Page 1

6� Orchid Plants

Bring home the natural warmth and elegance of our Phalaenopsis orchid plants and support BC kids in need at the same time. $1.00 from every sale donated to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

$14.99 ea Regular price $21.99 each, Assorted colours

While supplies last. Photos are for illustrative purposes only. Pricing in effect Friday Apr. 20 to Thursday Apr. 26, 2018. Overwaitea Food Group LP, a Jim Pattison business. Proudly BC Owned and Operated.


2 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018


(BEFORE WE ALL BECOME WHEEL- FOOTE D ROBOTS)

TRY O N A PAI R TO ENTER N OW U NTIL M AY 14TH WINNER ANNOUNCED ON INTERNATIONAL FLUE VOG DAY: MAY 15TH * FURTHER DETAIL S IN -STORE * J O H NF LU E VO GS H O E S     G R A N V I L L E  S T      ·    ·     |     WAT E R  S T      ·    ·       F L U E V O G  C O M

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4 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018


Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40009178, return undeliverable Canadian addresses to The Georgia Straight, 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9

APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 5


EXPERIENCE VCC Engage and inte rac t with 120 progra ms.

APRIL 25 3 - 6 PM VCC BROADWAY CAMPUS 1155 East Broadway, Vancouver RSVP AT VCC.CA/EXPERIENCE

Tour VCC’s campus

Attend a workshop

Meet with instructors

Our nursing, transportation trades, Samsung Technical Institute, music and culinary areas are opening their doors to the public.

Experience VCC first-hand by participating in one of our numerous workshops.

Instructors from 120+ programs will be on hand to answer any questions you have about our programs.

6 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018


CONTENTS

CALL ME FOR EXPERT ADVICE W W W.TOFFOLI.CA | PAUL@TOFFOLI.CA

604.787.6963

MASTER M E DA L L I O N MEMBER

New Westminster. Sandra Lea Kovich photo.

FEATURE

For various reasons, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland have become a mecca for developers of alternative renewable-energy technologies, including hydrogen, fusion, and solar. > BY K ATE WILSON

13

FOOD

Redevelopment has closed many eateries, but the owner of the former Pronto went to the West End to open a new Italian restaurant. > BY CR AIG TAKEUCHI

15

COVER

The Overcoat was one of the biggest theatre works to come out of this town. Now it takes bold new form at the Vancouver Opera Festival. > BY JANE T SMITH

29

START HERE 14 8 32 23 27 32 27 9 35 12 24

The Bottle Cannabis Confessions Dance I Saw You Local Motion Movie Reviews Real Estate Savage Love Straight Stars Theatre

TIME OUT 25 Arts 32 Music

MUSIC

Master guitarist Steve Dawson returns to Vancouver for Lucky Hand and renews his partnership with string wizard Jesse Zubot. > BY ALE X ANDER VART Y

SERVICES 33 Careers 9 Real Estate

33

COVER PHOTO

CLASSIFIEDS

Automotive | Education | Services | Travel Marketplace | Employment | Real Estate Property Rentals | Music | Announcements Callboard | And more...

GeorgiaStraight @ GeorgiaStraight @ GeorgiaStraight

DAHLIA KATZ

Short-term Rentals Are Now Legal in Vancouver Property owners and renters can apply for a business licence to rent their principal residence for stays under 30 days. Applying for a licence online takes about five minutes, and you’ll need to meet certain requirements.

LEARN MORE AT AN INFORMATION SESSION: Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 pm Vancouver Public Library Central Branch 350 West Georgia Street, Alice MacKay Room (lower level) Saturday, May 12, 10:30 am – 1 pm CityLab, 511 West Broadway

FOR MORE INFORMATION: vancouver.ca/short-term-rentals or phone 3-1-1

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Call or email: 604.730.7020 | sales@straight.com APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 7


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When not rapping about female empowerment and self-discovery, Tee Krispil is busy making her mark in the cannabis industry with CBD-infused Fleurs Tea.

Krispil started recording in 2014 while living in Toronto but says she began her music career somewhat in denial. She attributes her shift into music to a “spiritual revelation” experienced during a trip to Israel the year prior and a chance encounter with a man, also travelling, who suggested she experiment with lyrics. “I was a white girl from the suburbs. What did I have to say?” she says, laughing. “But we stayed up all night and wrote freestyle about our journeys. It was amazing.” Since then, Krispil has had plenty to say. She has been dubbed one of the most exciting developing artists in Canadian hip-hop. Bouncing back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver, she capitalizes on the diversity of the East Coast music landscape and the mellowed-out insulator that is the West Coast. “The two cities have very different creative energy,” she says. “Vancouver is laid-back and focused at the same time, so the music has the natural chill style to it.” Influenced by old-school reggae and artists like Erykah Badu, Gang Starr, and Biggie, she mastered a lyric-saturated style and laid it over a retro backdrop reminiscent of ’90s boom bap. Her lyrics combine equal parts female empowerment and self-discovery, while metaphorically and often pointblank challenging the status quo of the male-dominated hip-hop industry. For example, “Badangadang”, a single off her upcoming album, One Way Ticket, produced by Moxsa, is an in-your-face anthem for women making their way through the music industry. Mirroring feedback she’s received too many times, she writes: “I’ll let my

rhymes do the talking, not the fact that I’m a chick.” “I get ‘You’re good for a girl’ a lot,” she says, rolling her eyes. “They’re clearly trying to come from a good place, but it’s just not a smart thing to say.” Weed is another theme that plays heavily into her persona. If she’s not smoking it or surrounded by people who are, she’s rapping about it. “Cannabis removes blocks,” she says. Raised in a conservative home by a Scottish Christian mother and a Moroccan Jewish father, Krispil still receives some pushback from her family, but explains her cannabis use as a tool for health and spirituality. “It was hard channelling [creativity] from a higher source, whereas when I smoke weed I can just cut myself out and let it flow naturally,” she says. Though she jokes about having an identity crisis at least once every few months, when she speaks about her work one message seems clear: cannabis and music help her pursue creative freedom, unrestrained by stereotypes. When not redefining the concept of the modern female rapper, Krispil is pouring her efforts into expanding the Fleurs Tea brand and working as the social-media strategist for a local digital-marketing agency. “You know when people say they’re busy, it means they’re really busy?” she says. “When I say I’m busy, it means I’ve blocked out time to chill in my bathtub with a joint.” She laughs, but, much like the healing message behind her CBDinfused tea, the concept of self-care and reflection is undoubtedly one of her tricks for self-empowerment. -

The Georgia Straight | Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly | Volume 52 Number 2623 PERFORMANCE REALTY

Workshops for volunteers and service providers who work with seniors

Communicating for Connection Presented by North Shore Neighbourhood House Examine roadblocks to effective communication. Learn the importance of personal boundaries and explore techniques to enhance communication with others.

Wednesday, May 2 9:40 am – 1:00 pm Inn at the Quay, 900 Quayside Drive, New Westminster Free - register early! Brunch provided. Register on alliesinaging.eventbrite

Call 604.985.8713 or email register@alliesinaging.ca @alliesinaging This is one in a series of workshops by the Allies in Aging Volunteer Impact Team. Our goal is to reduce social isolation among seniors in Metro Vancouver. FUNDED IN PART BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S NEW HORIZONS FOR SENIORS PROGRAM.

8 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018

erched in a corner of a Yaletown café, Tee Krispil recounts her journey to underground rap notoriety and how she developed a fast-rising CBD-wellness brand. “It’s so weird how things come full circle, ” she says with a laugh, discussing the roots of her newest endeavour, Fleurs Tea, a seven-woman company specializing in locally made tea and topical products. The Ottawa-born musician and entrepreneur started crafting her own herbal brews while studying digital-music production at Langara College. Her interest in plant healing helped her perfect the blend now called Woke, recommended for focus and energy. At the time, she was making tea for herself and friends, but never thought it would morph into a business of its own. The organic, pre-dosed tea bags come in three mixtures said to boost functionality, promote sleep, and help with pain relief and detoxification. Each bag contains seven milligrams of hemp-derived CBD, a nonintoxicating component of cannabis, and a handful of herbs, like gotu kola for brain function and horsetail for bone health. Krispil launched Fleurs Tea right before performing at 4/20 in 2017. This year will be her third rapping at the festival but her first running a booth. “Crowds give me anxiety, but I guess I’ll just have to deal with it,” she says, adding that last year instead of hosting a booth, she simply tossed packages of tea into the audience from the stage. Krispil may not like crowds, but she is no stranger to performing for them. As both a solo artist and a member of Vancouver-based rap group the People North West (TPNW), she’s shared the stage with Kid Ink, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah. This year, TPNW is opening for Bay Area rapper E-40. If all you knew of the 25-year-old artist was derived from the arm’slength identity that social media and music platforms allow, the bland background of a bustling chain coffee shop would be a stark contrast to Krispil’s persona: to fans, she’s a tattooed, sharp-tongued young rapper, usually smoking a joint, dancing, and dropping take-no-prisoners bars. In person, she’s astoundingly calm and easygoing, which explains how she can juggle so many different pursuits.

1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 www.straight.com Phone: 604-730-7000 / Fax: 604-730-7010 / e-mail: gs.info@straight.com Display Advertising: 604-730-7020 / Fax: 604-730-7012 / e-mail: sales@straight.com Classifieds: 604-730-7060 / e-mail: classads@straight.com Subscriptions: 604-730-7000 Distribution: 604-730-7087 EDITOR + PUBLISHER Dan McLeod ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Yolanda Stepien GENERAL MANAGER Matt McLeod EDITOR Charlie Smith PRODUCT MANAGER

Chet Woodside SECTION EDITORS

Janet Smith (Arts/Fashion) Mike Usinger (Music) Steve Newton (Time Out) Adrian Mack (Movies) Brian Lynch (Books) Amanda Siebert (Cannabis) EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATOR Doug Sarti ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Gail Johnson, John Lucas, Alexander Varty STAFF WRITERS

Piper Courtenay, Tammy Kwan, Lucy Lau, Travis Lupick, Carlito Pablo, Craig Takeuchi, Kate Wilson SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy PROOFREADER Pat Ryffranck CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Gregory Adams, Nathan Caddell, David Chau, Jack Christie, Jennifer Croll, Ken Eisner (Movies), George Fetherling, Tara Henley, Michael Hingston, Ng Weng Hoong, Alex Hudson, Kurtis Kolt,

Robin Laurence (Visual Arts), Mark Leiren-Young, John Lekich, Amy Lu, Bob Mackin, Michael Mann, Rose Marcus, Beth McArthur, Verne McDonald, Allan MacInnis, Guy MacPherson, Tony Montague, Kathleen Oliver, Ben Parfitt, Vivian Pencz, Bill Richardson, Gurpreet Singh, Jacqueline Turner, Andrea Warner, Jessica Werb, Stephen Wong, Alan Woo CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Alfonso Arnold, Rebecca Blissett, Trevor Brady, Louise Christie, Emily Cooper, Randall Cosco, Krystian Guevara, Evaan Kheraj, Kris Krug, Tracey Kusiewicz, Kevin Langdale, Shayne Letain, Matt Mignanelli, Mark “Atomos” Pilon, Carlo Ricci, William Ting, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Jeffrey Li WEB DEVELOPER Tina Luu (On Leave) JUNIOR WEB DEVELOPER Riva Ridley WEB ADMINISTRATOR Miles Keir

ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER

Janet McDonald

SENIOR DESIGNER David Ko PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Mike Correia PRODUCTION

K.T. Dean, Sandra Oswald

AD SERVICES ASSOCIATE

Jon Cranny

DIRECTOR OF ARTS AND SPONSORSHIP

Laura Moore SALES DIRECTOR

Tara Lalanne

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES

Glenn Cohen, Robyn Marsh, Manon Paradis, David Pearlman, Catherine Tickle

CONTENT AND MARKETING SPECIALIST

Tori Macnab ADVERTISING + PROMOTION ASSISTANTS

Maya Keeven (On Leave), Ahlia Moussa

ADVERTISING ASSISTANT

Johnnie Smart CIRCULATION MANAGER

Dexter Vosper

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR

Dennis Jangula

CREDIT MANAGER Shannon Li ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR

Tamara Robinson

ACCOUNTING CLERK Dillan Winn

The Georgia Straight is published every Thursday by the Vancouver Free Press Publishing SUBMISSIONS The Straight accepts no responsibility for, and will not Corp. Copies are distributed free every week throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, North necessarily respond to, any submitted materials. All submissions should be and West Vancouver, New Westminster, and Richmond. International Standard Serial addressed to contact@straight.com. Number ISSN 0709-8995. Subscription rates in Canada $182.00/52 issues (includes GST), $92.00/26 issues (includes GST); United States $379.00/52 issues, $205.00/ 26 issues; foreign $715.00/52 issues, $365.00/26 issues. Contact 604-730-7087 if you wish to distribute free copies of the Georgia Straight at your place of business. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Vancouver Free Press, Best Of Vancouver, BOV And Golden Plates Are Trade-Marks Of Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp.


HOUSING

            ÂšÂśĂ…ÂšÂśĂƒÊÀÆĂˆÂ˛ÂżĂ…Ă…Ă€à ÆĚĂ†Ă Ę ÂłÂşÂżÂľĘ ĂƒÂśĂ‡ÂśÂ˛Â˝Ă€ĂƒÂ´Ă€Ă‡ÂśĂƒĂ†Ă Ę ĂˆÂś¸ÀÅʲʋ This is an artist’s rendering of the future Vancouver Fire Hall 17, which is projected to have net-zero carbon emissions after it’s completed next year.

Zero-carbon buildings set the new standard

T

hree new Vancouver de- downtown office building at 1133– velopments are on the fore- 1155 Melville Street. It was subject front in the next evolution of to a rezoning application included green buildings. in the public-hearing agenda of city They’re part of a shift happening council on April 17 (result unknown in the way buildings are assessed for at press time). their environmental performance. The second is at West 8th AvIt’s no longer enough that a build- enue and Pine Street, and plans are ing is efficient in its energy use. A new not yet known. standard is whether a building has The third is a City of Vancouver net-zero carbon project to replace emissions. The zethe old Firehall ro-carbon measNo. 17 at 7070 ure was launched Knight Street. Carlito Pablo last year by the Craig Edwards Canada Green Building Council is manager of energy and utilities (CaGBC) as a response to climate with the city’s real-estate and facilichange. ties management. According to EdAccording to Mark Hutchinson, wards, the firehall produces about 33 vice president of CaGBC’s green- tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions building programs, it’s important to per year from gas and electricity. talk about carbon emissions in the The new building is projected to context of climate change. have net-zero carbon emissions. Its “Carbon or carbon-equivalent energy consumption will be reduced emissions are the cause of climate because the firehall will be designed change and therefore the measure that to Passive House standards, which we need to track against if we want to means a tight building envelope. It reduce climate change going forward,� will use electricity instead of gas for Hutchinson told the Georgia Straight its heating requirements. in a phone interview from Ottawa. Although it will be an all-electriClimate change has been linked to city building, Edwards noted that the buildup of greenhouse gases in the firehall will still have emissions Earth’s atmosphere due to the burning associated with its operations beof oil, coal, and natural gas for electri- cause seven percent of the energy city, heating, and transportation. generated by B.C. Hydro comes from CaGBC defines a net-zero-carbon nonrenewable sources. building as an energy-efficient strucTo offset these emissions, Edwards ture that also produces energy on- said, the firehall will have solar pansite or procures carbon-free energy els to produce energy that it can use to offset greenhouse-gas emissions and sell. resulting from its operations. “In the summer, it will produce “Today it’s not a question of having more energy than the building uses enough energy. We have enough nat- and it will go to the grid and basicural gas. We have enough electricity. ally use the grid as a battery,� EdWe have lots of choices, but we have wards told the Straight in a phone an environmental issue to address and interview. “And then it will use more that’s emissions,� Hutchinson said. energy than produced by the solar CaGBC’s two-year pilot for its panels in the winter, so the net effect zero-carbon building initiative in- will be zero.� volves 16 projects across Canada, According to Edwards, conand three of these are in Vancouver. struction of the new firehall starts One is a proposed 36-storey in mid-2019. -

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APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 9


Local technologies transform clean energy > B Y KATE WIL SON

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ast year, British Columbia experienced the worst forest-fire season on record. Ravaging an area equivalent to 2.3 million football fields, the flames forced more than 65,000 locals to evacuate their homes. When they returned, many found only charred piles of rubble. It’s hard to put the cost of climate change into human terms. Extreme weather, extended droughts, and devastating floods—all exacerbated by human-produced greenhouse gases—can seem insignificant to those unaffected. So far, Canada has remained largely untouched by the transforming conditions. That doesn’t mean, however, that the country is not responsible. Despite federal commitments to reduce Canada’s contributions to global warming, its greenhouse-gas output remains problematic. Last year, the Liberals failed to set targets for six major environmental policies, including zero-emissions-vehicle strategies, phasing out coal-fired electricity, and carbon taxes. Federal environment and sustainable-development commissioner Julie Gelfand gave a failing grade to 14 of the 19 government departments’ attempts to assess the impact of climate change—and then there’s the controversy surrounding the pipeline approvals. Perhaps more than any other province, though, B.C. is vocal about its opposition to fossil fuels. It’s also one of the best-placed locations for providing alternatives. Wind, solar, run-of-river, geothermal, large hydro, biomass, tidal, and wave power are all represented in British Columbia—often in unexpected ways. Vancouver’s Olympic Village, for instance, is entirely heated by pumping out the warmth from sewage. Wind power in the province now accounts for two percent of its electricity supply. Almost 90 percent

Scientists at Burnaby’s General Fusion are replicating the reactions inside the sun to create clean, renewable energy.

of B.C.’s power currently comes from hydroelectric sources. Statistics, however, tell only half the story. While energy-usage calculations measure how close the province is to hitting its climate targets, real change comes at the level of the individual. With renewable sources increasingly becoming available to consumers, residents are offered more choices to go green. That’s a concept upon which Terratek Energy, one of Metro Vancouver’s leading renewable-energy service providers, builds its business. THE RISE OF SOLAR POWER Terratek installs solar panels for electricity and heating in homes, companies, and institutions. Counting high-profile businesses including Mini Richmond, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and Sechelt’s St. Mary’s Hospital as clients, the organization offers a viable alternative to running solely on fossil fuels. So far, Terratek has reached hundreds of homeowners, more than 40 schools, and dozens of commercial clients.

