APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021 | FREE Volume 55 | Number 2772
HAIR AND IDENTITY
CREDIT UNIONS VS BANKS What sets them apart
Stay home and stream
At the Capture Photography Festival, artist Émilie Régnier reveals two universes that exist within her body
CITY BOSSES’ WAGES
City management pay cuts weren’t exactly as promoted
Through different hairstyles, artist Émilie Régnier reveals at the Capture Photography Festival how the oppressor and oppressed exist within her body.
by Charlie Smith
n March 30, the first report on the Vancouver city council agenda was the annual statement of financial information. It includes the compensation paid to all City of Vancouver employees who receive $75,000 or more per year. In a news release the previous week, Mayor Kennedy Stewart described the city’s efforts to cut expenses in response to the pandemic. According to the mayor, that included “laying off 1,800 staff and directing management and council to take 10 percent pay cuts” last year. But did those 10 percent pay cuts really occur? Not according to the annual statement of financial information. It shows that compensation to recently departed city manager Sadhu Johnston declined by just 2.25 percent in 2020. His pay fell to $354,698 last year from $362,852 the previous year. Gil Kelley, the recently departed general manager of planning, urban design, and sustainability, saw his income shrink by 3.82 percent in 2020. It dipped to $280,733 from $291,879 the previous year. Director of finance, risk, and business planning Patrice Impey had a larger pay cut—4.47 percent. She collected $288,130 in 2020, down from $301,609 in 2019. The general manager of arts, culture, and community services, Sandra Singh, received a 1.43 percent reduction in compensation—$262,140 in 2020, down from $265,955 the previous year. The director of legal services, Francie Connell, was paid 1.48 percent less in 2020 from 2019. Her compensation fell from $298,689 to $294,273. Last October, Global News reported that city managers received “merit-based pay hikes”, with the average being 4.8 percent. These were reportedly for those whose salaries were below the maximum pay range and who met or exceeded performance expectations. That was according to then–deputy city manager Paul Mochrie, who is now the acting city manager. Mochrie, by the way, took a 3.78-percent haircut in 2020, with his compensation falling from $288,475 in 2019 to $277,583. Writing in Business in Vancouver last April, city-hall watcher Mike Howell noted that the pay cut for city management and nonunionized employees was “mandatory and comes in the form of an unpaid day off every 10 days”. The mayor made no mention in his news release of pay raises for three of the four top Vancouver police brass in 2020. Chief Adam Palmer was paid $374,673
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
April 1 – 8 / 2021
By Charlie Smith Cover photo by Émilie Régnier
Credit unions and banks have been competing for decades, only now they’re doing it as some customers are feeling anxiety about the climate. By Charlie Smith
As we’re all sticking close to home, Vancouver film festivals and series come to the rescue with streaming offerings for April. By Craig Takeuchi
e Start Here 5 FINANCE 9 FOOD 8 LIQUOR 12 MUSIC 2 NEWS 4 REAL ESTATE 14 SAVAGE LOVE Chief Adam Palmer of the VPD was the highestpaid person on local taxpayers’ payroll in 2020.
($363,216 in 2019)—an increase of 3.15 percent. Deputy chief Steve Rai received a 0.77 percent hike in compensation, lift ing his pay to $278,667. And deputy chief Howard Chow’s 2020 pay of $267,234 was up 1.8 percent over what he received in 2019. Among the deputy chiefs, only Laurence Rankin saw a reduction, with his compensation falling 3.87 percent, to $254,433, in 2020. The Vancouver police board pays police salaries with the help of a grant from Vancouver city council. Palmer’s raise and Johnston’s modest pay cut means that the police chief became the highest-paid person on the payroll of Vancouver’s local taxpayers in 2020. He oversees a force of more than 1,300 officers. When council tried to freeze the police budget this year, the police board asked for a review from the provincial director of police services. In effect, the police board wants an unelected provincial bureaucrat to override a decision by the elected Vancouver city council. And this comes after the Vancouver police budget increased from about $200 million in 2010 to $340 million in 2020. The police board described the 2021 budget freeze as a “cut” because it had to absorb salary increases, which meant that it would have to reduce personnel to balance its budget. g
APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Downtown condo sales suggest U-turn from 2020
by Carlito Pablo
uyers appear to be coming back to Downtown Vancouver. Although many are still willing to drive out to the suburbs in search of homes, purchasers seem to be enamoured again by the charms of downtown living. In February, 105 mostly condo properties sold in the area designated as Downtown Vancouver West, which is the urban core. The area does not include Coal Harbour, Yaletown, and the West End. The 105 sales that month represent the biggest volume for the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic crashed the market for condos in Downtown Vancouver to its lowest point in April 2020, when sales fell to 29 units. Based on figures by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and real-estate information site Zealty.ca, downtown sales slowly crept up, reaching a high of 82 units by December 2020. Per Zealty’s tracking, sales in January dropped to 69, and climbed to 105 in February, a 69.4 percent improvement over the same month a year earlier. Moreover, 29 out of the 105 sales in February 2021, or 27.6 percent, sold either at full
After the pandemic-induced flight to suburbia in the latter half of last year, buyers appear to be eager to return to Vancouver’s downtown condo market. Photo by Matt Wang/Unsplash.
asking price or above. Prices remain competitive in Downtown Vancouver West. The median price for mostly condo properties stood at $699,000 in February 2021, down 0.1 percent from the previous month. At its low point in April, the median price was $680,000. During that month, $23.4 million worth of downtown condos were sold. In February, sales totaled $87.6 million.
The Straight previously reported an anticipated revival of Downtown Vancouver with the arrival of vaccines and the resumption of travel and tourism. Top executives of McNeill Lalonde & Associates, a real-estate-marketing organization, talked about the subject during a March 11 interview on Vancouver Real Estate Podcast. MLA cofounder Cameron
McNeill noted that the downtown market may see price increases of between 10 to 20 percent in the next 18 months. Also in March, the Straight reported on a projection by Dexter Realty. It noted in a report that buyers are “pivoting to condos”. Purchasers are “looking towards the easing of pandemic regulations”. This, in turn, “will bring vibrancy back to downtowns and foreign students back to Metro Vancouver campuses”. The appetite for condos outside Vancouver seems to be growing as well. David Hutchinson, with Sutton Group West Coast Realty, told the Straight about a Port Coquitlam condo that was listed on March 16. A one-bedroom unit at the River Rock Landing development was priced at $399,900. Hutchinson’s client and 17 other buyers placed bids. It sold for $492,000, or $92,100 over asking price. “We were in the top three and made it to the top two in backup-offer position, but the other offer removed their conditions,” Hutchinson said. “Naturally, the buyer is discouraged, as the other 16 buyers who lost out probably are too.… Being a buyer isn’t easy in this market.” g
Escape hectic city by buying a business in Sechelt (This story is sponsored by the Sechelt Downtown Business Association.)
