Chicago. Mar 21, 7:30 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $55-69.50. JESSE COOK Canadian nuevo-flamenco guitarist. Mar 21, 8 pm, Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. DAN DEACON American composer and electronic musician. Mar 21, 8 pm, Venue. $18.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22 BLACKBERRY SMOKE Southern rockers from Atlanta. Mar 22, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $30. G. LOVE AND SPECIAL SAUCE American hip-hop/blues band. Mar 22, Venue. $38.

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THURSDAY, MARCH 26 DELVON LAMARR ORGAN TRIO With a deep soul backbone augmented by jazz, R&B and rock ’n’ roll, the Seattle band evokes a classic instrumental sound with a fresh, virtuosic sensibility all its own. “It’s hard not to start moving once Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio hits the stage,” says WKPX. “Their blend of soul and jazz is absolutely infectious.” Mar 26, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $25 advance/$30 at door, cash only. MUSIC LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper will appear on the website.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12 GRACE POTTER Rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Vermont. Mar 12, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $34.50.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13 THE WOOD BROTHERS American folk band featuring brothers Chris and Oliver Wood. Mar 13, Imperial Vancouver. $30. LIL MOSEY Seventeen-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter from the States. Mar 13, Vogue Theatre. $35. SOLIDARITY CONCERT FOR UNIST’OT’EN Ostwelve hosts a benefit concert for the Unist’ot’en Legal Fund, featuring Tonye Aganaba and Old Soul Rebel. Mar 13, 7:30 pm, Massey Theatre. $5-40. SLEEPCIRCLE Five-piece hard-rock band performs tunes from new EP. Mar 13, 8 pm, the Ellis Building. $15/20. JORDAN KLASSEN Vancouver art-pop singersongwriter. Mar 13, 8 pm, Bez Arts Hub. $27. THE JERRY CANS Mix of traditional Inuit throat-singing and roots-rock sung in the Indigenous language of Inuktitut. Mar 13, 8-9:30 pm, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $25. THE PEELERS Celtic punks from Montreal, with local guests Paddy Waggin’ and the Corps. Mar 13, 8:30 pm, Pat’s Pub & Brewhouse. $13.50.

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Specialist can help with poop problem by Dan Savage

b I’M A CIS bi woman, and I mainly have sex with people with penises. I have a really gross problem, sorry. It’s been an issue for as long as I’ve been sexually active—but in the past few years, it seems to have gotten worse. If I am being penetrated vaginally, especially if it’s vigorous (which I prefer), and I orgasm, sometimes I poop accidentally. If I try to clench up to keep this from happening, it doesn’t work and I can’t orgasm. This used to happen once in a blue moon, only with particularly intense orgasms, but now it happens more frequently. One person I’ve been seeing really likes anal, and that makes the problem even worse. To be clear: I have no desire for poop in my sex life. It’s gross; it’s embarrassing; and my partners do not enjoy it. Nor do I. I’ve tried going to the bathroom before sex, but I can never seem to fully empty out. I even went to a doctor to talk about it, but all I got was a big shrug and no useful suggestions. I’ve looked online and found discussions of this happening to other people and them being understandably horrified, but nobody mentions it being a regular occurrence. This really sucks! Do you have any suggestions? Other than “give up sex completely,” which I would prefer not to do. - Necessary Objective: Soothe Her Intestinal Tract

“I’ve absolutely heard of this before, and as NOSHIT already knows from Internet searches, she’s not alone and needs help,” said Debby Herbenick. “And a ‘big shrug’ doesn’t sound like a helpful response from a physician who you’re asking for help in figuring out a complicated and extremely

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underresearched and therefore tricky sexual issue.” Herbenick is a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction and numerous other books. And what you’re going to need, according to Herbenick, is a doctor who’s actually prepared to help you. So that awkward conversation you had with your last doctor? A conversation you no doubt dreaded having? You’re going to have to have that conversation again, NOSHIT, maybe more than once, with other doctors. I know, I know: talking with your doctor about a sexual issue—particularly a messy one—is difficult. And when we finally work up the nerve to speak with a doctor about something like this and that doctor isn’t helpful, our understandable desire to avoid having that conversation ever again can lead us to conclude that talking to doctors is a waste of time. But it isn’t, so long as you’re talking to the right doctor. “The letter writer should ask her health-care provider for a referral to an urogynecologist,” said Herbenick, “especially one who likes to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of challenging cases.” If this happens to you at other times—if you poop yourself when you fart or sneeze—be sure to share that information with the specialist. “There are lots of tests that healthcare providers can use to examine her rectal function,” said Herbenick. “These tests can include a digital rectal exam, a sigmoidoscopy (insertion of a tiny tube with a camera to look for issues such as inflammation), an X-ray,