NEW LISTING

Cofounder and principal Scott Fleenor got into the industry early on. Recognizing the pressures on carbonbased energy and the mounting evidence of its damage, he started the business to create a forward-thinking solution to protect the environment. Now his motivations have changed. As well as making a positive contribution to climate change, the real joy of his work, he says, is making Metro Vancouver residents happy. “Everyone has a story about why they’re putting up solar panels,” he tells the Georgia Straight on the line from his Vancouver office. “We see our clients as early adopters, and they care about the planet. If we can, we let the home or business’s owners turn their system on themselves. There was one woman in particular who still stands out to me. When we asked her to press the button, she was almost shaking—that’s how excited she was. You have to wait five minutes for the system to fire up. She was looking at the countdown timer,

saying that it felt like a year. But the moment it turned on, and you could see the energy production—one kilowatt, two kilowatts, three kilowatts— her eyes lit up. She was holding back tears. She just turned around and said, ‘Thank you.’ I said, ‘No. Thank you.’ ” Environmental motivations aren’t the only reason that companies and homeowners choose to install solar panels, Fleenor says. For many, it also makes good financial sense. During the past 20 years, B.C. Hydro’s energy has become 70 percent more expensive. If a building’s solar panels produced all of its own electricity—known in the business as being net zero—it would be unaffected by those rising rates. On top of that, some owners receive money back with the province’s net metering program, which lets individuals automatically sell surplus electricity to B.C. Hydro or Fortis B.C. for credit. If a solar system produces more energy than the home uses on Monday, for instance, that same amount of electricity will be available to withdraw from the

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NEW LISTING

1108 1068 WEST BROADWAY I $628,000 Stunning 180o city, mountain & water views Quality finishes throughout including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas range & laminate flooring

grid for free at a later date. In the event that the system produces more energy than it uses, and the utility company deems that the credits won’t be cashed in before the end of the year, owners will be paid out at just under 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. “Metro Vancouver is actually a great place to install solar panels,” Fleenor says. “Yes, we get rainy winters. But our harvest season really starts in April and ends at the beginning of October. During that time, we have our longest days. Our usable sunlight for energy during that period is, believe it or not, only eight percent less than Miami. Because Miami is closer to the equator, we get longer days in the northern latitude—up to 10 or 12 hours of sunlight during our peak periods. That’s where we catch up. If it’s wintertime and solar energy isn’t available that day, solarpanel owners can pull credits from the grid or use a little bit of hydro. But they’re able to capitalize on those peak periods later in the year.” Although Terratek was one of the first solar-panel companies to offer the service, it now faces competition from a number of similar local businesses. Vancouver Renewable Energy Cooperative, Penfolds Roofing & Solar, and Rikur Energy each provide parallel solutions—and the rate at which new solar organizations are entering the market highlights how much the demand for traditional renewables has grown. With its left-leaning populace and history of environmentalism, Metro Vancouver has proven receptive to more conventional alternative energies such as solar, wind, and hydro power. As the price drops and technology improves, all three forms are becoming more commonplace as both governments and consumers move away from carbon-based fuels. But while the region is seeing an uptick in tried-andtested renewables, it is also a hotbed of more experimental solutions.

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THE

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INNOVATION

Take, for instance, Burnaby’s General Fusion. Currently in the process of creating a safe, clean, and on-demand renewable energy, the company is translating an idea from science fiction into reality. By heating hydrogen atoms to extreme temperatures, General Fusion aims to replicate the reactions that happen inside the sun. “We’re trying to re-create the energy of a star here on Earth,” CEO Christofer Mowry tells the Straight by phone from his office. “We create energy in bursts—in pulses—and use it to make steam. The steam turns a turbine, and it makes electricity. By doing that, we can power 10,000 homes for a year with a single bucket of salt water.” General Fusion’s reactor works much like a diesel engine. In a diesel vehicle, air is compressed in the chamber by a piston. Fuel is then injected into the chamber, and when it meets the highly pressurized air, it ignites. As the fuel burns and expands, it pushes the piston back out. The company’s reactor operates in a similar way. Hydrogen gas is heated to five million degrees Celsius, and is injected into a chamber. Liquid metal surrounds the plasma, and is compressed by hundreds of pistons. That compression pushes the plasma to fusion conditions, heating up the liquid metal around it. The heat is then used to make electricity. In Mowry’s mind, harnessing fusion could be the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to making the switch to renewables. Currently, most clean energy comes from intermittent sources—meaning that if the wind isn’t blowing or clouds are covering the sun, no energy is being produced. Fusion, however, is available whenever it’s needed. “There are a lot of advantages,” he says. “Firstly, it’s carbon-free. It’s also safe. There’s no radioactive waste and it can’t melt down, unlike nuclear plants. Fusion is the densest form of energy that exists in the universe, so we don’t need a mountainside covered with wind turbines to light a city. We can do it with a very small power plant.

“On top of that, the fuel is water,” he continues. “Only a tiny amount is needed to power a plant for a year. Everyone has access to it. You don’t need uranium mines or pipelines. It’s great from an energy-security and also national-security perspective.” The technology is still in its infancy, but is advancing fast. The recent development of key tools like 3-D printing and high-speed computers has made it increasingly easy to manufacture complex machine parts and coordinate the 600 cylinders that power the reaction. Where previously fusion’s biggest challenge was the small amount of energy it produces—often less than it consumes to make the reaction—that is no longer the case. “I think people would say that the technologies today are good enough that we can break even,” Mowry says. “A big government program that they’re doing in France, for instance, creates more energy than it uses. The big challenge for us is to make it economical and to make it practical. We have to make cheap electricity, and it can’t be too expensive to build. “Now we need to put all the pieces together on a large scale,” he continues. “We’ve made a tool to inject the plasma [superheated hydrogen], we’ve created what’s essentially an engine block, and now we’re showing that they can work together. We’ve started a program to create a machine 70 percent of the size of a commercial power plant, and it will be used to prove the economics of what we’re doing. We’re aiming for our design to be commercially viable within the next decade.” For Mowry, locating General Fusion in Metro Vancouver has been a positive decision for the company. Initially chosen by the founder, Michel Laberge, who earned his PhD in laser fusion from the University of British Columbia, the setting has since become a hot spot for inventive energies. “This is the first time I’ve lived in the area, and I’m really pleasantly surprised by how active the community is,” Mowry says. “The local economy seems to be excellent for clean energy. I’m not sure why so many companies

have gathered here, but it’s obviously a great place to live and it’s easy to attract talent. We need the best and the brightest at what they do, and from that perspective it’s a great place to be. On top of that, we have the GLOBE Forum in Vancouver—North America’s largest summit on clean tech and sustainable energy—and TED is also here, which brings some excellent minds.” DIFFERENT APPROACHES Fusing atoms might be one way to make clean energy from hydrogen, but other local companies are reimagining how else the gas might fuel a green economy. As early as the 1900s—when the element was used to power streetlamps— scientists recognized hydrogen’s potential as a clean energy source. As well as being colourless, odourless, and nontoxic, when it burns or is used in a fuel cell, the only waste product is water. The gas is light, and—when extracted from water and hydrocarbons—abundant. During the past few years, it has been used to power everything from homes to cars and airplanes. Despite those small successes, though, commercial adoption has been held back by storage problems. Hydrogen is notoriously difficult to contain. The element, a gas at room temperature, must be compressed very tightly—usually to a pressure three times that of a scuba tank—to be housed in its natural state. In order to withstand that kind of stress, it requires an expensive carbon-fibre shell. Storing hydrogen as a liquid is similarly problematic. In order to force the gas to change its state, it must be cooled to -253 ° Celsius, making it very difficult to transport in a cost-effective manner. Metro Vancouver business Hydrogen in Motion, however, is working on a third way to contain the element. “We have a solid-state storage material for hydrogen,” Grace Quan, cofounder and CEO of the business, tells the Straight on the line from downtown Vancouver. “Instead of putting the gas inside an empty tank, we put something in the tank that attracts the hydrogen. We can then get a much higher density of the element in

a smaller space. It’s also under a much lower pressure, which brings down the costs to store and transport it. “It’s always been theoretically possible,” she continues, “but no one had made the material. On our team, we have a couple of theoretical physicists. We did some quantum modelling, built this substance at a quantum scale, and then synthesized it. It took many, many experiments.” Quan, who conceived the idea during a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, imagined a world in which she could run her dream car (a Jaguar) on hydrogen. With its new storage method, Hydrogen in Motion aims to make a costefficient technology that’s accessible to everyone. Quan pictured the gas being stored in small tanks that weigh less than 25 pounds and that could easily be swapped to power homes and vehicles. Now, the company has finalized a prototype of that vision. “Imagine a propane tank for your barbecue, but smaller and lighter,” she says. “It’s very intuitive: you just pop it into your car or lawn mower or electric bike or home generator. The model is to plug in and play, just like changing a pop bottle in a SodaStream. By storing hydrogen at high density rather than high pressure, you can create much more power in relation to the size of the tank, and it’s much safer.” Quan is thinking globally about the impact of her company’s creation. Prior to launching Hydrogen in Motion, the CEO worked for the Canadian International Development Agency, a federal-government organization established to support sustainability in developing countries. Seeing hydrogen as a fuel that could aid nations of all stripes, she envisions the technology lighting the 82 million homes in Africa that exist without electricity, or transporting crops from fields. Equally important to her and cofounder Mark Cannon, though, is reducing carbon use in western nations. “For cars especially, there are big advantages to running on hydrogen,” she says. “What the fuel-cell stack does is take the hydrogen and oxygen and run it through a catalyst. It’s a chemical

process—not what you currently have in your vehicle, which releases greenhouse gases through combustion. With the fuel-cell stack, all you produce as a waste product is water, and it’s silent as well. There are hydrogen vehicles out there right now, and they’re using high-pressure tanks. Our tanks will be much more efficient.” For Quan, establishing Hydrogen in Motion in Metro Vancouver was an obvious choice. A hub for hydrogen technology, the city boasts clean-tech giant Ballard Power Systems Inc.—one of the pioneers of the hydrogen-fuel world—as well as companies like Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation (HTEC), Loop Energy, and Hydra Energy, all of which are working on developing different parts of the hydrogen supply chain. “It’s a rich, rich area here in Vancouver,” she says. “Although hydrogenstorage experts are few and far between, the companies here have grown and shrunk and grown and shrunk and shed a lot of expertise into the ecosystem. As well as that, there’s a lot of collaboration. We’re talking to Ballard and other businesses about linking up the supply chain and combining our storage with their generation and fuel cells. We’re also working closely with local universities like UBC and SFU. “More than that, it’s a fantastic place to grow a clean-tech company generally,” she continues. “The city is so supportive. There are programs that allow companies to demonstrate their new technologies using city assets. B.C. investors who put money into our company get a 30-percent tax refund. And because we’re in clean tech, we have exemptions.” With the huge diversity of clean energy available to consumers, and with much more efficient methods currently in development, Quan believes that time is up for carbonbased fuels. “I believe that this is the way we change the world and get to a carbonfree economy,” she says. “I think hydrogen is the way. Now I’ve found the way to make it happen, and I’m in the place where I can do it.” -

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APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 11


straight stars > B Y R O SE MARCUS

T

April 19 to 25, 2018

hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never a dull moment in politics, or in the stars. On a rework-it program, Saturn has just begun retrograde; Pluto is about to do the same; and the sun now utilizes Taurus as its creative resource. The sun in Taurus puts even greater focus on issues to do with net worth and self-worth. Is it or are they worth our time, energy, and heart? Is it worth staying the course, or are there more fertile prospects to explore? Issues related to physical, material, and emotional well-being and actual survival and survivability continue as the main subjects du jour. Getting the goods, enhancing profit margins, making it look good/ look better: the next few weeks call for more investment. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better than average potential now. Better strides can be made. Chiron, the healing crisis archetype, is freshly on tour in the sign of Aries. No pain, no gain. This rip-the-Band-Aid-off transit will continue as a significant driving force for some time to come. Face it now or face it later. Chiron can extract a hefty price, but when it comes to the karmic journey, shortterm pain for long-term gain is a much better prospect. Venus in Gemini, starting next Tuesday, gets the money, the conversation, and the people moving. Next Wednesday, Mercury-square-Saturn hits strip it down and cut to the chase. Next Thursday, Mars-conjunct-Pluto ends a two-year â&#x20AC;&#x153;expand the scope/ set the game board upâ&#x20AC;? cycle. Harvesting a mix of rewards and consequences, the next two-year phase will put the finishing touches on a biggerpicture agenda that is slated for a ribbon-cut in 2020.



ARIES

March 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;April 19

Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s less to stop, restrict, or inhibit you and more incentive to draw from. On a fresh two-year initiative, Mars in Capricorn helps you take control, build it better, and net substantial results, especially regarding career and material aspirations. Monday/Tuesday are good for setting it in motion. Wednesday, strip it down; get straight to the point; make a sharp cut.



LEO

July 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;August 22

As of Thursday, the sun will shine a brighter light onto career, money, manifesting, and personal ambitions. On Tuesday, Venus enters Gemini, mobilizing matters pertaining to social involvements, communication tracks, and important paperwork. Overall, you should feel you are on a good move-along with both. Saturday, emotions can get the better of the day. Monday and Tuesday keep you or it on the upswing.



VIRGO



LIBRA



SCORPIO



SAGITTARIUS

August 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;September 22

The sun in Taurus, starting late Thursday, helps you gain on yourself and see through a fresh lens. Friday/Saturday, keep emotions on a ready dial-up. As best you can, try not to load yourself up with the extras or marginal. Concentrate on the essential priorities; skip the rest. Tuesday/Wednesday, get on it, push through it, then let it go. September 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;October 23

Have you been showing off a quicker-on-the-uptake/feistier side of late? Good. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an ideal time to test-drive a new you. The daily grind stays on a full-to-the-brim track for the rest of the month. Friday to Sunday, you can feel stretched, strained, spent, or triggered. Pull back as best you can. Monday/Tuesday, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on the upswing. October 23â&#x20AC;&#x201C;November 21

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s likely youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve hit a fast learning curve. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s likely thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been plenty of trial and error in the mix. You can expect the process to continue, but now with a shuffled deck, thanks to the stars on the move. The sun in Taurus, starting Thursday, and Venus in Gemini, starting Tuesday, provide something more tangible to work with. Next Thursday, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a wrap. November 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;December 21

You could take on more than you let on over the next few days. The moon in Cancer heightens your sensitivity to surroundings, moods, feelings, and whatever you ingest. Stay alert for reactive emotions or physical responses. Know your limits; keep tabs on your tolerance level. Sunday through Wednesday gets TAURUS something important out of the way. April 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;May 20 Monday/Tuesday, have the conversaThe sun enters Taurus late tion; set wheels in motion. Thursday and Venus continues in CAPRICORN your sign through Tuesday morning. December 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;January 19 Both help you make the most of what What a week it has been! you have to work with, especially through Saturday. Monday/Tuesday, While the emotional barometer discuss, plan, go scouting, get it up continues to stay high (at least and rolling. Wednesday, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more through Saturday), the sun in sorting out, streamlining, or effort Taurus, starting late Thursday, needed, but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let that stop you. helps you steady yourself and gain good ground. Monday through Spend the time; get the job done. Wednesday, get moving on it. Next GEMINI Thursday brings you to an importMay 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;June 21 ant decision or finish line, and/or Taurus month favours sets you onto something next. creative pursuits, soul-searching, AQUARIUS or spending more quality time on January 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;February 18 yourself and your loves. Through Aim to replenish body, Sunday, feel your way along; stay in your comfort zone. Monday and mind, and soul this weekend. Tuesday light a fresh spark. Sharp- Choose healthy as your first go-to. If ening your powers of observation you have work, chores, or projects to and persuasion, Venus begins a get at, keep it simple. Err on the side four-week tour of Gemini on Tues- of caution. Try not to bog yourself day. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll feel an energy boost at down unnecessarily. Sunday through all levels: physical, intellectual, and Tuesday, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll hit an energy, social, or creative upswing. Wednesday, activity- and opportunity wise. stick to the facts; streamline. CANCER June 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;July 22 PISCES Resist or reinvent: either February 18â&#x20AC;&#x201C;March 20 Friday/Saturday, a change way, risk is in the mix. Even so, know that the worthiest of poten- of pace does you good. Indulge tials stack up on one side of the yourself, enjoy time with your equation. Something fresh or new is lover or loved ones. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let anyyour best bet. Saturday can see you one pressure you. While emotions wrestle with yourself, it, or another. run the show and some of the stress Emotions stay on a ready trigger. from earlier in the week remains, Monday/Tuesday, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more to you are on the gain overall. Monday/ be gained. Wednesday, Mercury/ Tuesday, hit it full swing. Wednesday, cross it/them off the list. Saturn hit cut to the chase.