f you’re ready to say “goodbye” to traffic congestion, high rent, and waiting for hours to get into a restaurant, it’s time to consider relocating. Instead of spending your evenings riding the bus home from work, you could be eating dinner at the beach with a breathtaking sunset backdrop. Sechelt and Gibsons, charming towns located on the lower Sunshine Coast, are encouraging city slickers to come experience a more laid-back lifestyle. The seaside villages can be easily accessed by a 40-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Langdale and an even shorter 25-minute scenic drive. You’ll still be close to the city but far enough away that you can embrace a quieter way of life. Moving to the Sunshine Coast will also allow you to explore a new natural setting while slowing down to the locals’ easygoing pace. Plus, iyou can even snag a beachside home for the same price of an apartment in the busy city—talk about a major upgrade. For those seeking new career opportunities, the Sunshine Coast is the ideal place to start a brick-and-mortar business. Rental spaces come at a lower cost and the surrounding community and shop owners offer continuous support. If you desire
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Blue Magnolia Clothing owner Lonnie Pasareno says her town has everything for active people.
a change of scenery and have an entrepreneurial spirit, there are currently four turnkey businesses for sale in Sechelt and Gibsons. These include a flower shop, hair salon, framing store, and bedding shop. “I opened Blue Magnolia Clothing when I moved to Sechelt because I figured it would be a fun way to make money while getting integrated into the community,” says Lonnie Pasareno, owner of Blue Magnolia Clothing. Blue Magnolia Clothing (5644 Cowrie Street) is a curated boutique focused on helping women discover their own personal style. Pasareno’s popular establishment can be found in Sechelt’s flourishing downtown area alongside other retail stores,
APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021
restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops. “I was only supposed to run the shop until a more serious job came along, but here I am, 18 years later. It’s the other Sechelt businesses and Blue Magnolia’s dedicated customers that keep me going.” Sechelt has a thriving main street lined with unique shops, and that’s because of the locals—it’s not the tourism that keeps it afloat. “All of the companies share information and celebrate each other’s successes,” she says. “I use this saying at Blue Magnolia: ‘We’re small but beautiful; come find us,’ and I think it applies to the town as well.” When she’s not putting together comfortable ensembles for customers, Pasareno is unwinding with a friend at a nearby café or kayaking around Sechelt Inlet. The outdoorsy town has everything for an active individual: a world-class bike park, kayaking spots, hiking trails, beaches, and indoor climbing gyms keep residents busy. It also has an impressive collection of picturesque beaches and green areas, like Burnett Falls Park, Davis Bay Beach, Sechelt Heritage Hidden Groves, Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, and many more. People who enjoy an evening out greatly appreciate Sechelt’s vibrant nightlife offerings. Trendy eateries like El Segundo Restaurant, the Wobbly Canoe, Tapworks Brewing Company, 101 Brewhouse + Distillery, and
the Bricker Cider Company keep residents well-fed and refreshed. Three more restaurants will soon be joining the list. Since the pandemic began last March, the waterfront town has seen an increase in permanent residents. According to Pasareno, many property owners in Sechelt used to commute or stay in Metro Vancouver during the week for work. Because of the recent rise in remote employment, they’re now able to fully embrace life on the Sunshine Coast. But if working on a laptop at home doesn’t bring you joy, purchasing a turnkey business in the village is a rewarding alternative. “The piece of advice I would give to future business owners is to set aside time each day to be present and have a genuine conversation with a customer. I think that’s what gives small businesses an edge compared to bigger companies. We’re able to authentically connect with the people who are choosing to support your business. This will make your business grow and you’ll be enriched by those connections that you’ve made,” Pasareno says. “There’s truly nothing better than being able to make a living in the most beautiful and laidback spot in the world.” g For information on business opportunities, visit www. secheltdowntown.com/business-opportunities. Follow the Sechelt Downtown Business Association on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
Millennials gain financial freedom by not panicking
by Charlie Smith
hat a difference a year can make. In March of last year, as the pandemic shut down economies around the world, stock markets took a major tumble. For downtown Vancouver renters and financial bloggers Stephanie Williams and Cel Rince, it wasn’t the best of times. Williams, a 34-year-old receptionist, and Rince, a 32-year-old freelance book editor, don’t earn large salaries. But by embracing minimalism, not owning a car, and avoiding restaurants and alcohol, they had still managed to invest in index funds every couple of weeks for almost a decade. However, the S & P 500—a broad-based index of 500 large companies—plunged 34 percent from February 19 to March 23 of last year. In early April of 2020, they had some steely advice for other millennials: don’t dump investments in a market downturn. “The worst thing you can do is sell when it’s falling,” Rince declared. “That’s the absolute worst thing you can do. You need to stay the course and wait for the market to recover.” A year later, the couple can look back with satisfaction on the wisdom of those
The worst thing you can do is sell when [the market] is falling. – millennial investor Cel Rince
Stephanie Williams and Cel Rince didn’t cash out when the market plummeted last spring.
words. When contacted by the Straight, they said that their net worth has risen $130,000 since that article was published in the Straight last April. Their overall net worth is now around $575,000, without any big cash injections from their families. “We set our plan about, you know, eight to 10 years ago when we started investing,” Williams told the Straight. “We’ve stuck with it ever since. We’ve never changed anything.” The couple shared their story in their ebook, Incoming Assets: A Guide to Affordable Living in Vancouver. They feel
that if they build up a $700,000 nest egg, they’ll be in a position to only do work that interests them. Williams is employed by a company that deals with bankruptcy and insolvency, so she’s aware of how difficult the past year has been for those in precarious financial positions. She also recognizes that those making high incomes have prospered due to lower living expenses during the pandemic. “I think there’s been a huge division,” she said. At the same time, the couple noted that their ability to withstand the downturn has been inextricably linked to their “low-
consumption lifestyle”. According to Williams, if a person avoids buying things for ethical reasons, they can end up with a lot more money. In particular, she pointed to the problems created overseas by the fast-fashion industry. She also cited the link between overconsumption and the accumulation of plastics in landfills. “If you live a low-consumption lifestyle yet you make a normal income, it’s just a question of what you do with the surplus,” she said. Because of the pandemic, the couple is spending even less than usual. “We used to like to go to the movies pretty regularly,” Rince said. “That obviously hasn’t happened in a while. And, of course, we used to travel internationally at least twice a year and took little trips as well. We haven’t gone to Europe or Asia as we usually do.” In lieu of travelling, they participated in some outdoor pursuits last summer when such activities weren’t being discouraged by public-health authorities. “I went bungee jumping for the first time near Whistler and we did whitewater rafting near Squamish,” Williams said. “We had some really good times. I’m hoping this year to try skydiving for the first time.” g
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Banks and credit unions: what sets them apart?