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b I’M A 32-YEAR-OLD woman married to a 45-year-old man. We’ve been together for 10 years. At the beginning of our relationship, I told him smoking was a deal breaker for me because he was a former smoker. Well, the asshole started smoking again this year. I’m pissed about this, and it has affected my desire for him. This is complicated further by the fact that for most of our relationship we’ve had very mismatched libidos, with mine being much higher. He has always said that I could get my needs met elsewhere, as sex just wasn’t that important to him. Well, last year I started exploring extramarital relationships, and now I have a boyfriend that I’m eager to fuck. Can you guess who is now interested in fucking me? My husband, Mr. Sex Isn’t Important. Turns out he’s very into fucking me after I’ve fucked another dude. But I only want so much sex, and I don’t want to fuck a smoker. I feel obligated to have sex with my husband, though. My question is, am I? He didn’t feel obligated to have sex with me more than once a month for nine years, which made me feel shitty and undesirable. (Also, we have kids. Hence the marriage and why I’m not going to leave.)

You aren’t obligated to have sex with your husband—you aren’t obligated to have sex with anyone, ever. But I assume you don’t want to be left any more than you want to leave, SHAM. And if you refuse to fuck your husband because he broke the deal you made a decade ago—and because you’re pissed about nine years of sexual neglect (legit grounds)—he might decide to leave you. So while you don’t have to fuck this ash-hole, you might want to fuck this ash-hole. But until he quits smoking, you could reasonably refuse to kiss him or sleep in the same room with him. (Smokers don’t realize how bad it smells—how bad they smell—and just how thoroughly they can stink up a room, even one they never light up in.) One follow-up question: did your husband always know this about himself—did he know he was turned on by the thought of you being with other dudes—or did he realize it only after you started fucking this other dude? If he knew it all along, and his encouragement to get your “needs met elsewhere” was a dishonest and manipulative attempt to force his kink on you, SHAM, you have even more right to be pissed. But if he realized this turned him on only after you started fucking other dudes—if he was as surprised by how you getting a boyfriend uncorked his libido as you were both surprised and annoyed by it—you might want to forgive him. g

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figure out some good ways forward. It’s about listening to what quality of life means to her. That seems to include an active, pleasurable sex life involving vaginal and/or anal sex with orgasm, and without pooping, or at least not nearly so often.” Follow Herbenick on Twitter @ DebbyHerbenick.

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an anal ultrasound, a colonoscopy, or other tests. In other words, there are things other than a big and completely useless shrug that can be done. And depending on what they find, they may suggest biofeedback, surgery, physical therapy/pelvic-floor exercises, supplements, and so on.” But with all that said, NOSHIT, doctors aren’t all-powerful, and some problems can only be managed and not solved. “The fact is, our bodies don’t last forever in the ways we want them to,” said Herbenick. “And some research does point toward more frequent anal intercourse being associated with fecal incontinence.” (Aging, childbirth, and hormone-replacement therapy are very strongly associated with fecal incontinence.) Only a small percentage of women who regularly engaged in anal intercourse reported higher levels of fecal incontinence, NOSHIT, so if this isn’t a problem for you generally— if this is only a problem during sex due to some tragically star-crossed neural wiring—you might want to steal a move from the squeaky clean gay bottoms out there. Instead of just “going to the bathroom” before sex and hoping you’re empty, treat yourself to an anal douche to make sure you’re empty. (Alexander Cheves wrote a great guide for receptive anal intercourse, “17 Tips for Happier, Healthier Bottoming”, for the Advocate. Google it.) “But finding a health-care provider who’s willing to listen to what’s important to her in her sex life is the first step,” said Herbenick. “A sex-positive health-care provider—probably a urogynecologist or a proctologist—who’s willing to hear her out can help her

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The Georgia Straight - 23rd Annual Golden Plates - March 12, 2020  

Issue #2720

The Georgia Straight - 23rd Annual Golden Plates - March 12, 2020  

Issue #2720