12 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 26 / 2018




FOOD

Pronto owner forges on with new Centro

L

amenting the loss of neighbourhood touchstones on a regular basis has, unfortunately, become part and parcel of living in Vancouver. Yet the story of one eatery swimming against this current offers encouragement. Due to redevelopment, owner Angela Maida had to shut down her seven-year-old Cambie Village restaurant, Pronto, and its neighbouring bar, Prontino, at 3473 Cambie Street on March 3. Fortunately, she already had a second spot in the works. Quietly, Centro opened in the West End at 1037 Denman Street on April Italian simplicity is key for Centro’s 6. In an interview at the premises menu, with items like Caprese salad. (formerly the location of Hub), Maida said she chose the approximately dining area from the bar but still 1,700-square-foot space, with seat- permits sightlines. ing for 59 patrons and an additional The name Centro (pronounced eight patio seats, after an extensive “chen-tro”) comes from something search throughout Vancouver. She Maida learned on her many travels was looking for an existing restaurant in Italy. While driving around there, to diminish the permit-wait time and she would always be looking for the a building that isn’t likely to be demol- black-and-white bull’s-eye-style sign ished—so, basically, a unicorn. in villages that denoted the city cenWhile Pronto was 1940s-in- tre, or centro. Because her new lospired, Centro jumps forward a few cation was downtown, she thought decades. The space it would be approevokes a stylepriate. savvy living room It’s more apt immaculately than she may have Craig Takeuchi preserved from anticipated. Sandthe 1970s. Because the building was wiched between the flourishing Asian built in 1971 as a bank branch, Maida noodle district near Robson Street and designer Scott Cohen decided to and the cluster of Middle Eastern and “respect the bones of the building”, southern European eateries approachwhich reflect the brutalist architec- ing English Bay, Italian pasta could not ture of the time. With the nearby be more fitting. departures of decades-old businesses As at Pronto, simplicity will rule like the Dover Arms Pub and Den- the roost for Centro’s menu, which, man Fitness, the retro theme re- similarly, features pasta, with an asserts the presence of the past amid everchanging array of specials. the rapid erasure of history. Most of the pasta (ranging from “So much has been taken from $18 to $24) is made by hand, including this community recently,” she noted. for the tagliatelle pomodoro, potato “It’s nice to be able to come in and gnocchi with creamy pesto, casarecce dress up a building and offer some- bolognese, and mafalde alla boscaiola. thing to the community.” Other mains include grilled luganica It also reminds Maida of growing fennel sausage served with tomato up in the 1970s in a traditional Ital- and rosemary potatoes ($22), and ian family in Winnipeg that she de- marinated grilled lamb loin chops, scribes as “hard-core immigrants”. served with charred corn, roasted Although back then she felt “morti- red pepper, and mint salsa ($24). As fied” by things like goats in their Maida wanted more small plates for basement while her father made his the cocktail bar, antipasti (from $6 own sausages, appreciation came to $25) include charred octopus with with adulthood. cannellini beans, prawns wrapped in “Things were pretty ethnic in my wild-boar pancetta,and Tuscan-influhouse…it was a little embarrassing,” enced fritto misto, or mixed seafood. she said, “but then as I grew older, Centro’s bar retains Prontino’s those were the things I loved.” cocktail specials, an Italian-focused Luckily for Vancouver diners, wine program, and its gin program. Maida translated that regard into ven- Also available are negronis, martinis, tures that balance classic and retro ele- vermouth (“to open your appetite”), ments with a keen eye on the future. and amari (which Maida said is an Reopened clerestory windows of- after-meal digestive). fer ambient lighting that illuminates Because she’s not into fanfare, the coffered ceiling, from which two Maida said there won’t be a grand mobiles of geometric forms are sus- opening, but they’ll continue to depended. The entire room is awash in velop things in preparation for the curves and rectangular forms, col- busy season, full of tourists, sun oured in gradients of muted, earthy seekers, and eventgoers searching tones. A variety of seating arrange- for the centre of the summertime ments offers a dynamic layout. A bank action. And so, it seems, Centro of two-seater booths, housed beneath appears well-positioned to become flowing arches, separates the main part of that. -

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FOOD

Croatia rebuilds its wine rep

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’ve just returned from my first trip to Croatia and I come bearing good news: Croatians make plenty of delicious wine! I was invited by the crew from Brač Island’s Stina Winery and the Wine Syndicate, their local importer, and I was accompanied by a small group of Vancouver-based retailers and sommeliers. Although I’ve never visited a global region knowing so little about it, I did have a bit of context to go on before my plane took off. I’d tasted a few of Stina’s wines before at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, and in 2016 they participated in Top Drop Plavac Mali Majstor Barrique and Stina Vancouver, the annual terroir-driven Cuvee White are two Croatian treats. wine event I cofounded a few years back. Granted, at that event I find international household names like myself running around ensuring that Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, everything is going to plan, so I didn’t Merlot, and Riesling. really get a chance to swirl, sniff, and Most of the wines I tasted on the sip with them. trip, which included those from Of course, they have an interest other wineries during visits and the in bringing a group like us over. We first-ever Dalmatian Wine Festival, are all storytellers in one way or an- offered a solid sense of place—and other, and it’s challenging to tell their what a place! story when we’ve all had such limThe most jaw-dropping setting we ited experience with Croatian wine. encountered was a mountainside of And with indigenous-grape-variety Stina’s steep trellised vineyards plantnames on their ed in crushed limelabels like Pošip, stone with high Plavac Mali, Maliron content. The vazija Istarska, plantings were PlaKurtis Kolt and Grk (that one’s vac Mali, a hearty not a typo!) not ringing any bells for red-grape variety loaded with dark most of us, this trip was like being in berry fruit that would easily please wine school all over again. fans of both Cabernet Sauvignon and There is a long history of wine- Syrah. Those southwest-facing vinegrowing in the country (we’re talk- yards have a stunning view of the ing more than 2,500 years), but con- Adriatic Sea, which provides breezy stant political fluctuations, battles, aromatics that meet those of the wild and wars over many years rendered oregano, mint, and thyme that grow in the industry into one that is sorely the area. It could be power of suggeslacking in consistency and cohesion. tion, but I felt I could discern some of Since the successful outcome of the those notes while tasting their wines Croatian War of Independence, the made from the variety, like Stina’s industry has been rebuilding with Plavac Mali Majstor 2011 ($62.99, many native grape varieties like B.C. Liquor Stores). The broad shoulthose mentioned above, along with dered red has opulent blackberry

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and pomegranate fruit, with a good dose of earthiness along with dusty thyme notes and a pinch of heat on the lengthy finish. A little more inland, at a higher but flatter elevation, was the winery’s Pošip vineyard, planted in a sea of chunky white rocks as far as the eye could see. (It felt as if we were on the moon.) So rocky, in fact, that special machinery had to be used years back to break up the rocks so vines could be planted in the first place. The Pošip variety sits somewhere between the characteristics of a Chardonnay and a Viognier, with plenty of apples, citrus, some nutty notes, and a good crack of minerality from all those stones. Stina’s Pošip 2015 ($52, Village Liquor Store) carries plenty of yellow apples, muddled lemon, young almond, and a gentle salinity. Although the price is up there, it’d be a perfect special-occasion wine to accompany a Dungeness-crab or spot-prawn feast. Another Croatian charmer I’ve tasted that should dovetail well with our West Coast seafood bounty is Coronica Malvazija 2014 from Istria ($38.99, Everything Wine), a pretty white overflowing with fresh-plucked jasmine, lemon blossom, fresh lime, and a little mandarin orange. To get a sense of Croatian terroir without breaking the bank, Stina has a 2015 Cuvée White blend of Pošip and Vugava (a similar indigenous white grape with a little more stone fruit), and a 2015 Cuvée Red blend of Plavac Mali, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot: a good slug of peppery purple fruit and fresh herbs. Both are at B.C. Liquor Stores for $19.49 a pop. Both Stina and Coronica will be among 36 other global producers at our next Top Drop Vancouver Main Event tasting on May 18, both with principals in attendance who can answer a hell of a lot more questions about Croatian wine than I can! For information and tickets, go to www.topdrop.ca/. -

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VANCOUVER OPERA FEST

For the record, BY JANET SM IT H

there is a new overcoat. When you are reimagining one of the country’s most beloved theatre works as an opera, it’s only fitting to reinvent its central costume piece—the flowing garment that drives the action and leads to one man’s downfall. “We thought, symbolically, that we should build a new coat,” reveals Morris Panych, the director and cocreator of the original, wordless movement play, The Overcoat, and now the librettist for The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring. Speaking to the Straight from Toronto, where the celebrated playwright now lives with his partner in life and art, set designer Ken MacDonald, he explains it’s only right to treat the opera as its own entity—a fact that came into focus as the piece premiered at the Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre this month. “A lot of the original Toronto cast came to see it and they loved it,” the former Vancouverite says. “What existed existed; you can’t make that go away. If people don’t like it, I hope they don’t like it for its own sake and not because it didn’t come up to the old one’s standards. I have a vision for this opera that goes beyond this country, and a lot of people beyond Canada didn’t see the original.” Panych likens adapting The Overcoat, itself adapted from Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 short story, to “turning it inside out” to become an opera. Out of the wordless silent-movie-like play come lyrics; out of a stylized movement piece once set to a recorded Dmitri Shostakovich soundtrack comes an opera set to an original score by Canadian composer James Rolfe.

Stitching up a new Overcoat

In The Overcoat: a musical tailoring, Geoffrey Sirett takes the role of the antihero (Dahlia Katz photo); below left, Morris Panych was part of the original team.

it further, Panych drew on Gogol’s story to alter some of the play’s scenes to better suit an operatic cast reduced For the Vancouver Opera Festival, librettist Morris Panych to 11 from the originand composer James Rolfe find the music in a hit play al’s 22; a grand ball beFor his part, Panych, well-known for works like came a card game, for example. Vigil and 7 Stories, says he thought The Overcoat In a separate phone interview, the Torontowas long done. After premiering here at the Van- based composer explains that the physicality of couver Playhouse in 1998, it had toured Canada The Overcoat’s language provided immediate inand seen several mountings, eventually becoming spiration. “Music loves to move. Anything that a 2001 TV movie. has a dance impulse to it is fun to write,” says “To put it together with that group of people was Rolfe, who has penned the music for other opera very personal thing,” he recalls of the work that he atic projects, like the Nova Scotia–set Beatrice created with physical-theatre expert Wendy Gor- Chancy and the fado-spiked Inês. “When he came ling, and that starred Peter Anderson as the anti- up with the original libretto, he was sure to build hero. “And Peter was really integral to that process. in a strong driving rhythm to the words as well.… So I kind of put it on the back burner.” He wants people to hear the words.” But during a 2014 workshop at Toronto’s TapRolfe had long heard about Panych and estry Opera that paired librettists with a rotating Gorling’s original Overcoat, but never saw it— group of composers, he started to seriously con- something that turned out to be a boon. sider The Overcoat’s possibilities for the sungThe physical momentum that runs through through form. “It has all the elements: comedy, the story’s multiple scenes means The Overcoat: tragedy, drama, a great main character,” he says. A Musical Tailoring doesn’t have traditional, exPanych says this even though he openly ad- tended arias, he explains. “The most operatic mits to reservations about opera. The acerbic thing about it would be the opera singers, but but good-humoured artist says he’s seen some there aren’t that many moments where you would good opera and “so much shitty opera”. Even say ‘Ah! That’s opera!’ ” at the Tapestry workshop, he describes himFittingly, the production will be taking place self as the odd man out: “I didn’t get opera, I in a more intimate venue than the art form’s didn’t get new music, I didn’t get atonal sounds. I usual 2,000-plus seaters—a scale, Rolfe hints, kept challenging the composers to come up with that might offer new possibilities for the pera song,” he says with a mordant laugh. (Don’t be forming arts’ priciest discipline. “In some reentirely fooled: Panych is well-acquainted with spects I’ve much preferred working in these opera; he directed a smashing Barber of Seville at smaller spaces, and having an opera performed Pacific Opera Victoria in 2016, for instance.) a few feet away from you. Something like this, For this workshop, Panych went back to the the Playhouse, at 800 seats, is a good way Russian source material and came up with a li- to show contemporary opera to Canadian bretto for Rolfe to put to music. As they developed audiences.”

THINGS TO DO

For all the departures, including a new lead (baritone Geoff rey Sirett), there are some clear ties to the old Overcoat. While Panych directs, Gorling is overseeing the choreography, and two of the original’s most physical actors, Colin Heath and Courtenay Stevens (who have since worked for Cirque du Soleil), will join the ensemble. “They’ve really brought a certain muscle to the show,” Panych says of a production that will clearly not be park-and-bark opera. Even though The Overcoat has taken a radically new form, Panych, who has staged many other works in the intervening years, still carries a fondness for the original play he created from scratch with his friends. It speaks to an era when Vancouver artists seemed able to make something magical out of thin air, a time long before Panych and MacDonald, and others, followed work to the Shaw and Stratford festivals. “My fondest memory of The Overcoat, and this is only in retrospect, was the day we started rehearsal and I came in and I played all the [Shostakovich] music, and I said, ‘Okay, we’re starting. We have nothing,’ ” he says. “And everyone turned white. I said, ‘We got three weeks!’ And it was the most intense moment.” Returning here for the second annual Vancouver Opera Festival, which cocommissioned it to showcase its Russian White Nights theme this year, is bringing all his longing for the West Coast back to the surface. “All of the associations are there, and all of our development,” says Panych, who will return here again with his play The Shoplifters next February at the Arts Club. “And it couldn’t be more perfect being in the Playhouse.” Vancouver Opera Festival presents The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring at the Vancouver Playhouse on April 28 and 29 and May 2, 4 to 6, and 9 to 12.

VANCOUVER OPERA FESTIVAL High five

Editor’s choice LOST RUSSIA Vancouver Opera Festival and Early Music Vancouver are preparing to transport you back to the elegant era of 1700s St. Petersburg, when its lavish opera house showed off the then Russian capital’s cultural riches to the rest of Europe. In the concert, sparkling soprano Karina Gauvin (shown here) will perform little-known arias from the era. Under the baton of Alexander Weimann and accompanied by his celebrated Pacific Baroque Orchestra, she’ll show the work of forgotten composers who deserve a place in history—many of whom infused their baroque and classical creations with Russian flair. Vancouver Opera and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra present Russian White Nights: Opera Arias From 18th Century St. Petersburg at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on May 6.

Five events at Vancouver Opera Fest you won’t want to miss

1

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (April 28 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza) One of Russia’s greatest silent films screens for free during openingday celebrations.

2

PROKOFIEV’S PETER AND THE WOLF (May 5 at the Vancouver Playhouse) Leslie Dala directs the family favourite in a kid-friendly concert.

3

REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL (May 4 and 6 at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre) A chamber musical tackles local homelessness with a chorus familiar with the streets.

4

A RUSSIAN SONGFEST (May 2 at the Vancouver Playhouse) Shostakovich, Mussorgsky, and other greats, sung by VO training grads.

5

A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO ANNA AKHMATOVA (April 28 at CBC Studio 700) The likes of Taverner and Prokofiev pay homage to the Russian poet.