by Charlie Smith
ack in the mid-1990s, there was a very public battle between the Canadian Bankers Association and one of B.C.’s biggest credit unions. It erupted after Richmond Savings (which later become part of Coast Capital) launched an advertising campaign lampooning a fictitious “Humungous Bank”. It was led by greedy, uncaring executives eager to fatten profits at the expense of customers. The CBA was particularly vexed over the credit union’s tag line, “We’re not a bank. We’re better.” That’s because the Bank Act prohibited nonbanks, such as credit unions, from holding themselves out as banks at that time. In an affidavit filed with the federal trademarks branch, a CBA lawyer acknowledged that the average bank was 54 times larger than Richmond Savings. Therefore, he claimed, the credit union was misleading the public by claiming it was superior when it was “relatively less sound and secure”. Nowadays, bankers and credit union executives no longer engage in public spats like this. But they are still often competing for the same retail customers and residential-mortgage business. As a result, they’re not shy about touting their attributes. Only this time they are also dealing with growing customer anxiety over the climate and cybersecurity. In early January, the province’s largest credit union, Vancity, made a declaration on climate that caught the attention of its much bigger rivals based in Toronto. The Vancouver-based credit union declared that it planned to make its entire lending portfolio a net-zero carbon emitter by 2040. Vancity’s chief external-relations officer, Jonathan Fowlie, told the Straight by phone that he recalls sitting with staff in front of a whiteboard discussing changes coming as a result of the climate emergency. They considered providing bridge loans to help someone who is displaced from one industry to transition into another. It felt academic at the time, Fowlie said, but only a few weeks later the credit union was thrust into a real economic emergency with the pandemic. “It really crystallized for us the connection between climate action and the need for financial institutions not just to think about reducing emissions but also how we look at equality and people through the transition,” he stated. That led to five commitments, including financing an equitable climate transition. “Vancity has been acting on the environment and climate change for decades, and we do not lend to the fossil-fuel sector,” Fowlie said. “And so for us, that means that the pathway to net zero, as I 6
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
For decades, banks and credit unions battled for market share in B.C., but nowadays stakes are higher for people worried about climate risk and cybersecurity. Photo by Designer 491 / Getty.
said, is around working with our members to create large-scale change through an aggregation of supporting and enabling individual actions.” Coincidentally, less than six weeks later, CIBC announced that it had joined four large U.S. banks as a strategic partner in the nonprofit RMI’s Center for ClimateAligned Finance. It’s helping the financial sector ensure that the global economy makes a transition to net-zero greenhousegas emissions by the middle of the century. A week after the CIBC declaration, Canada’s largest bank, RBC, announced that it would achieve net-zero emissions on its lending by 2050. In addition, it promised to mobilize $500 million toward “sustainable finance” by 2025. Meanwhile, another of Canada’s large banks, TD, has also expressed a desire to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The CBA website outlines many actions that banks are doing in this area. That includes working on implementing climaterelated disclosures advanced by the Michael Bloomberg–chaired Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. According to CBA director of media strategy Mathieu Labrèche, all the banks are doing this. “I think TCFD, essentially at this point, has become the gold standard, globally,” he told the Straight by phone. But the banks still have a public-relations problem in this area. That’s because on March 24, Canadian banks didn’t fare very well in a report released by several
APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021
I think TCFD…has become the gold standard, globally. – CBA spokesperson Mathieu Labrèche
environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, and Indigenous Environmental Network. Banking on Climate Chaos 2021 listed Canada’s five biggest banks among the top financiers of fossil-fuel companies in the world. RBC ranked fifth; TD was ninth; Scotiabank was 11th; Bank of Montreal was 16th; and CIBC came 22nd. Where the banks are on firmer ground might be with their investments in technology. The CBA’s vice president overseeing banking transformation and strategy, Marina Mandal, told the Straight by phone that the six largest Canadian banks invested approximately $100 billion in technology from 2009 to 2019. A lot of that, she said, was aimed at ensuring Canadians feel comfortable banking online and through mobile devices, knowing that their data is protected. She added that banks are “absolute leaders in data
protection, cybersecurity, and privacy”. “But also, it’s an ongoing effort as we see new threat actors across the board,” Mandal noted. So where else might federally regulated banks be “better” than provincially regulated credit unions? She pointed to advantages created by a “comprehensive credential and consumer protection framework” created by federal regulators such as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, backstopped with policies developed by the Ministry of Finance. “You’re basically getting the benefit of something across the country that is aligned,” Mandal said. There are higher deposit-insurance guarantees for provincial credit unions in B.C. than federally regulated banks. But according to Mandal, “there have ben concerns expressed by provincial governments and other stakeholders about the sustainability of that.” “So depending on your perspective, it’s either a good thing or a bad thing,” she said. Boards of directors of Canadian banks are elected by shareholders, whereas credit union boards are elected by their members. A recent paper published in Research in International Business and Finance compared 636 banks and 636 credit unions matched by the largest loan category, size, and county locations in the United States from 2010 to 2017. “Our multivariate analysis results suggest that, in general, credit unions engage in less risk-taking than banks, irrespective of the risk measure being considered,” researchers Christine Naaman, Michel Magnan, Ahmad Hammami, and Li Yao concluded. “However, regulatory oversight (i.e. federal or state charter) reduces the risk-taking gap between banks and credit unions. We further find that increased competition has different effects on risk-taking behaviors in credit unions and banks.” Back at Vancity, Jonathan Fowlie said that because banks and credit unions control trillions of dollars, they can collectively have an enormous impact on the direction of the economy. He said that because his financial institution is owned and directed by its members, this has a “significant impact on the way we think about these things”. “When we get to net-zero matters a lot, obviously,” Fowlie declared. “But even more important is how we all get there and whether we leave people behind. When you look at Vancity’s commitments, we’re taking a people-centred approach.” He left it unsaid whether the same is true for Canada’s humungous banks. g
Demand more values for your money. vancity.com/GetMore APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Garnishes essential for an Instagram-ready drink
by Mike Usinger
lame Instagram for ruining everything. As difficult as this might be to believe today, there was a time when your cocktails didn’t have to look more styling than Charlize Theron and Bradley Cooper on Oscar night. Blame the ’70s for the dark years, throwing the ’80s and ’90s in there for good measure. For a good three decades drinks largely became something that looked like they came off assembly lines. You didn’t go to the disco, punk dive, goth bar, or, um, Thank-God-It’s-Friday chain restaurant for an impeccably crafted Kumquat Sidecar with smoked-infused simple syrup and duck-fat-washed cognac. In the clubs, a rum-and-coke or ginand-tonic—plastic straws optional—did the job brilliantly when you needed something to cool you down before heading back to the dance floor, mosh pit, or bowels of the Bat Cave. As for dining out, it was an endless era of salad bars, surf-and-well-doneturf, and pre-mix Margaritas and Piña Coladas. On the garnish front you got a pineapple wedge, orange slice, or cherry on a plastic sword.
That’s all changed today, thanks to the rebirth of mixology in the ’00s. In a return to the way things were once done, bartending became an art again, with the creative process starting long before the cocktail ingredients ended up in the shaker. Seemingly overnight there were tinctures to be created, bitters to be experimented with, and infusions to oversee. And the results became magic, to the point where the only thing holding bartenders back today is their imaginations. New-school bartenders have gone on to become rock stars—some locally revered and a lucky few internationally famous. And that’s deserved. Because no matter how accomplished you may fancy your own home-bar program, chances are slim you’ve come up with the idea of mixing Plantation Trinidad Rum with coconutand-spices Ceylon tea, Batavia Arrack, fresh lime and pineapple juices, and a squirt of milk. Or taking a couple shots of cask-strength Maker’s Mark and combining them with a tart blueberry-thyme shrub, candied elderflower, and bitter Italian amari. As for the rest of us, why settle for an old-school Whiskey Sour when you’ve got
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
APRIL 1 – 8 / 2021
Order a styling cocktail and within seconds you’re posting a shot for the world to see.
a DIY jar of house-made syrup that started with apple wood–smoked cherries? As great as a simple Margarita might be, it’s goddamn impressive with chipotlespiked agave nectar, a splash of organic hibiscus tea, and a dusting of sumac. Fittingly, as cocktails became liquid works of art, they also started looking like, well, works of art. For that, let’s thank (or, blame, because it’s fun to hate Mark Zuckerberg) the rise of Instagram. To have the perfect drink at this point in history is to have the inexplicable need to capture the beauty of that perfect drink with the perfectly framed shot run through the perfect filter (hello, Hefe!). So where does that leave you, as a person who’s spent the pandemic committed to upping your cocktail game? A year and a half ago—before COVID-19 left you at home with endless hours to master everything from sourdough to building the perfect Mindcraft village—you left things to the professionals. Being a busy person with a busy schedule, you were lucky enough to have time to pull together a Sailor Jerry and Five Alive before dinner. The squirt of ReaLime was totally optional. As was the no name maraschino cherry plopped in the glass as a garnish. Now you’ve seen the light, which explains why every L’Alligator C’est Vert or Singapura served up at home comes with an artfully placed pandan leaf and dried lime wheel affixed by a tiny clothespin (optional). Garnishes serve a couple of purposes. Most importantly (at least for those who really don’t care about presentation) is the way they can add subtle flavours and aromas to a cocktail. Mix up a Manhattan,
taste it, and then see what you’re missing out on by adding a strip of lemon peel, making sure to twist it over the glass to release the citrus oils. While James Bond may or may not approve, a Sipsmith gin and vermouth Martini can go from brilliant to transcendent when a Castelvetrano olive joins the party. Dust the top of a classic Margarita with sumac or chipotle and you’ve something that not only looks vaguely fancy with almost no effort required, but also adds an extra layer of flavour. Garnishes also add visual pop, especially true when someone’s affixed a Lilliputian-size minibox of popcorn (seriously— that’s a thing) to the side of a Caesar. Or taken a melon scooper to a Dragon fruit for a show-stopping Lychee Martini. And that visual bonus can be easy (although time-consuming) to execute, meaning big payoff for minimal effort. Want to impress? Spend a day making dehydrated citrus wheels by cutting lemons, limes, blood oranges, or tangerines into 1/4” slices and then bake them on a rack for six or seven hours at 80° C, turning every two hours. Then pick up a bottle of Woodford Reserve cocktail cherries— which run at around $25 online—a 99-cent bunch of mint, and pack of satay sticks at the grocery store, and unleash your inner arts-and-crafts star. Too much work (the limes) and too rich (the cherries) for your COVID-19 budget? Here’s a pro tip: at Persia Foods on Commercial Drive, a bag of dehydrated lime wheels will run you about $3.50, a frozen package of sinfully delicious sour cherries $5, and sumac around $2.50. Pandan leaves, meanwhile, cost $5.50 a frozen package at South China Seas on Victoria. Fancy? No. But you’ve got all the same basic building blocks as the pros. And plenty of time to work on your garnish game until it’s totally Instagram-perfect. CHERRY WHISKEY SMASH
2 oz. bourbon 1/2 oz. fresh cherry juice 1/2 oz. simple syrup 3 sour cherries 8 mint leaves lemon wedge (For garnish) dried lime wheel 3 sour cherries 2 mint leaves
Add simple syrup, cherry juice, cherries, mint leaves, and lemon wedge to a shaker and gently muddle. Add bourbon, fill shaker with ice, stir to combine, and then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with cherries, mint sprigs, and dehydrated lime wheel of your own creation. g
Easter weekend brunch options off the eaten path
by Craig Takeuchi
.C.’s closure of dine-in services under provincial health orders may have upended plans for Easter weekend meals. But numerous food and drink establishments are offering Easter meal kits or dinner options for takeout or pickup, as well as patio dining. Fingers crossed: with good weather, maybe even an outdoor picnic might be possible? Because daytime offers more of a chance of eating outside, here’s a quick look at a handful of takeout, pickup, and patio options for brunch to consider that veer from the traditional Easter fare. ITALIAN TOUCH On the more traditional side of things, Trattoria’s three locations (1850 West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano; 757 Main Street, Park Royal, in West Vancouver; 102–4501 Kingsway in Burnaby, www.glowbalgroup.com/ trattoria/ ) will offer an Easter Weekend Brunch Platter ($25) that serves two people, for patio dining or takeout. All the classic elements are in there, Italian style: smokedsalmon eggs Benedict and cinnamon-maple French toast with candied walnuts, along with bacon, meatballs, forno bread, mista salad, and Trattoria breakfast potatoes.
eggs, prosciutto, and arugula pesto on grilled focaccia with roasted tomatoes and hash browns—on Sunday and Monday (April 4 and 5). Information about these restaurants is available at the Sequoia Company of Restaurants website at www.vancouverdine.com/.
Minami’s Easter Weekend Premium Zen brunch includes this pretty coconut-mango mousse.
BENEDICTINE SPECIALS Two sibling restaurants are keeping their patios open on Easter weekend and are offering brunch specials. From Friday to Sunday (April 2 to 4), the Sandbar Seafood Restaurant (1535 Johnston Street) on Granville Island is offering the savoury Lobster Benedict ($29), with poached eggs, house-made buttermilk biscuit, avocado, Atlantic lobster meat, hollandaise, and dill. Meanwhile, Cardero’s (1583 Coal Harbour Quay) will be busy preparing the Seussian Green Eggs and Ham Benny ($18)—with poached free-range
PERUVIAN PATIOS The patios at Ancora’s two locations (1600 Howe Street, overlooking False Creek, and 1351 Bellevue Avenue in West Vancouver’s Ambleside, www.ancoradining.com/ ) will remain open and each are offering their own special menus for two-course lunches ($44 per person), with a choice of dishes from Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, such as Forbidden Rice Seafood Paella with Peruvian corn and sablefish croquettes; Crab Causa with quail egg, huancaina sauce, and crispy yam; or Papa à la Huancaína Salad with romaine hearts and soft-boiled egg. EASTERN EASTER Although Easter may have western origins, this is Vancouver, so there are always Asian alternatives. On that note, Yaletown’s Minami (1118 Mainland Street, minamirestaurant.com/ ) is offering an Easter Weekend Premium Zen brunch
($49) for takeout from April 2 to 5 that assembles a delectable array of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers, sushi, and aburi sushi. To polish it all off, there’s coconut-mango mousse for dessert. SUM IT UP Heritage Asian Eatery (382 West Broadway and 1108 West Pender Street, www.eatheritage.ca/ ) is cooking up an Easter Dim Sum Package ($69) that serves two to three people. Available from April 2 to 4, this collection of dim-summing delights includes prawn dumplings, truffle siu mai, wings, eggplant, chive prawn cake, radish cake, lotus-leaf sticky rice, and black sesame balls. HAWKER WHOPPER Over at Potluck Hawker Eatery (3424 Cambie Street, www.potluckyvr.ca/ ), the fine folks there are once again cooking up a storm for their crab feasts ($225) on April 3 and 4. This whopper of a Southeast Asian chowdown includes one whole salted–egg yolk Dungeness crab, black-pepper chicken wings, green-papaya salad, Potluck chili dip, char kway teow, and uni and smokedsablefish fried rice (with Thai iced tea or Superflux beer). g
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Self-portraits question notions of mixed ancestry
Émilie Régnier’s public-art project at the Capture Photography Festival reveals how hair shapes perceptions
by Charlie Smith
aitian-Canadian photography artist Émilie Régnier noticed something very familiar when her younger sister turned 15. The teenager was dating her first boyfriend and began straightening her curly hair far more than usual. “It became more and more straight,” Régnier told the Georgia Straight by phone from her home in Montreal. “And that actually threw me back to my own experience—a bit younger, I was 14—when I had my first boyfriend.” At that time, Régnier decided to ditch her Afro and go to school with straight hair. That totally changed how she was perceived by her friends. So it really struck her when her sister, 18 years her junior, was doing exactly the same thing. This gave birth to Régnier’s art project, How do you love me?, which features 13 black-and-white self-portraits, including one with her mother. These images show Régnier with both straight and curly hair, each augmented by text exploring Régnier’s feelings about standards of beauty and
race, as well as how others responded to her with different hairstyles. As a teenager, she felt that it was a compliment if she was told she looked like she was Spanish or Indian with straight hair, whereas she felt ashamed by her natural hair. She also mentions in one panel that she carries within herself the world of the oppressor and the oppressed. “Through this project, I invite the viewers to witness this confrontation within the periphery of my body and the body of two family members,” she writes. “I used my hair as the principal denominator.” Images from How do you love me? will be presented for the first time in public at this year’s Capture Photography Festival in Vancouver, which begins on Friday (April 2). And this very personal series of photographs, along with the text, will have a large audience because they will be exhibited at the Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station, thanks to the festival’s partnership with TransLink. How do you love me? is curated by Emmy Lee Wall, executive director of the Capture festival.