In the news VANCOUVER OPERA FESTIVAL is hosting a series of free Opera Speaks events to complement the shows it’s staging from April 28 to May 6. The communityengagement series kicks off with Creating Collaborative Work Alongside Marginalized Communities, April 29 at 10 a.m. at SFU Woodward’s, a workshop led by the artistic team behind Requiem for a Lost Girl (pictured here) that explores collaborative art-making. May 2 at 5 p.m. at the Post at 750, a talk called Creating Opportunities for Women in Opera features a panel of industry experts. And the same evening, at 7 p.m., What Role Do the Arts Play in Addressing Homelessness happens at SFU Woodward’s, headlined by Billy Guinness and Rhoda Rosen of Chicago’s Red Line Service. -

APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 15


VANCOUVER OPERA FEST

Svetlana Aksenova and Konstantin Shushakov star in a very Russian Eugene Onegin (Emily Cooper photo); Jonathan Darlington conducts it in his last production as music director (Tim Matheson photo).

Darlington prepares to step into emeritus role Vancouver Opera’s long-time music director reflects on his career, the West Coast, and the Russian beauty that runs through Eugene Onegin

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> BY JA NET SM IT H

n his last production as music director of Vancouver Opera, conductor Jonathan Darlington finds himself immersed in all things Russian. For the second occasion in a decade here, he’s taking the podium for Eugene Onegin, by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky—but, this time, three of the four lead roles will be played by Russians. “It has a different flavour. It just feels right when they start singing,” the silver-maned conductor says, interviewed at VO headquarters on a break from rehearsal. Exuding the kind of enthusiasm that’s driven the hundreds of shows he’s directed from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre pit, he continues: “It’s a way of being and a way of knowing the piece from the inside, because they’ve been brought up with it almost since from

before they were born. It’s in their bloodstream—like an English person playing Elgar or something.” As he does for every production, here or in Europe, Asia, or Australia, Darlington has immersed himself in the source material for the opera, in this case a translation of Alexander Pushkin’s masterpiece by Vladimir Nabokov. And he can’t help but draw links to his own life these days, too: his eldest son married a Russian woman in February. Vancouver Opera Festival will also be saluting the modest maestro with an evening called From Russia With Love to Jonathan Darlington. In it, he’ll play his first instrument, the piano, accompanying mezzo Caroline Sproule in some Russian arias, and taking part in a six-hand keyboard piece with Leslie Dala and Kinza Tyrrell. After the fest, the institution’s musical leader of over 15 years will step

into the role of conductor emeritus. “I’ll have to grow a big white beard,” the British-born, Paris-based artist jokes, assuring the Straight he’ll return to conduct about one production a year (starting with next season’s Faust). “So I won’t lose contact with this company I love to bits. But, yeah, after nearly 20 years, you think, ‘Well, perhaps it would be good for everybody to have an injection of something new.’ ” Calling up a cellphone photo of his leggy youngest son, a 15-yearold dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet shown leaping into an impressive jêté, he adds fewer trips here will allow for more time with his wife and family in the French capital. DARLINGTON HAS FIRMLY held the baton during momentous change for both the city and the organization. His first gig here, conducting in 2001, led to

an instant invitation from then general director Jim Wright for Darlington to lead the orchestra. Maintaining his home base in Paris, and juggling work with far-flung organizations, from the Duisburg Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, he’s enjoyed his regular West Coast stints. The many highlights have ranged from conquering VO’s first punishing Der Rosenkavalier with finesse in 2004 to staging Tan Dun’s contemporary, culture-crossing Tea: A Mirror of Soul in 2013. (Hum “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, which he conducted during the VO’s brief foray into musical theatre this decade, and you might detect a wince.) Vancouver, a new city on the edge of the Pacific, is a different world from where the multilingual maestro often conducts—historic European capitals that house opera in storied monuments like the Palais Garnier and the Semperoper Dresden. But he loves it here. He even bikes to rehearsals at VO’s East Side headquarters from downtown, conducting rehearsals in his Gore-Tex jacket. “I don’t mind whether it’s rain, sunshine, snow. I kind of like it when it’s really pouring with rain—like last night, when I came out of here, and it was just pouring. It was rather fun!” When you’re inside a theatre or rehearsal hall, he says, “It’s the same the world over. You get international singers coming through and basically the work is the same wherever you are. But I love coming here, because where else can you get a view like this? On a good day, of course. You have the ocean, the mountains, you have wonderful people, a very committed company, talent across the board. So why wouldn’t one want to come here? And as I said, I’m very eclectic; I sort of need all this stuff.” REFLECTING ON HIS career, Darlington admits candidly that opera wasn’t his first love. Born in Lapworth, near Birmingham, he spent much of his early career as a pianist, eventually becoming a chamber musician and répétiteur. He began accompanying opera singers regularly, and by his late 20s found himself drawn to the form. He made his conducting debut in 1984, eventually becoming deputy to

16 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018

the music director at the Paris Opera in the early ’90s. Of opera, he says: “I love being in the theatre, I love the atmosphere of the theatre, I love working with singers, I love working with every side of it, the technical and everything that goes into putting this thing on-stage. And I love going into this fairy-tale world.” Audiences here and elsewhere have long appreciated Darlington’s musical artistry and depth. For Eugene Onegin, he’s digging into Tchaikovsky’s delicate balance between the classical and the romantic. His standards are high and his vision is clear, but his approach with his artists is consistently gentle and reassuring. “I just want them to feel relaxed and at ease with what they’re doing—because we all know that if you’re tense and uptight about something, then you don’t give it your best,” he explains. “A singer is very exposed, very naked on-stage, and if the conductor is not helping, then you really are alone! That’s the only thing they’ve got.” You see that approach—and his sense of humour—when Darlington returns to the VO rehearsal studio. The knockout young Bolshoi-trained baritone Konstantin Shushakov is filling the room with Eugene Onegin’s tormented final-act singing. The conductor sits on a raised chair by a grand piano, guiding the singer with his hands, creating graceful curlicues in the air as the tenor rises to a huge end note. When the scene is over, and silence falls, Darlington deadpans, “Well, I think you have a future,” and the room breaks into laughter. Even after several decades of work for companies big and small, Darlington says he is still growing from creative processes like these. “Every rehearsal, every performance I learn something, and I think even when one is 90 years old you’re still learning how to do that,” he says with a smile. “I don’t think change is a negative thing. You have to look forward and you have to be passionate and positive.” Vancouver Opera Festival presents Eugene Onegin at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 29, May 3, and May 5, and From Russia With Love to Jonathan Darlington at the Vancouver Playhouse on May 1.


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20 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 26 / 2018


ARTS

At Art! Vancouver’s huge exhibition, Petra Giffard will be showing works like North Van IV, which interpret her new natural surroundings. Patrick Green photo.

British painter captures her Vancouver transition > BY L UC Y LA U

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Drawing inspiration from B.C.’s natural environment, Giffard experiments with multiple hues in each piece—often letting one colour drip into the other—creating calming vistas that blend together mountains, land, and ocean. A West End resident who commutes regularly to her 9-to5 at the Polygon Gallery, Giffard says she’s “captivated” by the view of the city’s downtown core from the SeaBus. “I feel like every time I think I’m done with that particular scene, the weather or the lighting changes,” the artist explains, “and I get inspired again to do something different.” At the third annual Art! Vancouver, Western Canada’s only international fine-arts fair, Giffard will be showcasing 27 paintings. During the four-day fete, which will feature works from over 70 local and international artists and galleries, she’ll also be conducting a workshop in which she’ll teach budding artists the basics of acrylic painting. Attendees will leave the session with their own depiction of a heron. “When I first started painting over here, I was really inspired by all the birds and nature in Stanley Park and the heron really captivated me,” notes Giffard. As for her “Vancouver Series”, Giffard hopes that her canvases will strike a chord with locals. “Although they’re quite abstract, I feel like you can identify these important landscapes in them,” she says of her works. “So, hopefully, people can connect and that emotional reaction to the landscape will resonate with people.” -

wash in tones of blue, white, yellow, and millennial pink, the scenes depicted in Petra Giffard’s canvases aren’t immediately discernible to the naked eye. But take a step back, cock your head to the side—for that serious-museumgoer look, of course—and peer closely, and you’ll be able to make out Vancouver’s skyscraper-studded skyline, the majestic North Shore mountains, and the calm water that lies between. Giffard produced these impressionistic paintings, which are presented as part of a collection titled “The Vancouver Series”, as a way of acquainting herself with new surroundings following a move from her hometown of Brighton, England, to Vancouver last fall. “It’s a physical and emotional response to arriving here, not really knowing anybody, not really knowing Vancouver,” the artist tells the Straight by phone. “And just sort of exploring and developing in confidence both in my artwork and as a person as well.” Although Giffard has always had a passion for painting, the British artist studied psychology before becoming an art teacher. For more than a decade, she taught high-schoolers mediums such as photography, sculpture, and textiles, but it wasn’t until a job opportunity led her and her partner to Vancouver that she began pursuing painting more seriously. “Teaching is an amazing career and I loved it,” she says. “But…you don’t have much time to think about yourself; it’s always about the students. So I think this has been a really interesting opportunity Art! Vancouver takes place from to go back to me and my paintings, Thursday to Sunday (April 19 to 22) at the Vancouver Convention Centre. my practice, and my emotions.”

2

SARAH CHANG WITH

THE VSO

More highlights from Art! Vancouver happenings

With 70-plus artists and galleries from at home and abroad to explore, Art! Vancouver—Western Canada’s only international fine-arts fair—offers a slew of visual delights for the casual visitor and the sophisticated art connoisseur. To help you get the most out of the fest, we’ve highlighted two exhibitors to look for below, plus an off-site event that gets the local art scene in on the action.

GALERIE FLEDERMAUS Restaurateur Jerry Suqi is best known as the mind behind Chicago eateries such as Narcisse, Sugar, and, more recently, Chickpea and Jam, but the entrepreneur has an interest in art, too. In 2013, he conducted a pop-up gallery in the Windy City before launching his own space, Galerie Fledermaus. Now, he’s bringing his diverse collection of art nouveau and contemporary symbolist works to Vancouver for the first time. Keep your eyes peeled for a range of Gustav Klimt collotypes; in fact, Suqi claims that he owns more Klimt than his home city’s fabled Art Institute.

SATURDAY & MONDAY APRIL 28 & 30

8PM, ORPHEUM THEATRE

Constantin Trinks conductor

Sarah Chang violin*

DOROTHY GRANT Renowned for crafting garments that reflect and cele-

WAGNER Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor* SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, The Great

VANCOUVER GALLERY CRAWL For the first time, Art! Vancouver is

Sarah Chang is one of the most dynamic and scintillating performers in the classical world today. She performs the popular Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, her recording of which was named to Gramophone magazine’s list of the top 250 classical records of all time. Schubert’s majestic Symphony No. 9 in many ways ushered in the Romantic era, and is Schubert’s defining work for orchestra as well as one of the most impressive pieces of music that you can hear in live performance.

brate her Haida heritage, fashion designer and Order of Canada recipient Dorothy Grant will be showcasing a selection of handmade attire that runs the gamut from coats decorated with traditional Chilkat designs to scarves and frocks printed with the Haida symbol of the Raven. stretching its boundaries beyond the Vancouver Convention Centre walls to organize the Vancouver Gallery Crawl. From April 20 to 22, locals will be able to visit more than 40 galleries, including South Granville’s Chali-Rosso Gallery, Mount Pleasant’s grunt gallery, and Whistler’s Audain Art Museum, for free. A number will also be conducting special events and tours throughout the weekend. To see a full list of participating galleries, visit artvancouver.net/. > LUCY LAU

PRE-CONCERT TALK 7:05PM, FREE TO TICKETHOLDERS.

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APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 21


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ARTS

VANCOUVER BACH CHOIR MEETS

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TICKETS & INFO: VANCOUVERBACHCHOIR.COM I 604 822 2697

Tapestry International Celebration of Women’s Choirs

MAY 4-5, 2018 FEATURING

CHORAL THREADS

ELEKTRA WOMEN’S CHOIR Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director

7:30 pm, Friday, May 4 St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church, 1490 Nanton Ave, Vancouver

FRISCHES EI (Japan) Mariko Miura, Artistic Director

FREE ADMISSION

GARDABAER WOMEN’S CHOIR (Iceland) Ingibjörg Guðjónsdóttir, Artistic Director

CELEBRATION CONCERT 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 5

VOX FEMINA LOS ANGELES (United States) Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St, Vancouver Tickets available through Iris Levine, Artistic Director SEASON MEDIA SPONSOR

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25

CHOR LEONI A 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

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22 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018

> B Y A LE XAN DER VAR TY

H

e’s one of the greatest living interpreters of the classical and romantic piano repertoire, and enough of a scholar that he’s completing a doctorate in the philosophy of music, but it’s not art or aesthetics that we want to ask Rafal Blechacz about when we reach him following an afternoon concert in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s money. More specifically, what does one do when an unexpected US$300,000 suddenly lands in your lap? In 2014, Blechacz was the winner of the Gilmore Artist Award, given every four years to an outstanding concert pianist. With it came US$50,000 with no strings attached, and a further quarter-million earmarked for “artistic development”. Naturally, we wanted to know just how that sum was spent, but the prudent pianist happily confesses that, so far, it remains in the bank. “I’m still considering different options,” Blechacz says, his fluent English marked by a light Polish accent. “Probably I will buy a new piano—a Steinway Model D, the concert piano, because now in my house I have a Model B. It’s also a very good piano, but it’s not a typical concert Steinway, so it would be very nice to have that.” He adds that the Model D has expressive possibilities his current instrument just can’t match. “The sound is much bigger,” he explains. “You can reach some different colours and shapes of sound, which is very important in Debussy and other French music, but also in Chopin.” Blechacz is no stranger to winning. His career was effectively launched in 2005, when he took top honours at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, impressing the judges so comprehensively that no second prize was awarded. His technique has only improved since then— and so, he says, has his understanding of the interplay between music, performer, and listener.

Erick Lichte

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

chorleoni.org

Rafal Blechacz is able to mesmerize an audience. Felix Broede photo.

“The relation between the artist and the audience is very important, especially when you play some metaphysical pieces, like Bach’s music or Chopin compositions like the Fantasy on Polish Airs or the late mazurkas,” he explains. “I remember the situation when I played a few years ago in Hamburg, in Germany. I performed Chopin’s Mazurkas, Op. 17, and the last mazurka is very special, because the last chord in it is played pianissimo, very quiet, and when I finished it I realized that the audience was fully in silence. It was like they’d been hypnotized; they didn’t applaud. And I realized that this was the greatest reward for me, because I sat and I knew that all the people in the concert hall were in my musical world, which was created at that moment.” This doesn’t mean you should hold your applause when Blechacz plays Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, and of course Frédéric Chopin at his Vancouver Chopin Society–sponsored recital this weekend. But if you’re that way inclined, he won’t mind. “It’s not always like that; you cannot plan it,” the pianist says. “But when it happens, it’s very special.” The Vancouver Chopin Society presents Rafal Blechacz at the Vancouver Playhouse on Sunday (April 22).

Third Coast wields mountains of metal > B Y A LE XAN DER VAR TY

Adults: $35 | Senior: $30 senior (65 and over) | Students $15 (with valid ID)

SECTION A $40 | SECTION B $35 | SECTION C $30 | SECTION D $25 | STUDENTS WITH ID $10

Piano star Blechacz sets sights on new Steinway

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So she has been a mentor and a guiding force for us for a long time.” Connors laughs, and adds that this close relationship made him especially happy when Thomas first proposed Resounding Earth to the band, especially as the piece goes beyond the marimbas, xylophones, and vibraphones that are its concert mainstays. “Augusta has always been attracted to the characteristic sound of a bell: a sharp attack, and then a long, long ring,” he explains. “She incorporates that into her orchestral music, her chamber music.…She has been thinking of a significant work that was written for bells, just resonant pieces of metal from all over the world, for a long time—and she actually approached us with this idea. We, of course, jumped at the opportunity, and it resulted in Resounding Earth, which is roughly half an hour long, in four movements. The unique instruments it features include Japanese temple bowls—sometimes they’re called singing bowls, or rin. You can strike them and they’ll sound like a beautiful bell, but you can also rub along the outside of the bowl and it can create a humming, singing sustain. That’s incredible for us, as percussionists, because so much of your life is you hit something, and there’s an immediate attack, and then the sound is pretty much gone. ” At times cacophonous, at times meditative, Resounding Earth is a thorough test of Third Coast’s creative powers—and percussion music like you’ve never heard before. -

ress material for Third Coast Percussion’s Vancouver debut indicates that its performance of Augusta Read Thomas’s Resounding Earth will involve the use of 125 bells from around the globe, but that’s old news. According to band member and technical director Sean Connors, the Chicago-based quartet’s musical arsenal has grown since the work premiered in 2012. “There’s actually over 300 pieces of resonant metal on-stage,” Connors says in a telephone interview from Third Coast’s Windy City studio. “There’s gongs and cymbals and things that people would identify as instruments right away, but then there are also found objects—things that people might not necessarily think of as a bell or as a musical instrument, like tuned metal pipes or resonant metal fixtures that are used for electrical conduits.” While Third Coast Percussion will also perform music by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and its hometown friend Glenn Kotche, who’s better known as the drummer with the rock band Wilco, the group would hardly exist without Thomas’s hands-on input. “We have a very deep professional and personal connection with Augusta, who we fondly refer to as Gusty,” Connors confides. “We approached her when we were first figuring out what it meant to be a professional chamber group, and she asked questions like ‘Are you a not-for-profit? Have you written grants? Do you have 501(c)(3) tax-code status?’ And we just looked at Vancouver New Music presents Third her wide-eyed and said, ‘Oh my gosh, Coast Percussion at the Orpheum we don’t know what any of this means!’ Annex on Saturday (April 21).