In How do you love me?, Émilie Régnier conveys how others reacted to her in very different ways, depending on whether she had straight hair or curly hair in her youth. Photos by Émilie Régnier.
On ViEw UnTiL SePtEmBeR 6 TiCkEtS At VaNaRtGaLlErY.Bc.Ca Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery on behalf of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program, curated by Diana Freundl Interim Chief Curator/Associate Director. Sun Xun, Mythology or Rebellious Bone, 2020 (detail), ink, gold leaf, natural colour pigment on paper, Courtesy of the Artist and ShanghART Gallery
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“It’s quite affecting,” Wall told the Straight by phone. “It talks about how deeply a simple gesture such as straightening her hair can affect the way that everybody around her treats her and sees her—just the way she even thinks of herself.” Régnier, 37, said that these pictures and words have really resonated with younger multiracial students who have seen them online. She emphasized that she does not want this show to be perceived as her dictating to anyone how they should look. Rather, she’s hoping that by expressing her experiences, she might put into words what others may be feeling. “I’m not there to give any lessons to anyone,” Régnier declared. Her previous works have been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Vogue, and Le Magazine du Monde, among other publications. She has also held exhibitions in North America, Europe, and Africa. Régnier spent much of her childhood in Gabon because her mother worked in
international aid. Régnier also lived in Senegal off and on for almost 12 years, working in that country as a photojournalist. There, she was told that she was “blond” or “white”, whereas in North America she is perceived to be not white. “I think this work is borne out of a form of pain—or scream—that I had to repress for too long,” Régnier said. SHE WAS 18 years old when she met her father for the first time. So aside from living in Africa as a child, she never had any contact with this aspect of her heritage as she was growing up. She noted that her father’s family from Haiti is “highly mixed”. One of her greatgrandmothers was blond and blue-eyed, whereas one of her great-grandfathers was very fair-skinned. “When I got to Haiti for the first time in my life, I realized that most of my patrilineal family were actually more white than I was,” Régnier said. see next page
Vancouver film fests and series to eye in April
by Craig Takeuchi
s we face both the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and the darkness of escalating case counts, we’ve been encouraged to stay close to home (once again). That means we’ll be resorting even more to online offerings, and several screen organizations have plenty to offer in that department. Here’s a quick rundown of some options of what to watch in April—as well as a call for submissions from filmmakers.
2021 OSCAR-NOMINATED SHORT FILMS
April 2 to 29, streaming at VIFF Connect at viff.org For those in Oscar pools or the simply interested, the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is streaming this year’s Academy Award–nominated short films in three programs—documentary, animation, and live action—so viewers can make their bets on who will nab the top spot. ÉRIC ROHMER’S TALES OF THE FOUR SEASONS
April 9 to May 6, streaming at thecinematheque.ca Four French seasonal comedies from the celebrated French New Wave auteur make up this tetralogy streaming at the Cinematheque. From A Tale of Springtime to A Tale of Autumn, this collection of films follows colourful characters facing dilemmas in matters of the heart that demand difficult decisions to be made—or let indecision render everything undone. CAPTURE PHOTOGRAPHY FILM FESTIVAL
April 9 to May 6, streaming at VIFF Connect at viff.org Three visually stunning documentaries by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky—Manufactured Landscapes (2006), Watermark (2013), and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018)—harness the power of photography to present
Clockwise, from top left: Watermark is at the Capture Photography film fest, “Dark Cloud” screens at Reel 2 Real, and Éric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons is at the Cinematheque; also, Richard Wong (shown with Grace Wong) has launched a new fund for Asian Canadian filmmakers.
unexpected new ways of observing how human activity is leaving a devastating imprint upon the world. This retrospective is part of the lens-based Capture Photography Festival in April. REEL 2 REAL FILM FESTIVAL
April 14 to 23, streaming at r2rfestival.org The 23rd edition of this festival for youth has a lineup boasting 18 feature films and 45 shorts from more than 35 nations and can be viewed from across B.C. Among the titles are “Dark Cloud”, a look at cyberbullying from the perspective of Carol Todd, the mother of local cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd; Veins of the World, about a 11-year-old Mongolian boy who has to take over responsibilities for his
This led to the realization that, genetically, her ancestry was likely less than 50 percent African. “According to a DNA test I did in 2017, I am 75 percent of European heritage,” she wrote on a panel in How do you love me?. “Growing up, I remembered, I used to love Canadian winter, because I could wear a snowsuit and no one would see the 25% of me that isn’t of European heritage.” Back when she was a teenager, she said, before the advent of social media, there was a “very homogeneous narrative” of attractiveness presented through the media. Régnier thinks that since then, Instagram has helped expose people to more diverse perspectives. “My discomfort was also due to what were the main beauty standards of my time—and how I felt I couldn’t fit or meet them until I got my hair straight. And then suddenly I felt so much lighter,” she recalled. Nowadays, Régnier very rarely wears her hair straight.
family after his father dies; and My Name is Baghdad, about a 17-year-old girl who escapes from gender pressures through skateboarding. In addition, there are school programs with study guides addressing social-justice, Indigenous, and historical issues. NATIONAL CANADIAN FILM DAY
April 22 to May 4, streaming at thecinematheque.ca The Cinematheque will offer free Canadian films to watch for this nationwide spotlight on our domestic screen industries. The program lineup is yet to be finalized, so stay tuned to find out which titles will be available for this cinematic celebration.
And when she does, she wonders if she’s doing it for herself or if she’s doing it for someone she would like to look at her. She created the self-portraits while living in Paris. And she believes that the anonymity of not being in her hometown of Montreal gave her more freedom to really examine and expose herself in ways that might not have been possible were she in closer proximity to friends. ONE OF HER newest projects continues her fascination with genealogy. In 2019, Régnier received a grant from the National Geographic Society, which is helping her reach out to people who share a segment of her DNA. Her test showed that she has relatives in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Hawaii, and even Vancouver. “So far, I have over 100 people who are willing to participate in my project and meet in person,” Régnier said. “And I have another project where I record people’s
VANCOUVER ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL’S RICHARD WONG FILM FUND
This one isn’t one for viewers to watch— quite yet. Rather, it’s one for filmmakers to take note of. This month, the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) launched the new Richard Wong Film Fund to provide up to $12,500 to Asian Canadian filmmakers and TV producers for projects that boost the profile of Asian people in Canada. The winning films will be screened at the 25th annual VAFF in November. Submissions are due by May 1, and full details are online at the VAFF website. During this period of heightened anti-Asian attacks and discrimination, represent-Asian has never been more important. g
heartbeats all around the world. I’ve worked in six countries and recorded 120 strangers’ heartbeats.” There are photographic aspects involved in both these projects, which have been put on hold due to the pandemic. She pointed out that the first thing people notice about another human being is their physical appearance, including their skin colour. And she suggest that because human brains are lazy, they quickly draw conclusions about this person’s social, economic, cultural, and religious background based on their appearance. “It’s like we look at the point of the iceberg,” Régnier said. “We never go back and look deeper into one another. So that’s where I see I’m going.” g The Capture Photography Festival is presenting How do you love me? in partnership with TransLink at Stadium-Chinatown Station from Friday (April 2) until March 1, 2022.
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Merch is a great way to support a battered scene
by Mike Usinger
he truly smart musicians and music-industry insiders have figured out that there’s no point limiting things to T-shirts and hoodies when it comes to spreading the gospel at the merch table. Remember how, in olden times, Grinderman showed up at the Commodore with branded tea towels, earplugs, and suitable-for-framing posters? Or the way that the Dropkick Murphys would have you standing there for a good 45 minutes after the show wondering what you needed more: the Slap Shot-inspired hockey jersey, the embroidered scally cap, or the three-ounce shot glass? Official merch works in a number of ways. For fans, it’s a way to show the world where one’s musical allegiances lie. For bands, venues, and record labels, it’s invaluable in helping with the bottom line—something that couldn’t be more important when the COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended the music industry. If you’re a musician, you’re not touring—the problem being that’s how musicians make their money in a world where Spotify, Tidal, and Apple streams have replaced album sales. Venues, meanwhile, continue to sit empty in the name of flattening curves by stopping transmission between folks in close quarters. Someone cue up R.E.M’s “Everybody Hurts” because that pretty much describes where the global music community is 13 or so months into lockdown. But there are ways to help. Like earmarking a portion of last week’s LottoMax winnings for your favourite creative. No one is ever sorry to receive an etransfer. Or, for those of us still waiting for that winning ticket, stepping up at an online merch store and dropping a few dollars. Here are some ideas for those who not only prefer to think outside the box, but would also rather shop local and independent. And don’t worry, traditionalists—there are options for you as well, with websites for the below-listed artists also offering standbys like T-shirts, patches, stickers, and vinyl. Now get shopping, because, let’s face it, even if you’re only leaving the house to hit the grocery store these days, you need something to wear while doing your best to keep on rocking in the free world—even if that world seems like an endlessly hellish fucking mess. RARE AMERICANS LUNCHBOX Given where we’re still at these lockdown days, this is kind of a funny one. Essential workers have a reason to wear something outside of the pyjamas and sweatpants rotation, but many of us are spending all day, every day at home. As a result, lunchtime consists of walking from the kitchen
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
The Rickshaw merch store has everything from snapback hats to hoodies, face masks, and bandanas; a Stephen Hamm coffee cup comes in handy when reaching for the absinthe.
Mystical capes would be a complete no-brainer for Stephen Hamm
counter to the kitchen table. Remind yourself of how things used to be by packing your sandwich, thermos, or Pink Lady apple into a Rare Americans lunchbox. The custom-made kit features illustrated halfman and half-horse Alfred, who fans will recognize from the genre-jumping group’s eponymous first album. Should you be anticipating a return to a workplace sooner rather than later, jumping on one of these now is smart as they tend to disappear faster than Lil Uzi Vert when he sees Nardwuar holding a microphone. How can that be? Let’s just say that Rare Americans are most definitely a thing—the group’s punk-jazz-ska-hip-hop-indie-kitchen-sink songs and beautifully animated videos are piling up views in the millions on YouTube. Yes, millions. Now grab that lunch box. ($25 at rareamericans.com) STEPHEN HAMM COFFEE MUG Legend. That’s a big word not to be used lightly, but it fits Stephen Hamm, who’s been one of the Vancouver music scene’s most beloved sons for the better part of five decades.
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And yes, you read that right: from protogrungers Slow and Tankhog, to soul-punks Jungle to karaoke kings Canned Hamm, to Nardwuar wingman in the Evaporators, to chief collaborator with Sunday Morning, Hamm has kept busy—and not just as a bassist. The past couple of years have seen the DIY icon reinvent himself as a Thereminist, with 2019’s full-length Theremin Man mixing space-odyssey disco with blackhearted postrock and gold-dusted glam. Mystical capes would be a no-brainer for Hamm, but until that happens he’s gone functional with coffee cups emblazoned with both his name and majestic visage. Fill with a steaming cup of Continental Dark French (or Odd Society’s Mongrel Unaged Spirit, for days when it’s all too much), cue up the towering “Listen to the Sound of the Sun”, and find yourself instantly in a better place. Mug comes in two sizes for days when you need a little extra go-go juice of your choosing—coffee, tea, absinthe—to get you across the finish line. ($14/11 oz; 19.50/15 oz at stephenhamm.ca) RICKSHAW SNAPBACK HAT Face masks aside, few things have been more indispensable over the past year than hats. It doesn’t matter whether your chapeau of choice has been a Jughead-style whoopee cap, J. Peterman urban sombrero, or Devo-issue Energy Dome—all have been essential items for one simple reason. And that reason is this: as lockdown days, weeks, and months piled up, showering became something done on a need-to basis. Which has been fine except for a hair game that’s been nonexistent thanks to your stylist being understandably AWOL. But that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a hat.