ARTS

Dorrance Dance taps artful new possibilities D ANC E DORRANCE DANCE A DanceHouse presentation. At the Vancouver Playhouse on Friday, April 13. No remaining performances

Program 3 P

No matter your experience with

2 tap dancing, you’re likely to be

blown away by what New York City’s Dorrance Dance pulls off while it pummels the stage. If your most recent brush with the form was an episode of America’s Got Talent or the last time Tap Dogs hot-footed it into town, you’ll be exhilarated by the sheer diversity of styles displayed by Michelle Dorrance’s rainbow nation of virtuosic hoofers here. The celebrated choreographer sends them sliding and scraping across the floor like the world’s coolest curlers, hoists them up on their toes, leans them perilously off-balance, and literally stands them on their heads. Within that, you’ve got the individual spice of each distinct dancer; no cookie-cutter corps here. There’s the wonderfully wonky Warren Craft, whose Jell-O limbs splay and slip underneath him, even as he’s ripping through richly rhythmic taps. There’s Leonardo Sandoval’s intricate “in the pocket” rhythmic footwork. And there’s Dorrance’s own loose style, with fierce eyes and leggy fireworks. If, on the other hand, you have a love of the form, you’ll marvel at the way Dorrance both pays tribute to tap’s roots and takes it in bold, new collaborative and conceptualcontemporary directions. Each of the three pieces on this mixed program is like a work of art—in the least pretentious way possible— that led to nonstop whooping from the audience all night. The program opens with the beautifully boozy Jungle Blues, the dancers decked out in vintage street clothes and the Jelly Roll Morton jazz score evoking an oldstyle New Orleans speakeasy. On one hand it’s an ode to classic tap roots, but Dorrance lovingly sends it gawkily and playfully off-kilter, as one dancer pretends to take repeated swigs from a flask. Three to One is starker and more conceptual, a spotlight at first catching only Dorrance’s white tap shoes against the bare feet of Byron Tittle and Matthew “Megawatt” West on either side of her. Set to the brooding electro of Aphex Twin and Thom Yorke, it plays the

BEGINNING G AFTER Cayetano Soto New Work Emily Molnar Bill S Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar

Ma ay 10 11 12 Queen Elizabeth Theatre balletbc.com

Byron Tittle busts a move, melding tap and hip-hop. Matthew Murphy photo.

two men’s silent movement and her percussive footwork off each other and off the alternately chiming and subtly skittering beats of the music. Intense and emotional, it becomes something much more than a physical study, as Dorrance breaks out alone, long hair f lailing as she struggles to dance in, and finally disappears into, the darkness. These short pieces give way to the controlled chaos of Myelination, a sprawling, but utterly thrilling, exploration of the physical potential of tap, its relationship to jazz, and the ways it can interact with hip-hop and breaking. A live band plays original music—featuring piano, drums, bass, and, intermittently, clarinet, with vocals by the talented Aaron Marcellus— composed by Gregory Richardson and the choreographer’s brother, Donovan Dorrance. The dancers move across the floor in myriad ways, repeating and adding percussively to the complex musical patterns. Dancers pair off, break into improvisational solos, and even drop to the ground to show their hip-hop skills. Amid all this, the dancer Craft might suddenly strap on an electric guitar to join the band, or powerhouse B-girl Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie might start spinning in floorwork around a tap dancer. Those random touches, interspersed with complex syncopated corps work and the improv sequences, built a momentum that had the audience jumping out of its seats for an extended ovation at the end. DanceHouse was celebrating its 10th anniversary, and it couldn’t have programmed a better on-stage party— one that managed to be thrillingly accessible while still boasting serious contemporary-dance chops.

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DANCER CHR RISTOPH VON RIEDEMANN. PHOTO MICHAEL SLOBODIAN.

> JANET SMITH

THE OCTOPUS EATS ITS OWN LEG FINAL WEEKS

Until May 6, 2018 Advance Tickets murakami.vanartgallery.bc.ca Major Sponsors

Brian and Andrea Hill

Supporting Sponsor

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and curated by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator Takashi Murakami, Klein’s Pot A, 1994–97 (detail), acrylic on canvas mounted on board in plexiglass box, 39 x 39 x 8.5 cm, Colección Pérez Simón, Mexico, © 1994–97 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved

APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 23


ARTS

Andrew McNee is author Paul Sheldon and Lucia Frangione is obsessed fan Annie Wilkes in Misery, based on the Stephen King novel. David Cooper photo.

Laughs don’t diffuse the tension in Misery NINE DRAGONS

T HEAT RE MISERY By William Goldman. Based on the novel by Stephen King. Directed by Rachel Ditor. An Arts Club Theatre Company production. At the Granville Island Stage on Wednesday, April 11. Continues until May 5

“I’m your number one fan.” This is the first thing former nurse Annie Wilkes (Lucia Frangione) says to famed writer Paul Sheldon (Andrew McNee) as he’s waking up four days after a car accident that nearly claimed his life. But he doesn’t wake up in hospital; instead, Paul wakes up in Annie’s house, his legs in makeshift splints as if he’s a bird with a busted wing rather than a man with immobilizing fractures. At first, Paul is grateful to be alive, but soon he realizes that he’s not so much saved as he is captive, and Annie’s obsession with him isn’t flattering but probably fatal. Academy Award–winning writer William Goldman scripted the acclaimed film version of Misery (Kathy Bates, James Caan), based on Stephen King’s book of the same name, and then Goldman adapted his screenplay for the stage. For the most part, it works. At the heart of this thriller is dark humour, and there are some genuinely laugh-outloud moments amid the macabre. The humour doesn’t diffuse the tension; if anything, it amplifies the danger because Paul and the audience quickly realize that Annie is utterly unpredictable and not above using God to help justify her torture of Paul. The first instance of this behaviour is the most grim: to punish Paul for something, she pours out his clean water, replaces it with brown water from the gross mop bucket, and drops his pain pills inside. If he wants any relief, he’ll have to drink the gross water, and this humiliation is next-level abuse. In Goldman’s adaptation from screen to stage, he could have seen fit to trim a few minutes off of the first act, which just feels a bit long. But even a few sagging moments in Act 1 can’t diminish the magic between Frangione and McNee. This production of Misery has been on tour and only now is making its Granville Island Stage debut, but nothing feels phoned-in at all. McNee holds fast to Paul’s ego—even though he’s been on the receiving end of Annie’s abuse, he still longs to hear how much she loves his writing, and therefore worships him. McNee also gets a chance to show off some great physical drama and comedy chops. But in the same way that Misery the film belonged to Kathy Bates, this production of Misery belongs to Frangione. Her Annie is volatile and disarming, homicidal and smart, a “determined woman” who will hobble a man if that’s what it takes to get him to stay. It speaks to a combination of Frangione’s masterful performance and King and Goldman’s rendering of Annie Wilkes that there are any conflicted feelings about the outcome of the chilling and bloody final confrontation.

2 SAT APR 28 2018 / 8PM

Circa: Opus “This Shostakovich-meets-the-circus show is sexy, fierce and astonishing” - The Telegraph

CHAN CENTRE AT UBC

Tickets and info at chancentre.com

60

Paula Kremer, Artistic Director

KANTATEFEIER! A CANTATA CELEBRATION VCS celebrates 60 years with J.S. Bach

Saturday, May 12 2018 7:30pm Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St Vancouver

For more information and tickets: vancouvercantatasingers.com or 604-730-8856 24 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018

> ANDREA WARNER

By Jovanni Sy. Directed by Craig Hall. Produced by Gateway Theatre. At the Gateway Theatre on Sunday, April 15. Continues until April 21

There’s a Chinese folk tale

2 about Wu Gang, who is cursed

by the gods to endlessly attempt to chop down an osmanthus tree. The tree heals itself with every axe stroke. Wu Gang’s labour is never finished. In Nine Dragons, Sgt. Tommy Lam (John Ng) compares himself to this mythic figure. It’s 1924, and Tommy has been policing the streets of Hong Kong’s Kowloon district since the turn of the century. He’s got the best record of any cop in the city, but he’s been repeatedly overlooked for promotions and accolades in favour of his white colleagues. Tommy’s latest toil is the hunt for a serial killer who has a nasty proclivity for severing his victims’ hands and tongues. Along the way, Tommy is tormented by his British superiors and hectored by his lover, the local coroner (Natascha Girgis). His investigation takes him to the titular nightclub, where he interviews Victor Fung (Daniel Chen), the Anglophile son of a wealthy businessman. As events conspire against him, we watch Tommy confront his past and, eventually, the fraying edges of his own moral code. In its bones, Nine Dragons is a straight-ahead noir thriller. The script relies on familiar tropes—crooning nightclub singers, corrupt institutions, and bloody interrogations. The production follows suit, with director Craig Hall and the performers making conventional choices in the staging and their performances. I’d hoped the production might have taken more opportunities to subvert this familiar genre, as the Electric Company Theatre’s Tear the Curtain did a few years ago. The one exception to these conservative decisions was Jamie Nesbitt’s lively projections, which washed across Scott Reid’s muted set. They served many purposes—easing transitions and narration, depicting offscreen action, and enhancing the potboiler atmosphere. While they’re a natural fit for such a cinematic genre, they didn’t necessarily jell with the rest of the production. Set against the naturalistic staging and costumes, they felt like a very stylish add-on. Nine Dragons is a play about identity. In his essay about the show, playwright Jovanni Sy writes that, in Victor and Tommy, he sought to “dramatize the decision most marginalized people face: assimilate (often through erasing essential aspects of oneself) or be relegated to secondary status”. In this way, the play surpasses its conventional noir mode. The racism—both coarse and subtle—that Tommy endures at the hands of his colonial bosses felt very relevant to 2018. So, too, did a Hong Kong awash in illegal opioids. About 10 percent of Nine Dragons is in Cantonese, with the English translations projected on the set. For the performance I attended, the English dialogue was also simultaneously translated via surtitles into traditional Chinese. This bilingual dialectic felt very appropriate for a play that’s all about cultures colliding. > DARREN BAREFOOT


ar ts

+ events/

t imeout THEATRE MUSIC COMEDY LITERARY EVENTS ET CETERA GALLERIES MUSEUMS

< < < < < < <

THEATRE 2OPENINGS MÉTIS MUTT Performance piece uses standup comedy, original songs, storytelling, and multi-character vignettes to share the journey of a young Métis man who pulls himself out of a destructive cycle to carve out a creative life for himself. Apr 25–May 5, Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova). Tix from $20, info www.firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/ metis-mutt/. THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD (BASED ON BANALITIES) Starting from run-ofthe-mill situations and objects, a young man embarks on a quirky voyage through his mother’s past, and that of the world. Apr 25–May 5, 8 pm, York Theatre (639 Commercial). Tix from $22, info thecultch.com/.

2ONGOING CHELSEA HOTEL: THE SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN Tracey Power’s homage to the legendary Canadian poet and singer-songwriter, in which six performers play new arrangements of his songs on 17 different instruments. To Apr 21, Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova). Tix from $25, info www.firehallartscentre.ca/.

STARTS next week!

THE HUMANS The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Stephen Karam’s portrait of an ordinary family at odds with itself and the uncertainties of life in a changing America. To Apr 22, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville). Tix from $29, info artsclub.com/ shows/2017-2018/the-humans/. MISERY The Arts Club Theatre Company presents William Goldman’s thriller, based on the novel by Stephen King. To May 5, Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston, Granville Island). Tix from $29, info artsclub.com/shows/2017-2018/misery/. INCIDENT AT VICHY Theatre in the Raw presents Arthur Miller’s drama about persecution and racism in France during the early days of the Second World War. To Apr 22, 8-3:30 pm, Studio 16 (1555 W. 7th). Tix $25/22, info www.theatreintheraw.ca/. ME AND YOU The Arts Club presents Melody Anderson’s comedy about sibling rivalry. To May 6, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre (162 W. 1st). Info www.artsclub.com/. NINE DRAGONS Gateway Theatre presents artistic director Jovanni Sy’s crime drama set in 1924 Kowloon. To Apr 21, 8 pm, Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Rd., Richmond). Info www.gateway theatre.com/. WORLD WITHOUT US Ontroerend Goed brings a new piece about the end of humanity and what comes after. Apr 17-29, 8 pm, The Cultch (1895 Venables). Tix from $22, info thecultch.com/.

Day-time Box Office: 1895 Venables St. Photo: Phile Deprez

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604.251.1363

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APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 25


MOVIES Arts time out

from previous page

THE EXPLANATION James Fagan Taitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chamber play is a playful exploration of the fluidity of gender and sexual identity. Apr 17-29, 8 pm, Vancity Culture Lab (the Cultch, 1895 Venables). Tix $27, info thecultch.com/events/the-explanation/.

MUSIC 2THIS WEEK ELEKTRA Performances of Richard Straussâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work, â&#x20AC;&#x153;the first Freudian operaâ&#x20AC;?. Apr 19-20, 7:30 pm, Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour). Info www.heroicopera.com/. LIGHT TRANSFORMING: CHORAL EXPLORATIONS II The Vancouver Chamber Choir presents music by Rautavaara, Rheinberger, Soderqvist, Whitacre, Archer, Saint-SaĂŤns, Elgar, Kuula, and Knudson. Apr 20, 8-10 pm, Dunbar Ryerson United Church (2205 W. 45th). Tix at www.ticketmaster.ca/. WAR AND PEACE: THE TALLIS SCHOLARS Early Music Vancouver presents a program commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. Apr 21, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (UBC). Info www.earlymusic.bc.ca/.

THIRD COAST PERCUSSION Vancouver New Music presents the American percussion ensemble in a program of works by Augusta Read Thomas, Steve Reich, and Glenn Kotche. Apr 21, 8 pm, Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour). Tix $12-35, info www.newmusic.org/. RAFAL BLECHACZ The Vancouver Chopin Society celebrates its 20th anniversary with a gala performance by the Polish pianist. Apr 22, 3 pm, Vancouver Playhouse Recital Hall (601 Cambie). Tix $15-$49, info chopinsociety.org/.

COMEDY

based poetry, singer-songwriters, and improvisers. Apr 19-29, various Vancouver venues. Info www.versesfestival.ca/.

MUSEUMS

ET CETERA 2THIS WEEK ART! VANCOUVER Western Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest international art show features a runway show, after-parties, speakers, and workshops. Apr 19-22, Vancouver Convention Centre East (999 Canada Place). Info www.artvancouver.net/.

THE COMEDY MIX 1015 Burrard, Century Plaza Hotel & Spa, 604-684-5050, www. thecomedymix.com/. Comedy club with pro-am night Tue at 8:30 pm, showcase Wed at 8:30 pm, and featured headliners Thu at 8:30 pm and Fri-Sat at 8 and 10:30 pm. 2ADAM RAY Apr 19-21

EXPERIENCE VCC An afternoon of free presentations, demonstrations, and entertainment. Browse 120+ programs, explore the campus, meet students, and talk to instructors about programs in arts, sciences, certified trades, university transfer, and more. Apr 25, 3-6 pm, VCC King Edward Campus (1155 E. Broadway). Free and open to the public, info www.vcc.ca/ applying/apply-now/info-sessionstours/ experience-vcc/.

LITERARY EVENTS

GALLERIES

2THIS WEEK

VANCOUVER ART GALLERY 750 Hornby, 604-662-4719, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/. 2TAKASHI MURAKAMI: THE OCTOPUS EATS ITS OWN LEG (more than 55 paintings and sculptures are featured in the

2ONGOING

VERSES FESTIVAL OF WORDS Alternative literary festival features spoken-word poetry, storytelling, page-

first retrospective of Murakamiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work in Canada) to May 6

MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER 1100 Chestnut Street, 604-736-4431, www.museumofvan couver.ca/. 2HAIDA NOW: A VISUAL FEAST OF INNOVATION AND TRADITION (exhibition guest-curated by Kwiaahwah Jones features more than 450 works by carvers, weavers, photographers, and print makers, collected as early as the 1890s) to Jun 15 THE MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT UBC 6393 NW Marine Drive, 604-822-5087, www.moa.ubc.ca/. 2CULTURE AT THE CENTRE (collaboration between six First Nations communities offers insight into the work Indigenous-run cultural centres and museums in B.C. are doing to support their language, culture, and history) to Oct 8

TIME OUT ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. We canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t guarantee inclusion, and we give priority to events taking place within one week of publication. Submit listings online using the event-submission form at straight.com/AddEvent. Events that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.