And few things look more styling without trying too hard than a crisp snapback. The Rickshaw’s comes embroidered with the venue’s cooler-than-the-Venom-Mob logo. The major selling point though, besides having something to cover up the fact you haven’t washed your hair since Trump was still president? That would be doing your small part to help keep the lights on at what just might be—thanks to its tireless owner Mo Tarmohamed—the most beloved venue in the city. For reasons that include unbeatable sightlines and budgetfriendly liquor prices, the Rickshaw has established itself as the place you desperately hope Deafheaven, Sharon Van Etten, Idles, and the Horrors play when they roll back into Vancouver. And it’s been an invaluable home for the musicians—think everyone from Bison to the Pack a.d. to all the good folks associated with Keithmas—that continue to make this city’s indie scene one of the most fertile in North America. While you’re online, don’t stop with the snapback. The Rickshaw’s merch store includes everything from beyond reasonably priced hoodies ($35!) to bandanas, Ts, and, of course, face masks. You’re going to need a place to play—whether on-stage, on the dancefloor, or watching in the balcony— when this is all done, so open up that pocketbook. And don’t dare overlook the tote bag. ($24 at rickshawtheatre.com) YUNG HEAZY SOCKS You know what the most underrated part of any person’s wardrobe is? As much as it’s tempting to say a styling hat, custom-made facemask, or Keith Richards–inspired skull rings, the answer is socks. Think about how—any time you run into someone wearing a particularly fantastic pair of socks—you inevitably note the brilliance of them. Especially if they are emblazoned with “Cute but psycho”. Or illustrated dancing bacon and eggs. Or a simple but concise “Fuck Off!”. Help make a statement guaranteed to rake in the compliments with a pair of official Yung Heazy socks. Post-slacker bedroom-pop fans first got to know the Vancouverite for his YouTubepropelled smash “Cuz You’re My Girl”. Flashforward a bit and the man known as Jordan Heaney is building a reputation as one of the most whip-smart songwriters in North America. Last year’s full-length I UR Boy took a deeply insightful look at the hell that is a breakup with titles like “A Genuine Attempt at Not Being a Dick”. Been a dick to someone? Show you’re sorry with Yung Heazy–emblazoned sunflower socks with pink polka dots and a baby blue heel. Because as much as you might be tempted to spring for them, those “Fuck Off!” socks see next page
Mix Tape Rodeo shoots quick and dirty for free
by Steve Newton
f you happened to be anywhere near drummer-journalist Adrian Mack’s property on Salt Spring Island last September 3, you might have heard a decidedly raucous noise ringing through the Douglas firs. Mack’s garage-rock quartet, Saltspringunderground, was running through a rowdy original called “City of Glass”. And Island life was gettin’ loud. If you weren’t within earshot, you can thank the folks from Mix Tape Rodeo for capturing the sights and sounds for all to enjoy on YouTube and whatnot. The MTR team—composed of Tyler McLeod (camera), Amber Webber (sound), Yvonne Hachkowski (photography and lighting), and Juliana Moore (writing)—has been capturing B.C. artists on video for almost a year now. And as McLeod explains on the line from his East Van co-op, sometimes they just do whatever it takes. “Chris [Arnett] was singing through a keyboard amplifier,” he says of the Saltspringunderground shoot. “We had two mikes, so we decided to try to mike the kick drum and the bass guitar. So there were crazily distorted vocals comin’ out of the amp, and whatever guitar sounds we got were ambient. But it turned out pretty good! “That was the first amplified band that we did,” McLeod adds, “so we just went in there ready to blow it, but everybody’s energy was high. When we did that shoot, it opened us up to the idea that doing something bigger doesn’t have to be technical and super difficult.”
MTR is Yvonne Hachkowski, Amber Webber, Tyler McLeod, and (kneeling) Juliana Moore.
McLeod says the main idea behind Mix Tape Rodeo videos is to do them as easily as possible. He fi lms live performances mostly in one take so he doesn’t have to edit anything, and he also shoots some Super 8. He’s no prima donna when it comes to pumping out his art. “I develop that stuff in my bathroom so I have a quick turnaround,” he says. “It’s quick and dirty, and we like the look. It’s really just unmatchable in the way that it’s hand-processed and DIY and it’s very cool that way. It has an extra element of uniqueness.” Armed with the most basic of gear, which McLeod had accumulated over the years, Mix Tape Rodeo has shot videos for more than a dozen local artists. And without charging them a cent. “We’re just a group of music lovers and
friends and artists,” he says, “and we know that there’s amazing artists in the city. And I just love fi lming music and being part of something, so that’s how it all came about. I wanted to do something that was a little different and didn’t involve money.” McLeod—who describes himself as “just a guy with a camera”—has known musician Webber since they were kids. Over the years, he watched her musical career “go wild” with popular local bands like Black Mountain and Lightning Dust. Hachkowski is an artist and photographer who works at Emily Carr University of Art + Design; Moore is described as “a really good writer and superfriend”. Mix Tape Rodeo took on its first project when McLeod was approached by Webber to shoot a video for Lightning Dust’s “100 Degrees”. That’s where he got the idea to shoot live music in a living-room type of situation with minimal gear, with Hachkowski joining in to take photos. “It was so easy and so fun,” he says. “We were like, ‘This is it; we’re doin’ this.’ ” And they did do it—until the pandemic started raging. Last October, they had to stop fi lming due to safety concerns. “It’s a pretty intimate little series that we’re shooting,” McLeod explains, “and we don’t want to be a part of the whole COVID problem. Mix Tape Rodeo is all about no stress; it’s a social kinda thing where it’s not really justifiable to get together to expose people to being sick. It’s not a job for us, so we collectively agreed to hold off until we could be able to do it again.”
are just plain fucking bad for your fucking karma. ($15 at yungheazy.com) NARDWUAR THE HUMAN SERVIETTE HOODIE Sometimes perceptions weirdly change over time, that reality not lost on fans of Nardwuar the Human Serviette. When the North Van native fi rst blazed his way onto the scene as a cub celebrity interviewer, many had no idea what to make of him. Alice Cooper hung up on him. Beck told him to fuck off. Skid Row stole his favourite toque. And one of the guys not named Damon Albarn in Blur was so hostile, he shamefacedly apologized for his dickdom years after the fact. Today Nardwuar is not only an icon in Canada but, thanks to YouTube, in any country with music fans and Internet access. He’s the one guy that makes everyone from Jello Biafra to Tyler, the Creator forget they hate doing interviews. A wise person one described Nardwuar as a “litmus test for humanity”. Love and appreciate the Nard, as you’re likely to love and appreciate your fellow human beings.
Show you’ve passed the litmus test for humanity with a Nardwuar the Human Serviette hoodie; use Peach Pit fridge magnets to make it clear that your music game is tight when you’re dating.
So show you’ve passed the litmus test with a heavyweight zip-up hoodie where a patch featuring the Serviette’s tam-clad head is stitched on the front, and “Doot Doola Doot Do.....Doo Doo” is splashed across the back. We know what you’re thinking, namely “How can I accessorize this with an official Nardwuar tam?” For now, you’re going to have to dare to dream. ($45 at nardwuar.com)
PEACH PIT FRIDGE MAGNETS There are guaranteed ways to make a good impression when, at the beginning of a relationship, you have someone over for the first time. A clean kitchen is a good start—no one likes to see a sink and its surrounding area piled with what looks like highlights of Seasons One and Two
The last video the foursome created was for a song called “Catlin” by Ashley Shadow, a.k.a. Ashley Webber, Amber’s twin sister. McLeod reckons that it’s the clip he’s most proud of so far. “It just felt superfulfi lling,” he says. “I had this vision to shoot a video with her, and it took several months to come to fruition, but I was so happy with it. It was like my initial goal was reached. “But every single one of the shoots has been magical,” he adds, “because my heart and soul is put into each one. It’s all about the experience and the memory, right, and every single time it has just been so amazing.” When asked to name the one artist he’d most like to film a video for if he could pick anyone in the world, McLeod doesn’t place any international superstar on his wish list. “That’s a tough question,” he replies. “But I think my loyalty just remains with my favourite local artist, John Wakeham, because he is an underrated, amazing outlaw-country singer-songwriter, and he is, like, the one person that I would want to see get success. He doesn’t promote himself, so I would love to shoot him more and more. I want to promote Johnny.” As far as better-known recording artists go, McLeod reveals that the Mix Tape Rodeo crew harbours a “secret goal” to film and hang out with children’s entertainer Fred Penner. He wouldn’t mind shooting grizzled country legend Willie Nelson, either. “He’s like my spirit animal,” he points out. g of Hoarders. As for the bathroom, the last thing you want is an empty toilet paper roll in the holder, and a half-dozen more strewn about the floor. In the bedroom, your Snotty Nose Rez Kids and lié Ts should either be hung neatly in the closet or folded up in a drawer—not balled up on the floor. Moving back to the kitchen, drinks, and possibly dinner, will likely be served, which makes the fridge a focal point. Before whipping up the Peach Bellinis, chicken breasts with chipotle-peach chutney, and peach cobbler, show that someone you’ve got impeccable musical taste with Peach Pit magnets. Which, like almost all magnets, belong on your fridge. Packs feature 4” by 4” replicas of Peach Pit’s Being So Normal and You and Your Friends—both of which have established the band as goldstar purveyors of impeccably crafted guitar-pop. Worried that, impossibly, magnets won’t be impressive enough? That’s something easily rectified by a his-or-hers orange turtleneck and a thrift-store sweater from Value Village. Or, you know, official merch of the T-shirt variety. Who’s your Daddy? You know the answer. ($9.99 at peachpitmusic.com) g
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Computer snooping only justified with evidence by Dan Savage
b I’VE BEEN WITH my boyfriend for 2.5 years and we have a great relationship—or so I thought. Last week, I snooped on my boyfriend’s browser history and I don’t know what to do with what I found. I’m a longtime reader and Savage Lovecast listener so I know what I did was wrong. I believe my actions were driven by 1. lingering trust issues (a while ago, I found out my boyfriend had been looking at Tinder since we’d been together, though I don’t believe he ever messaged or intended to meet anyone), and 2. my general anxiety/depression, which seems particularly high one year into the pandemic. Now to what I found: my boyfriend has been looking at random women on Facebook—not people he’s friends with or people in his immediate network, so far as I know. And then he clears his activity log. What do you think this means? Where is he finding
pretty open book. (Everyone in my life who knows him agrees.) However, I can’t shake the fear/paranoia that he’s living a double life, and I don’t want to be blindsided. I would appreciate your insight. - Sincerely Nervous Over Online Pattern
Snoopers might find things they don’t need to know. Photo by nghia-nguyen/Unsplash.
these names/women? Is he using these pictures to masturbate? Should I raise the issue with him or just feel shitty about invading his privacy? He gives me no other reason to not trust him, I should say, and he seems like a
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snooping is more nuanced than you think. To quickly summarize: i don’t necessarily think what you did was wrong. I mean, snooping is wrong, and I believe people have a right to privacy—even partnered people—but sometimes a snooper finds out something they needed to know and/or had a right to know. A woman who finds out her husband has been sneaking off to big gay sex parties and taking loads until cum bubbles are coming out of his nose and then goes home and has unprotected sex with his her? Yeah. She needed to know that, and
My position on
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her husband doesn’t get to play the wronged party because his wife found out about it by snooping on his phone. My position—my maddening position (as it seems to madden some)—is that snooping can only be justified retroactively. If you learned something you needed to know and had a right to know, the snooping was justified. If you didn’t, it wasn’t. A person should only snoop if they have other evidence or cause for concern—some will regard your boyfriend’s harmless interactions on Tinder as grounds, some won’t (for the record, I don’t)—and just being a jealous or insecure or paranoid person doesn’t count. Additionally, anyone who is tempted to snoop with or without cause needs to consider the not insignificant risk of finding something they 1. didn’t need to know and 2. can’t unknow.
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I once got a letter from a man who snooped on his wife’s computer and discovered that she had, years before they met, slept with her brother—just the once, and shortly after they met for the first time as adults. But the husband didn’t need to know that and couldn’t unknow it, and knowing his wife had slept with her brother messed up his sexual relationship with the wife and his ability to enjoy family gatherings. Moving on… So you snooped, SNOOP, and what did you find out? Something you didn’t need to know—your boyfriend isn’t cheating on you; he doesn’t have a secret second family in another city. All you know that you didn’t before is something you should’ve known all along. Your boyfriend, like most people’s boyfriends (mine included), likes to look at people on the Internet. If you have no other reason to suspect your partner is cheating on you, SNOOP, then you’ll have to do what everyone else does and give your partner the benefit of the (very trivial) doubt here. Discreetly checking out the hotties on the street or on Facebook Massage or even on a dating app is not cheating. Masturbating to images, mental or otherwise, of
other women or men or nonbinary folks isn’t cheating. What you found is not, by itself, proof that your boyfriend is cheating or plans to. So your snooping is not, I’m sorry to say, retroactively justified, which means you’ll have to shut the fuck up about it. Your boyfriend is entitled to a zone of erotic autonomy. If he’s checking out hot people on the Internet and having a wank every once in a while but not touching anyone else with the tip of his penis or with any other part of his body that he’s pledged to you and you alone—and if he’s not neglecting you sexually and if he’s not being inconsiderate (clearing his browser history/activity log isn’t evidence of guilt, it’s evidence of consideration)—then he’s done nothing wrong here. Only you have. Finally, if your boyfriend demanded a zone of erotic autonomy for himself but denied you the same—if he checked out other women online or off but blew up at you for checking out other men or being checked out by other men—then you’d have a problem of a different sort, i.e., a controlling, sexist, and hypocritical boyfriend. Thankfully, SNOOP, your boyfriend doesn’t appear to be any of those things. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t be blindsided
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The fastest way to find out if someone only wants sex from us is to fuck ‘em. If they stick around, great. They wanted sex, obviously, but not just sex. If they disappear and we didn’t want them to, well, that’s obviously not so great. But if you enjoy the sex and you’re not devastated when a guy decides, for whatever
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b I WAS BORN and raised in the Middle East in a culture of “a girl doesn’t have sex until she gets married”. I am heterosexual and 33 years old and living in the United States now. I’ve had multiple sexual partners. But I am always conflicted when it comes to having sex for the first time when dating a new guy. If things don’t go right after having sex and we wind up splitting, I always associate that with having sex too soon. I would like to hear your opinion on this matter.
reason, that he’s not interested in pursuing things further after you’ve had sex once or twice, SPLIT, then fuck the guys you like and get serious about the guy (or guys) who stick around. But if you feel used and/or devastated when things “don’t go right” after sex, you might want—for your own sake—to put sex off for a while. Since a guy who’s only interested in sex isn’t going to wait weeks or months to have sex with you for the first time, waiting will weed out guys who aren’t interested in the possibility of a relationship. Waiting is no guarantee a relationship will last, SPLIT, just as jumping into bed right away doesn’t always lead to failure. I’m not advising you to do what’s right here, SPLIT, but to do what’s right for you. There are lots of ways to define “things going right” after sex. Whether you had sex on the first date or sex after dating for three months, if the sex was bad and you didn’t enjoy it—if the guy was inconsiderate or unhygienic or not invested in your pleasure or all of the above— never having to see that guy again would definitely count as “things going right”. g
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by him at some point—just because someone hasn’t cheated yet doesn’t mean they’ll never cheat ever; not finding evidence that he’s cheating doesn’t mean he isn’t—but there’s no need to tell him what you did or confront him with what you found. Which is nothing.
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