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MON MAY 7 | 6:00 PM | SFU

SAT MAY 5 | 4:30 PM | VANCIT Y

A powerful cinematic essay that confronts audiences with the ethical dilemmas that surround life and death decisions made possible by new technologies in fetal screenings and pregnancy anomaly scans.

Before Donald Trump emerged as President, Middle Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frustration was apparent when armed militants occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

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WED MAY 9 | 6 PM | SFU

SUN MAY 13 | 2 PM | SFU

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The Cleaners reveals the dark underbelly of our globalized social media culture and the people who are charged with determining what is unacceptable.

From the mountains of Mexico to a coffee shop in Seattle, this film takes us through the complex and increasingly globalized market of coffee-making and trading.

Letter from Masanjia

Those Who Come, Will Hear

APRIL 24

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26 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 26 / 2018

Austria

Germany/Brazil

Canada

No Manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Land US

Mexico

Canada

SAT MAY 5 | 2 PM | VANCIT Y

SAT MAY 12 | 4:30 PM | VANCIT Y

Following his Peabody Award-winning exposĂŠ Human Harvest, Vancouver-based director Leon Lee continues to expose human rights abuses in China with this message in a bottle thriller.

An atmospheric and immersive film that explores the musicality and cultural significance of many Indigenous languages, all of which are at risk of disappearing.

Canadian Film Week goes backstage at the Biltmore in The Age of Adulting.

Unadulterated visions of Vancouver > BY ADRIAN MACK

B

ooming film industry aside, Vancouverites all too seldom see their own stories on the big screen. The Vancity Theatre aims to fix that on Friday (April 20) when the The Age of Adulting gets its premiere on the opening night of the film centreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Canadian Film Week. The Age of Adulting captures a certain element of the Main Street millennial set in at least two of their favourite activitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;bed-hopping and bitching about the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and stars James Pizzinato as Jason, a disillusioned â&#x20AC;&#x153;formerâ&#x20AC;? actor with a few good rants up his sleeve about the creative vacuum he wakes up to everyday. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You tell me a movie is set in Vancouver and I just get sluggish,â&#x20AC;? he tells his friend, the aspiring (and ethically challenged) filmmaker Doug (Scott Patey). â&#x20AC;&#x153;I see an image of Science World in the opening of the movie, and thenâ&#x20AC;Ś nothing. Because Vancouver is just boring.â&#x20AC;&#x153; Reached at his home in Squamish, writer-director Mark A. Lewis happily admits that he poured a lot of his own city-specific angst into The Age of Adulting, which is rather pointedly subtitled Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nothing Romantic About Vancouver. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At that point in my life I was having to come to terms with what my ambitions were, what my dreams were, and the reality that, first of all, I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Federico Fellini,â&#x20AC;? he says with a laugh. On a less wry note, the 43-year-old filmmaker adds that the West Coast of Canada in the 21st century is a long way from Italy in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s. â&#x20AC;&#x153;An environment like that allows a vision to blossom and flourish,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All the circumstances are aligned. That didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist for me in Vancouver, and that was very frustrating, and so I came up with all sorts of reasons for it.â&#x20AC;? In another sense, circumstances were at least well enough aligned for Lewis to conjure the kind of livedin portrait that Vancouver rarely receives. The film nails a certain feeling of being untethered inside a community of fragmented identities, shared by a group of characters bopping around the Biltmore and the Black Lodge in Ladyhawk and Hard Drugs T-shirts. For many, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a recognizable image of at least one of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s last thriving subcultures. No less resonant is the view of Vancouverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Downtown Eastside provided by director Josh Lanerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ken Foster, screening on Monday and Thursday (April 23 and 26). This unvarnished doc gets intimate with the prodigiously talented street artist, whose paintingsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;often made on found or sometimes stolen materials (hello foamcore security signs)â&#x20AC;&#x201D; have become increasingly collectible. Foster insists that his muse thrives in the space between schizophrenia and crack addiction, and a psychiatrist and the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own 22-year-old daughter are among those whose bring unexpected nuance to their sympathies. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an eye-opener. Twinned with The Age of Adulting, Lanerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s film makes for a more high-resolution picture of a city whose complex personality is usually lost inside the transmutation into Hollywood North. Expect nothing boring or sluggish here. Canadian Film Week takes place at the Vancity Theatre from Friday to Thursday (April 20 to 26). More information is at www.viff.org/.


MOVIES

The wise and witty Schumer RE VIEW S I FEEL PRETTY Starring Amy Schumer. Rated PG

In a sign of the dangerous territory Amy Schumer often treads, the trailer alone for her light new comedy I Feel Pretty has sparked an online backlash. Fat-shaming, female body-image issues, and the provocative idea that sexism isn’t exclusive to dudes: these are hot-button topics, and ones the self-effacing comedian, as ever, refuses to handle delicately. The general complaint is that Schumer is too privileged, too close to Hollywood beauty ideals, too close to a healthy BMI to depict herself as someone who can’t get a bartender’s attention, can’t find her size on store racks, and can’t go to the gym without someone asking her if it’s her first time there. Thankfully, the movie plays out these ideas with more complexity, and more body positivity, than the trailer. Schumer has, after all, spoken often about the body-shaming she’s faced in her industry and the unfortunate sexual encounters that have resulted from her own lack of self-esteem. So she is digging at something real here, despite a seriously silly plot, and some even more seriously mixed messages. If you’ve seen the ads, you know the setup: Schumer’s Renee is racked with a low self-opinion and obsessed about her weight. Then one day she falls off the bike in her SoulCycle class and conks her head. The concussion suddenly makes her feel gorgeous— and acts as a kind of invisible armour against putdowns and embarrassment. The Big-meets Shallow Hal gimmick is ridiculous—and you really wonder if the main character needed a brain injury to free her inhibitions. But it quickly becomes apparent that self-esteem is attractive; if you love yourself, others can love you. That’s where the film digs into some of its coolest territory. Renee hooks up with a sensitive beardo named Ethan (Rory Scovel), who takes Zumba classes, complains his office is a “boys’ club”, and wonders if he needs to read Maxim more. Funny that in this film about female empowerment, one of its most transgressive characters is the male romantic lead. Just watch the scene in which the newly sexually empowered Renee strips down with the curtains open and the lights on in front of Ethan. The look he gives her is a priceless combo of befuddlement, fear, and horniness. The plot’s larger, too-long story line is less compelling. Writer-directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein make it Renee’s goal to work as a receptionist at a makeup company. (Shoot for the moon!) Her desperate efforts to climb the ladder there, and please its helium-voiced CEO (Michelle Williams), culminate in an ad campaign that cringingly celebrates women’s diversity. Acceptance at a beauty corporation, and an entry in a skid bar’s bikini contest—are these what female empowerment looks like? The film’s more real with its most Schumer-esque touches—her inability to ignore a passing ice-cream truck, say, or her willingness to brazenly bare the Spanx that are holding her gut in. In those smaller acts, it feels like—haters be damned—she’s getting closer to liberation.

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> JANET SMITH

LEAN ON PETE Starring Charlie Plummer. Rated 14A

A British filmmaker takes on

2 the wayward soul of America

in Lean On Pete and gets a little lost along the way. The low-key Lean On Pete, adapted by director Andrew Haigh (45 Years) from a popular 2010 novel by Willy Vlautin, follows the picaresque improvisations of 15-year-old Charley Thompson. Sympathetically played by Charlie Plummer, who starred as

Amy Schumer gleefully tackles body shaming issues in I Feel Pretty.

the kidnapped kid in All the Money in the World, this stoical, motherless teen has been brought up by a hell-raising, perpetually broke single dad played by Australian Travis Fimmel (who fudges the rural-Americana accent). A fitfully engaged high-school athlete in the poorer outskirts of Portland, Oregon, Charley is looking for more than a part-time job when his daily run is interrupted by a grizzled fellow wanting help behind the local racetrack. The old guy, called Del (Steve Buscemi, playing against type here), is a two-bit rural schemer. Indie veteran Chloë Sevigny also shows up as Bonnie, a former jockey who drinks with Del and sometimes rides his cluster of quarter horses in races that are not always first-class events. Initially, it feels like Charley will find a niche in this surrogate family, which travels the West Coast racing circuit—especially after fate pulls his own father out of the story. But our tow-headed hero is mostly drawn to the horses, and one particular aging but still handsome creature called Lean On Pete. Despite Bonnie’s warning not to get attached (“They’re not pets!”), he’s shocked to discover that Del might send Pete “down to Mexico”, where they can turn horses into dog food. One night Charley hightails it with the horse, heading improbably to Wyoming, where he thinks his dad’s sister lives. Even that he’s not sure of. The film’s writer-director, who has frequently dealt with gay-identity themes, wants to leave the lad’s trajectory wide-open. He’s tightlipped at the best of times, and even when he’s crossing scrubby brushlands on foot with his new companion (he never mounts ol’ Pete), his monologues remain generic. And his encounters, with a couple of overseas-war veterans and then some urban downand-outers (including Steve Zahn), remain curiously unspecific about most things. This gives the largely admirable film a timeless quality, in keeping with those wide-open skies and the American promise of endless reinvention. But this somehow mutes the emotions that should come of age with Charley. There’s a sunset, but no one rides into it. > KEN EISNER

FINDING YOUR FEET Starring Imelda Staunton. Rated PG

A slightly dour critique of modern Britain is hiding inside this feel-good comedy aimed at the Exotic Marigold crowd. And the filmmakers themselves don’t seem to know it’s there. Director Richard Loncraine, veteran of much historical drama for U.K. television, assembled an ideal cast for this tale of late-life self-discovery. Diminutive Imelda Staunton headlines as stuffy Sandra, whose businessman husband, Mike (Scotland’s John Sessions), has just been knighted. But at the party announcing her ascension as “Lady Nevershits” (as one wag calls her), she discovers that Mike has been laying another lady. The family lives in a massive country villa, but Sandra’s only option is to move in with her estranged older sister Bif (Celia Imrie) in a crumbling London housing project. Big sis is a playful bohemian still swinging (both

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ways) in her 60s, and pals around with unstiff-upper-lippers like pot-puffing Charlie (Timothy Spall) and Ted (David Hayman) and lawyer Jackie (woefully underused Joanna Lumley). They all meet at a local dance class run by a spunky choreographer (Indra Ové). Turns out Sandra was quite the stepper in her day, although we initially don’t see much of that, given her current grumpiness. She gives a hard time to handyman Charlie, always fixing things at Bif’s place (but not Bif herself), so we know where that must be going. Obviously, Sandra will find her feet moving to a mambo beat—and you know how we all love to see oldies doing the Mashed Potato—but this sketchy subplot must compete with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and the viral whims of the interwebs. Screenwriter-producers Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft, younger than their cast, failed to grasp that the film’s central pleasures would (and do) come from relaxed actorly interplay. Instead, we get problem-solving peregrinations and production numbers that feel unrelated to the story, even when they give it a reason to jump briefly to Rome. But, hey: free vacation! Staunton’s character and hairstyle go through abrupt changes, and there’s little attempt to connect the subplots. There are some interesting and surprisingly vernacular commentaries about England’s changing class concepts and the starkness of postwar life, but these seem accidental. In any case, the movie never locates its own you-know-whats. > KEN EISNER

WALK WITH ME A documentary by Marc J. Francis and Max Pugh. In English, French, and Vietnamese, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

Any attempt to capture the noth-

2 ingness central to Zen Buddhism

is bound to be as frustrating as holding sand with open fingers. And that’s the kind of aphorism that dominates Walk With Me, a sporadically engaging film about the teachings and followers of Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich Nhat Hanh’s peace activism goes back to the 1950s, and he taught comparative religion at Princeton and Columbia universities before returning to his home country in time for Americans to take over the ill-fated anti-Communist war from the French. Agitation for nonviolent response eventually saw him exiled to the U.S., where he urged Martin Luther King Jr. to speak out against the war. The activist monk later moved to France, and after the North Vietnamese army prevailed in 1975, he was again denied permission to go home. He led efforts to help rescue Boat People, and was eventually allowed to visit Vietnam three decades later. Along the way, he’s been embroiled in geopolitical and interreligious controversies, while establishing mindfulness-centred monasteries in the U.S., Germany, and France. He also suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage in 2014. None of that background is even hinted at in this 95-minute documentary from American Marc J. Francis and Brit Max Pugh, who centre their efforts on the teacher’s beatific Plum Village in southwest France. We see daily rituals of devotees as they share simple meals, play music, and engage the world silently every 15 minutes, at the sound of a bell. It also follows a few to family reunions in the States, and a larger group to big cities, where Thich Nhat Hanh gets the rock-star treatment at group meditations. (At one concert hall, he’s slotted between Jackson Browne and John Oliver.) People watching the new Netflix series Wild Wild Country will have their minds full of the dangers of personality cults. There’s little to raise those concerns here, but also not much to impress the uninitiated with the charisma or spiritual acumen of its subject, whose early writings are read, rather unctuously, by an off-screen Benedict Cumberbatch. > KEN EISNER

Apr 20 - 26 at the Vancity Theatre. Discover viff.org Canadian Film Week 3-Ticket Pack $27

Canadian Film Week

Ken Foster

JOSH LANER, CANADA, 2016, 95 MIN.

Hochelaga, Land of Souls FRANÇOIS GIRARD, CANADA, 2017, 100 MIN.

FRI 6:20PM | SAT 2:00PM MON 6:20PM | TUE 12:00PM | WED 8:30PM When a sinkhole opens up at McGill the fracture affords a unique opportunity to unearth the roots of Montreal’s history, and the history before that… In this flamboyant archaeological fresco from the director of 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould and The Red Violin, François Girard explores the defining characteristics that constitute our country and its peoples, their conflicts, qualities and aspirations. This is Canadian cinema at its epic, eccentric best. “A rich cinematic banquet.” Variety

The Age of Adulting

(aka There’s Nothing Romantic About Vancouver) MARK A LEWIS, CANADA, 2018, 101 MIN.

FRI 8:30PM

My Enemy, My Brother ANN SHIN, CANADA, 2017, 87 MIN.

SAT 4:15PM | WED 6:30PM

Dim the Fluorescents

MON 8:30PM | THU 6:30PM We have learned to be wary of the cliched correlation between drug-use and creativity. But Laner’s non-judgmental portrait of the Vancouver street artist makes the case that Foster embraces the drug life to strip himself of bourgeois comforts; that the necessity of feeding his habit compels him to produce art in prodigious qualities, and free of the decadent affectations of the art market.

Black Kite

TARIQUE QAYUMI, CANADA/AFGHANISTAN, 2017, 82 MIN.

THU 8:40PM Earth Day (Part of Canadian Film Week)

Modified

(+ Vancity Impact Talk) AUBE GIROUX, CANADA, 2017, 86 MIN.

SUN 4:00PM This first-person doc questions why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in Canada and the US, despite being labeled in 64 countries around the world. Interweaving the personal and the political, the film is anchored in the filmmaker’s relationship to her mother, a passionate gardener and food activist. It makes a strong case for a more transparent and sustainable food system. Followed by Vancity Impact Talk with panel discussion. Her Stories

DANIEL WARTH, CANADA, 2017, 128 MIN.

SAT 6:20PM | TUE 3:50PM

Great Great Great

ADAM GARNET JONES, CANADA, 2017, 80 MIN.

SAT 8:45PM | TUE 2:00PM

Pneuma

WILL CARNE, CANADA, 2016, 81 MIN.

SAT 10:25PM

Cardinals

GRAYSON MOORE, AIDAN SHIPLEY, CANADA, 2017, 84 MIN.

TUE 8:40PM Sheila McCarthy (I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing) returns in her best movie role in years as Valerie, a middle aged mom looking to pick up the pieces three years after she was incarcerated for killing a man in a drunk driving accident. “A singular work of devastating emotional psychology and infectiously biting wit.” The Film Stage

Venus

EISHA MARJARA, CANADA, 2017, 95 MIN.

TUE 6:30PM Winner: Best Film, Cinequest; Audience Award, Kingston Film Festival

Mina Shum introduces Ann Hui’s A Simple Life ANN HUI, HONG KONG, 20111, 118 MIN.

SUN 7:15PM Launching our new series of inspiring cinema directed by women, and selected by women filmmakers, Mina Shum (Meditation Park; Double Happiness) has chosen to present this lovely portrait of an elderly maid (Deannie Ip) retiring after 60 years of service. As the title suggests, this is a quiet, quotidien film, yet it speaks volumes about universal themes: aging, work, and personal relationships. Mina Shum will introduce the screening and there will be a mixer afterwards.

1181 Seymour St | 604-683-3456 | viff.org

> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < IN RICHMOND AT A BAR YEARS AGO

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 13, 2015 WHERE: It Was a Pub in Richmond B.C. Deborah we met at a bar after a big day on the job and you were invited back to my home rental and we ended up hooking up in my bedroom. It was basically the best romance I have had in my life. I tried to find you again but I lost your phone number and I don’t know how to find you again.

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I was wondering around talking to friends when we made eye contact and started lighthearted small talk. You later revealed that you recognized me from The Cure a couple years ago, which I found impressive. Unfortunately we lost track of one another, but it would be cool to reconnect.

YOUR SMILE, YOUR STYLE, IS SO FLY, I CAN’T DENY.

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 14, 2018 WHERE: Gastown

I first saw you at the BCIT Burnaby campus. Then I saw you again at the Charles Bar last Saturday night. We danced all night, and then road the train home together. You’re a Scorpio, I’m a Cancer, and we both love reading the "I Saw You" posts. I will be at the next pop-up roller disco. First in line.

I’M A WRECK

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 16, 2018 WHERE: Squamish

Your car was hanging off a cliff when our eyes met. I will never forget that look; was it fear or attraction? I wanted to help, but was too shy. Go for coffee sometime, if you’re still alive?

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 12, 2018 WHERE: Surrey

You have a beautiful smile! We were both on the 123, and locked eyes a few times. You were sitting in the very back of the bus, and I gave my seat to a couple. I wanted to talk to you, but I didn’t think I really had time to say anything before my stop came.

You were doing door to door quotes for services in my neighbourhood. If I'd been the household decision maker, I'd have said yes just to keep you talking, but alas I just room here. Your smile is cuter than the ones on your promo material, in a completely non-puppy dog, nonpatronizing way. We should get coffee.

BROADWAY AND ARBUTUS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 14, 2018 WHERE: Temaki Sushi

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 14, 2018 WHERE: Verboden at the Astoria

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MORE LIKE YOU SAW ME...

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 16, 2018 WHERE: New Westminster

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KENDRA AT VERBODEN

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TEMAKI SUSHI AT BACK OF THE 123 BUS

Me: salt and pepper hair, glasses, black sweater, gold earrings and bracelet. You: salt and pepper hair, glasses. I was seated at the bar catching up with two friends. We were hurrying because we had tickets to a nearby concert. I did not see you sit down to my left, as my back was turned. If I had realized earlier that you were seated beside me, I would have chatted with you, but I was oblivious. Ironic, because I am always complaining that in Vancouver, strangers don't chat with each other when eating at the bar. You asked me whether the food was good. I recommended the spicy sashimi. You have a nice smile. Coffee?

GIRL HELPING ELDERLY MAN ON SKYTRAIN

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 13, 2018 WHERE: Stadium SkyTrain I sat across from you on the SkyTrain while you were talking to an elderly man who had crutches and was sitting next to me. He missed his stop at Main St. so you offered to get off at Stadium to make sure he got on the correct train. I was trying to help as well and you made a comment about our beards. I said I had a beard because it keeps my face warm. You’re tanned, gorgeous and have black curly hair. You seem very kind and I didn’t get a chance to ask your name before you left the train.

DOMINIC, NOT BRAD

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 13, 2018 WHERE: Burnaby

You came to pick up water cannons from me, even though it was pouring rain today. We talked about soccer, and you told me there's free tickets for twins. I suggested the Cambie rather than a nine dollar stadium beer... You thought my description sounded sketchy. My response should have been an offer to take you there, it's really much better than I made it sound!

IS 44 TOO OLD FOR YOU?

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: APRIL 11, 2018 WHERE: The Dentist

Angela, you polished my teeth, how would you like to polish my heart? We sort of had parallel lives. If you think fate brought us together, find me. I’m thinking of you.

BEAUTIFUL MAN ON THE 84 BUS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 15, 2018 WHERE: 84 Bus to VCC Clark We decided not to exchange personal details - so you are, to this date, the only person I have kissed whose name I don’t know. I have begun to think I’ll never see you again, at the same time it seems impossible that I never will. You did, after all, tell your best friend all about me.

Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 27


28 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 26 / 2018


MUSIC

It’s not that B Y A L EX A NDER VAR TY

Steve Dawson and Jesse Zubot didn’t have big plans for the future when they first started playing music together, just over two decades ago. They just didn’t quite know what they were. “We just wanted to rock out, basically,” Dawson tells the Straight, reached at home in Nashville, Tennessee. “We just kinda clicked really quickly, but I wouldn’t say that we had any real ambitions, other than that we were both ambitious. I don’t think we knew what we wanted to do exactly— and, I mean, going back 20-plus years, there’s no way I’d suspect that he’d be doing that and I’d be doing this!” That, for fiddle virtuoso Zubot, is touring the world and winning multiple awards with Inuk experimentalist Tanya Tagaq; running his own Drip Audio imprint as a home for mostly Vancouver-based improvising acts; scoring feature films such as the recently released Indian Horse; and living on bucolic Vancouver Island. And this, for the guitar-playing half of the partnership, is also running his own label, Black Hen Music, with an emphasis on Americana-flavoured singer-songwriters; operating the full-service Henhouse recording studio in Nashville; and living in the city

Digging deep into his roots

Nashville-based musician and Black Hen Music label head Steve Dawson drew inspiration from Van Dyke Parks for his most recent solo release.

Dawson explains. “So I was just kicking around some different ideas, and there’s a couple of Van Dyke Parks records that On Lucky Hand, ex-Vancouverite Steve Dawson shows always loved. One that his rapport with old pal Jesse Zubot remains intact I’d is that first Ry Cooder that is the absolute epicentre for the kind of song- record, where he does a really kind of avantfocused, guitar-based music he’s loved ever since garde string arrangement to ‘One Meat Ball’. It he scored his first set of fingerpicks. sounds like Ry Cooder’s just being Ry Cooder, Not bad for a couple of kids who, initially as the but then the rest of the track is in outer space— bar-boogying Spirit Merchants and then as instru- like, totally reharmonized.…And then there’s mental “strang” purveyors Zubot & Dawson, were that other record that Van Dyke did with Phil always in the music business for the music first, Ochs; I think it’s called Greatest Hits, even with the business only a necessary afterthought. though it wasn’t a greatest-hits record. That’s More recently, the two seemed to have gone just like a folk record, basically, but then parttheir separate ways, and not just geographic- way through every song, the Van Dyke string ally. Dawson’s gotten deeper into his roots in arrangements swoop in and carry the song off blues, country music, and the American primi- to another world. So that was really the conceptive guitar styles of John Fahey and Leo Kottke, tual inspiration, those two records.” while Zubot has been fruitfully exploring elecEnlisting Zubot to play Parks to his Cooder, tronically processed sound and abstract noise, Dawson made Lucky Hand in Vancouver, recordalong with an ever-more-daring approach to ing live off the floor with the fiddler and his broththe violin. But the two recently reconvened to er Joshua on first and second violins, violist John work on Lucky Hand, Dawson’s eighth solo ef- Kastelic, and cellist Peggy Lee, along with occafort (and second all-instrumental undertaking, sional input from trombone, clarinet, and French after 2014’s Rattlesnake Cage). The results indi- horn. The resulting music is innovative, gorgeous, cate that their rapport is still as intuitive and and successful enough that Dawson and company complementary as ever. will re-create its magic during the upcoming VanSuggesting that Dawson’s approach to music- couver International Jazz Festival, opening for making is just as oblique as his more experiment- Dobro wizard Jerry Douglas. ally inclined creative partner’s, Lucky Hand’s For now, though, Dawson is busy assembling chamber-music-inflected approach to Americana a very different project: the third incarnation of draws on an obscure footnote in musical history: his Black Hen Roadshow, a touring package of that time when, riding high on his success as Beach artists associated with his record label that this Boys main man Brian Wilson’s Smile-era lyricist year includes country singer Leeroy Stagger, and sounding board, Van Dyke Parks was a near- MonkeyJunk’s Juno-winning guitarist and harubiquitous figure in the recording studios of the monica player Steve Marriner, and soul chanteuse late 1960s and early ’70s. After contributing string Ndidi Onukwulu. arrangements, production ideas, and philosophical “I just thought it was a good group of people musings to records by everyone from Frank Zappa who would be copacetic on-stage,” Dawson says. to Frank Sinatra, Parks provided especially useful “And the ‘roadshow’ idea is that we do mini-sets encouragement to a pair of Dawson’s guitar heroes, where the band and I back everyone up, and they Lowell George and Ry Cooder—and it was a trip get to do their own little show in the first half. And back to Cooder’s debut that gave the younger musi- then in the second half everyone gets on-stage cian the impetus to turn a collection of instrumen- together. It’s sort of like a festival workshop, in tal sketches into a major step forward. a way, except it’s not as chaotic, because we kind “I didn’t want to make another totally solo of know the material—and by the time we get to record, but I didn’t want it to be a band thing,” Vancouver we’ll know it pretty well, because that’s

the second-last night of the tour. “We’ve still never all been in a room together,” he adds with a laugh, “so there’s always a bit of mystery about how it’ll go. But everyone’s a pro!” Steve Dawson brings the Black Hen Roadshow to the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Arts on Wednesday (April 25).

in + out

On getting Nashville veteran Charlie McCoy to play harmonica on Lucky Hand’s “Bentonia Blues”: “That guy is a legend, obviously. He’s played on so many records, and not just on the harmonica: he’s played guitar on Bob Dylan records, and bass and vibes.…Anyway, Charlie’s in his late 70s now, but he’s still pretty active and loves playing. I interviewed him for my podcast and brought him in on a couple of sessions that I was producing here, and he was really easy to work with—very professional, in kind of an old-school way, which was really awesome. So I asked him if he would do this thing, and he was really receptive to doing a little piece. In addition to the main harmonica thing you hear, he overdubbed two more harmonica parts and some bass harmonica—which I think was the same instrument he played on ‘The Boxer’, that Simon & Garfunkel track, which is cool.” On the aforementioned podcast, Music Makers and Soul Shakers: “It seems like people have really responded to that. I’m just gearing up to do a third season of that, so I’m doing a bunch of interviews now. I just talked to [Jefferson Airplane founder] Jorma Kaukonen; that dude has some stories! And I’ve got a bunch lined up to do in May: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and possibly Norbert Putnam, the Nashville producer. So we’ll see where that leads. I like doing a fair amount of Nashville stuff, just because I’m here and the history is so amazing.”

FOR THE BEACHES, IT’S A LL ABO U T HAV ING F U N >>> Jordan Miller is living proof

2 that a willingness to go above

and beyond for one’s art can forever alter an impressionable concertgoer’s destiny. The singer-bassist for the Beaches says that’s one of the reasons she ended up pursuing a career in the trenches of balls-out rock ’n’ roll. “I think it’s really important to go to live shows if you want to be in a band,” the relentlessly pleasant Torontonian says, on the line from home. “There was this show that I saw in Glasgow that changed the way that I looked at music. I was there on tour with my high school and I saw this band called Fat White Family and it was the most bizarre, crazy live show that I’ve ever seen. The lead singer covered himself in mayonnaise and threw himself at audience members for, like, three minutes. It was so weird, but he didn’t care, and the songs were so, so good. The only thing is I don’t think that I could ever do that

because I’d get tons of acne if I put a bunch of mayonnaise on my face.” Luckily for Miller, the Beaches have taken off without her having to resort to mayo facials or rolling around in peanut butter and broken glass. Thanks to the strength of the hard-edged, muscle-flexing debut, Late Show, the quartet has emerged as something of an anomaly in 2018: a rock ’n’ roll band that someone under the age of 40 actually cares about. Recent accomplishments have included, but are hardly limited to, taking home a 2018 Juno for breakout band of the year, and selling out T.O.’s 950-seat Opera House. “You never think in your wildest dreams that these things are going to happen to you and that people will appreciate your music,” Miller says. “It’s been wild, but we try and stay grounded and remember that it’s all about having fun and playing together.”

If those sound like the words of someone who is grateful for everything that’s come the Beaches’ way, that’s not by accident. Along with her sister and Beaches guitarist Kylie Miller, Miller has been playing in bands since her early highschool years. When the Beaches began attracting label attention, everyone had a different opinion on what the band—members of which were in their teens—should sound like. After 2014’s EP Heights leaned toward post-Killers pop that was heavy on the synths, the group spent time in Los Angeles working with proven hit-making songwriters who taught Miller plenty while at the same time muddying the waters. “Most of us are in our early 20s, and when we first started this project we’d just gotten out of high school,” Miller says. “When we first signed to an American label they didn’t know what to do with us. So

Steve Dawson sounds off on the things that enquiring minds want to know.

they sent us on a bunch of writing trips through a developmental deal, and we wrote upwards of 60 songs, working with a different producer every day. It was great learning how to write from some of the most important producers and writers in the music industry. But it was also scary because we weren’t writing for ourselves.” So the Beaches—which includes keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—returned to Toronto and thought long and hard about what they wanted to be. Tapping into a childhood love of ’70s hard rock, they enlisted Metric’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw as producers and then hit the studio. The end result is a record heavy on razor-burn guitar and TNT megariffage, with hard-candy bangers like “Gold” sounding like they were made for road-tripping in a ’74 Dodge Charger. Smartly, though, the Beaches don’t root themselves in one

era, with “T-Shirt” dripping enough attitude to impress first-wave Chrissie Hynde, and “Money” suggesting a healthy obsession with the ’00s New York rawk revival headed up by the Strokes. Late Show’s strength is that it makes rock ’n’ roll sound not only fresh at a time when the genre has stagnated in the shadow of hiphop and EDM, but also kind of cool. Good luck getting Miller to acknowledge that, though—she’ll leave that to people who don’t think twice about smearing themselves in mayonnaise and then letting loose. “Being cool is totally what we’re not about; if you’ve seen any of our videos,” she says with a laugh. “You can’t change who you are, which is another way of saying you can’t be cool if you’re not cool.”

> MIKE USINGER

T h e B e a c h e s p l a y Ve n u e o n Saturday (April 21).

APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 29


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30 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 26 / 2018


MUSIC

RSD celebrates vinyl culture > B Y M IKE USING E R

T

o truly get a handle on what a phenomenon Record Store Day has become around the globe, it helps to look back to the past. Over the last decade of the event there’s been no shortage of heavy hitters involved, from official ambassadors to artists with special releases designed to get music fans away from the computer and into brick-and-mortar stores. The 2018 edition takes place on Saturday (April 21), with Run the Jewels serving as the ambassadors. But first, some history. When Record Store Day launched in 2008, those with special limited-edition releases included Vampire Weekend, R.E.M., Death Cab for Cutie, and Jason Mraz. No less than Metallica showed up to sign autographs at Rasputin Music in Mountain View, California. The goal that initial year? Log on to www.recordstoreday.com/ and you’ll find this mission statement: “Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally.” And celebrate the world has, with each RSD helping put vinyl, cassettes, and, yes, even CDs back in the spotlight at a time when digital-everything rules. In the following years, ambassadors have included Josh Homme, Iggy Pop, Ozzy Osbourne, St. Vincent, Chuck D, and the infamously technology-averse Jack White. Artists who have released special Record Store Day exclusives range from Little Richard and Phil Collins to Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Joan Jett. Record Store Day mushroomed into a global event, with thousands of stores participating not only in

tables and stereo gear. Both stores will feature live music from 4 p.m. onward, including performances by Kellarissa, Kensington Gore, and Frog Eyes. NEPTOON RECORDS (3561 Main

Street; neptoon.com/ ) Free live music is a huge part of every Record Store Day at Neptoon, the lineup this year including performances by Black Wizard, Woolworm, Slow Tide, and Jo Passed. Neptoon will also offer 10 percent off all new vinyl (except Record Store Day releases), 50 percent off used CDs, and 20 percent off used vinyl. RSD releases that have already Record Store Day ambassadors arrived and will be on sale include for this year: Run the Jewels. Flume’s Flume (on picture disc), Mac the U.S., but also countries including DeMarco’s Old Dog Demos, and AC/ Italy, Japan, Spain, the U.K., Mexico, DC’s Back in Black (on cassette!). France, the Netherlands, Germany, BEATMERCHANT RECORD STORE Australia, and, of course, Canada. In a telling statement on what a (12240 Second Avenue, Richmond; The phenomenon the day has become, www.beatmerchant.com/ ) this year will see over 400 limited-edi- Steveston store specializing in British tion releases hit record-store shelves collectibles will have specials on LPs around the globe from artists as varied (three for $20) and CDs and DVDs as Car Seat Headrest, Courtney Bar- (three for $10). In addition to special nett, Fleetwood Mac, Insane Clown Record Store Day releases, there will Posse, Led Zeppelin, the Wipers, and also be door prizes. Wu-Tang Clan. As always, Vancouver will offer no shortage of destinations DURANT SESSIONS (315 West Cordova Street; durantsessions.com/ ) for those who love the smell of vinyl. Here’s what you can look forward Here’s a great way to get something back for those duplicate copies of Desto around town this Saturday: cendents’ Milo Goes to College or Lisa SIKORA’S CLASSICAL RECORDS Loeb’s Purple Tape. Durant Sessions (432 West Hastings Street; sikoras isn’t a record store, but the optical classical.com/ ) Taking the approach boutique (which has locations in both that the best surprises are just that, Gastown and the Silver Lake district of Sikora’s is promising a general store- Los Angeles) is run by folks who love wide sale on Record Store Day. music; spinning on the in-store turntable at any given time at Durant are RED CAT RECORDS (4332 Main staff faves like Miles Davis, Joy DivStreet and 2447 East Hastings Street; ision, and Chris Stapleton. To celebrate redcat.ca/ ) For being one of the first Record Store Day, Durant is giving 150 people through the door you get a one percent off eyewear for each vinyl free Johnny Cash record, and concert record brought into the store, up to a tickets are also up for grabs. Red Cat maximum of 20 records. Durant Sesis also offering 20 percent off new and sions Record Store Day runs Thursday used CDs and vinyl, as well as turn- to Sunday (April 19 to 22). -

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APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 31


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Channels shape music biz

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n 2010, MrSuicideSheep, a video- “I noticed that streaming was becomstreaming channel, launched on ing a bigger component of music,” he YouTube. Created as a passion tells the Straight at his downtown office. project by a still-anonymous in- “Platforms were building, and these kids dividual, the account only posts songs who have a really sound taste in music that he or she likes—a scope that en- were nurturing these communities. At compasses everything from up-and- that time the subscriber count was coming hits to obscure SoundCloud low—there were maybe 100,000 people uploads. The page’s popularity is enor- listening. But they were creating these mous. Currently, it’s gathered almost little cultural tribes around their curanine million subscribers and three- tion, and that started pulling people in.” Those early channels grew rapidly. and-a-half billion views. The channel is not an anomaly. Gaining an almost cultlike status Proximity, another music-only You- among their devotees, they soon beTube account that specializes in post- came as influential as vlogs, and had ing mainstream the numbers to EDM tracks, match. That attenboasts over six tion, however, million subscribraised red flags at Kate Wilson ers and two-andYouTube. Many aca-half billion views. Trap Nation, counts were run by high-school kids SwagyTracks, and Tasty have another with no knowledge of negotiating 23 million followers between them. royalty payments—an issue that occaThese channels command vast sionally led to their brand being susinternational influence. With their pended. Carr-Hilton had the solution. dedicated community of followers, “At the start, I worked with Youthey form some of the largest distri- Tube channels on the outskirts of inbution networks in the world—and fluence,” he remembers. “They didn’t the music industry has taken note. have music industry connections and YouTube sites are launching artists, didn’t understand the legalities of and major labels, indie imprints, and copyright. They were only kids who self-published musicians are all clam- loved music, who wanted to share that ouring to ink deals with channel cur- music with other people. I had the ators. New contracts are being drawn idea to build a template that would let up around debuting singles on stream- them post their favourite tracks legaling platforms, and performers have ly, and bring lots of channels together already been catapulted to fame on to form a collective community. That’s the back of a well-placed video. Very when we created the District.” quietly, these YouTube tastemakers are Since he formed the company four transforming how music is discovered. years ago, Carr-Hilton has signed The channel curators, though, on 143 branded channels—including MrSuicideSheep, Proximity, and haven’t shaped that change alone. Josh Carr-Hilton, a Vancouver Trap Nation—and manages them all entrepreneur and founder of the under the District’s umbrella. The orDistrict—a company that helps ganization’s aims are simple. As well buzzworthy accounts grow their as helping music curators pay major audience—was one of the first to rec- rights holders all over the world, it asognize how social platforms would sists in developing its accounts’ offline revolutionize the music business. revenue streams, creating everything Beginning his career by licensing from tank tops to colouring books video-game trailers on YouTube, he for the fans. Currently, the District’s saw how content creators were build- channels share music with just shy ing vibrant social hubs around sub- of 90 million subscribers, and genercategories of games. Working with ate more than one-and-a-half billion those individuals to develop their monthly streams for artists. As a colcommunities, he helped to manage lective, the Vancouver-based company their output. Next, he applied that is one of the largest global platforms in music broadcasting, and—by numexpertise to music channels.

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

Scan to confess Organ Donation I just became an organ donor. In honour of the incredible tragedy of Humbolt Broncos Hockey players & supporters. Maybe something good can come of this if everyone signed up to be organ donors.

music/ timeout CONCERTS 2JUST ANNOUNCED

I lied I told my boyfriend at the time I was on the pill. I later got pregnant. My excuse was that antibiotics reduced the effectiveness of the pill. Truth is that our relationship was on the rocks and I wanted to keep him....we’re married and I’ve never told him (or even my closest friend).

Tears of a clown The funniest comedians have the darkest secrets and the most self-hatred of anyone else. Kinda makes sense but it kills the illusion of the comedy. It must be exhausting trying to seem okay all the time. It must be even heavier to make a living out of it.

The way I see it about dating and chivalry. Well, you ought to try, or else if you assume that every young lady is an extreme feminist, you will die alone. So, you ought to try, ‘ya hear? Hold ‘em doors open and make eye contact.

High Standards Really?

SEBASTIAN BACH Former frontman for Skid Row performs hits from the past and tunes from latest solo album, with guests the Standstills. Jun 15, doors 8 pm, show 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Apr 20, 10 am, $35/ four-packs $120 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. MACEO PARKER American funk and souljazz saxophonist, with guest Nina Mendoza. Aug 21, doors 7 pm, show 8:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Apr 20, 10 am, $42.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. THE PROCLAIMERS Scottish folk-pop act featuring twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid. Sep 9, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix on sale Apr 20, 10 am, $59.50/43.50/34.50/29.50 (plus service charge) at www.ticketfly.com/. MS. LAURYN HILL American R&B artist performs on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th anniversary tour. Sep 14, 5 pm, Deer Lake Park (6344 Deer Lake Ave., Burnaby). Tix on sale Apr 20, 10 am, at www.livenation.com/.

A guy who is age appropriate, who has an actual job, has a roof over his head, doesn’t do serious drugs, is a good person, funny, and knows how to do his laundry is all I ask. I am tired of having to settle for guys who don’t have their shit together.

2THIS WEEK

Visit

LIFE’S STRANGE DREAM Modified Ghost and the Invisible Orange present Montreal electronic band, with guests Das Mortal, FM Attack, and Galactic Hobos. Apr 20, 7 pm, Rickshaw Theatre (254 E.

to post a Confession

32 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT APRIL 19 – 26 / 2018

DILLON FRANCIS Chart-topping DJ and producer, with guest Dzeko. Apr 20, Harbour Event Centre (750 Pacific Blvd.). Free, info www.illuminationseries.ca/.

bers alone—boasts more followers than streaming giants like Tidal. What makes the District unique, Carr-Hilton suggests, is the way its channels build community. “Every decision for every account is made by a person,” he says. “It’s always guided in terms of what somebody thinks someone else is going to love. The subscribers trust the brand to give them something of quality. It’s that little gift they come back every day to receive, and it’s not picked by an algorithm. We are also very careful who we choose to join our collective. We tell our channels that if they accept money directly from record labels, or let anything other than their own taste direct their choices, we won’t work with them anymore. We’re very strict on that. “Our channels have a presence on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud as well, but YouTube is a pretty unique platform for creating an ecosystem where people can have conversations, and we can communicate with them,” he continues. “The accounts build that rapport with their fan base every day, and people start finding it as a home.” A staunch Vancouverite, Carr-Hilton feels the reason that the District has become successful so quickly is its geographical location. Not tied to the bias and old-school music-industry processes of an L.A., New York, or London, he sees the city as the perfect spot to reimagine how music distribution should work in the digital age. “When I visit those places, I can see how the decisions they make are very different from ours,” he says. “Being in Vancouver in a bit of a bubble, we’ve been able to do our own thing for so long. We’ve been able to scale. Now people in those hubs are looking at us and saying, ‘How the hell are you doing this?’ We’re just playing around with YouTube videos and building communities, and we have an organic approach to everything we do. For them, it’s so foreign, because their process has been so different for so long— they choose priority artists, and force things down the pipeline. For us, we’re putting hundreds of thousands of artists out there, and letting consumers decide who’s worth it. The power is always with the people.” -

Hastings). Tix $15 (plus service charges and fees) at www.rickshawtheatre.com/.

2UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS

PEGGY LEE’S ECHO PAINTING Barking Sphinx Performance Society, Live at the Wise, and Sawdust Collector present an album launch party featuring a new large ensemble of Vancouver improvisers. Apr 20, 8 pm, WISE Hall (1882 Adanac). Tix $1520 , info www.barkingsphinx.com/.

LAS CAFETERAS This “magnetic” band has become known for their “uniquely Angeleno mishmash of punk, hip-hop, beat music, cumbia and rock.” (L.A. Times) With special guests Locarno. Apr 28, 8 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix $30/25 at www.capi lanou.ca/centre/.

SLOAN Toronto alt-rock band tours in support of latest studio album Sloan 12. Apr 20, 9 pm, The Imperial. Tix $35 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

TDE: THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR Rap show featuring Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, SiR, and Lance Skiiiwalker. May 4, doors 6:30 pm, show 7:30 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix $149.50/89.50/49.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

FIVE ALARM FUNK Vancouver-based funk band, with guest DJ Shub. Apr 20, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. MOTOWN MELTDOWN Fundraiser for Seva Canada’s international eye-care work features Motown music by over 30 artists. Apr 21, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $32.75 (plus service charge), info www.seva.ca/events/. BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE Legendary Canadian folk singer-songwriter and First Nations activist. Apr 22, 7 pm, WISE Hall (1882 Adanac). Tix $30 advance, $35 at the door, info versesfestival.ca/. PHOEBE BRIDGERS Los Angeles-based indie-folk singer-songwriter tours in support of debut release Stranger in the Alps. Apr 24, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Cobalt (917 Main). Tix $13 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketweb.ca/. 2CELLOS Canadian cello duo performs on its 2Cellos: The Score Tour. Apr 25, 8 pm, Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way). Tix at www.ticketmaster.ca/. THE HOT SARDINES WITH THE VSO Revel during an evening of swinging vintage jazz led by vocal sensation Miz Elizabeth Bougerol who effortlessly channels New York speakeasies, Parisian cabarets, and New Orleans jazz halls. Presented by Coastal Jazz and the VSO. Apr 25, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe). Tix $50-75 at www.coastaljazz.ca/. BLACK HEN ROADSHOW The Black Hen Roadshow is back—and better than ever—in its third, powerhouse incarnation featuring Steve Dawson, Ndidi Onukwulu, Steve Marriner and Leeroy Stagger. Apr 25, 8 pm, BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts (2055 Purcell Way). Tix $38 at www.capilanou.ca/centre/.

TD VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Coastal Jazz presents its annual musical celebration in Vancouver, featuring performances by Robert Plant & the Sensational Shape Shifters, Macy Gray, Kamasi Washington, Dirty Projectors, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the Jerry Douglas Band, Cherry Glazerr, Deerhoof, and Knower. Jun 22–July 1, various Vancouver venues. Tix and info www.coastaljazz.ca/. SKOOKUM FESTIVAL Three-day music festival features performances by headliners the Killers and Florence + the Machine, plus Metric, Arkells, the War on Drugs, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Blue Rodeo, Mother Mother, Chromeo, Bahamas, Stereophonics, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Cold War Kids, Buffy SainteMarie, and Matt Andersen. Sep 7-9, Stanley Park. Tix at www.skookumfestival/. WESTWARD MUSIC FESTIVAL Multiday arts and music showcase features Blood Orange, Kali Uchis, Rhye, Poppy, Angel Olsen, Honne, Kelela, Metz, Saba, Ravyn Lenae, Ella Mai, Mudhoney, Odds, We Are the City, Tei Shi, Ramriddlz, Pell, Duckwrth, Buddy, Fatima Al Qadiri, Roni Size, Hannah Epperson, Jordan Klassen, Milk & Bone, Nehiyawak, and Close Talker. Sep 13-16, various Vancouver venues. Tix at www.westwardfest.com/.

TIME OUT MUSIC LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. We give priority to events taking place within one week of publication. Submit listings online using the eventsubmission form at straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.


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CAREERS STREET KINGS ACADEMY of DANCE INC. (http://streetkingsacademy.com)is hiring a DANCE SCHOOL MANAGER. Permanent, Full time job (30 hours per week) Salary - $23.00 hourly SKILLS REQUIREMENTS: Good English, customer service oriented.Previous experience as a dance instructor is required;Previous experience as a dance school manager is an asset. EDUCATION: Secondary school.MAIN DUTIES: Plan, direct and evaluate the operations of the dance school; Establish and supervise dance classes schedules; Manage staff and assign duties, hire and traiN new employees; Resolve work-related problems and possible customer complaints; Develop and implement marketing strategies; Plan and control school budget. Job location and company’s business address: #102 - 17720 57 Ave, Surrey BC, V3S 1H2 Please apply by E-mail: hrstreetkings@gmail.com

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SUPPORT GROUPS WAVAW - Rape Crisis Centre has a 24-hour crisis line, counselling, public education, & volunteer opportunities for women. All services are free & confidential. Please call for info: Business Line: 604-255-6228 24-Hour Crisis Line: 604-255-6344 AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS Does someone else's drinking bother you? Al-Anon can help. We are a support group for those who have been affected by another's drinking problem. For more information please call: 604-688-1716 Anorexics & Bulimics Anonymous 12 Step based peer support program which addresses the mental, emotional, & spiritual aspects of disordered eating Tuesdays @ 7 pm @ Avalon Women's Centre 5957 West Blvd - 604-263-7177 Anxiety? Depression? Free Mental Wellness Support Group held on Saturdays (10:30 am – 12:30) Promotes a holistic approach to healing (body, mind & spirit). Networking and interactive learning experience in a safe, non-judgmental environment. For more information call 604-630-6865 or visit www.mentalwellnessbc.ca ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION Looking to start a parent support group in Kitsilano. Please call Barbara 604 737 8337 Battered Women's Support Services provides free daytime & evening support groups (Drop-ins & 10 week groups) for women abused by their intimate partner. Groups provide emotional support, legal information & advocacy, safety planning, and referrals. For more information please call: 604-687-1867 BC Balance & Dizziness provides information & support for persons with balance, dizziness & vestibular disorders. Bi Monthly info meetings @ St. Paul's Hospital. Call for info. 604-878-8383 www.BalanceAndDizziness.org Distress Line & Suicide Prevention Services NEED SOME ONE TO TALK TO? Call us for immediate, free, confidential and non-judgemental support, 24 hours a day, everyday. The Crisis Centre in Vancouver can help you cope more effectively with stressful situations. 604-872-3311 Drug & Alcohol Problems? Free advanced information and help on how quit drinking & using drugs. For more information call Barry Bjornson @ 604-836-7568 or email me @livinghumility@live.com Equal Parenting Group - North Vancouver Support group for fathers going through the divorce process needing help. Call 604-692-5613 Email:nspg@mybox.com Fertility Support Group Discover new perspectives make positive changes and learn simple tools to take charge of your reproductive wellness while connecting with other women. The meetings provide a space for open discussion. 2nd Tuesday of each month 7:45 - 8:45pm (Sign up required) Reg & Info call: 604-266-6470 or www.familypassages.ca Heart of Richmond - AIDS Society operates a confidential support group for persons with HIV/AIDS, or persons affected (family, friends or care givers) by the disease. For info - 604-277-5137 www.heartofrichmond.com Support, Education & Action Group for Women that have experienced male violence. Call Vancouver Rape Relief 604-872-8212

12-step program for families and friends of addicts, meets Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9 pm 176 2nd Street East in North Van.

Info: nar-anonbcregion.org Parkinson Society BC offers over 50 volunteer-led support groups throughout BC. These provide people with Parkinson's, their carepartners & families an opportunity to meet in a friendly, supportive setting with others who are experiencing similar difficulties. Some groups may offer exercise support. For information on locating a support group near you, please contact PSBC at 604 662 3240 or toll free 1 800 668 3330. RECOVERY International FEAR? DEPRESSION? PANIC ATTACKS? Feelings that keep you from really living your life? A way out is where we come in. Weekly meetings. Call for info: 9am - 5pm Kathy 778-554-1026 www.recoverycanada.org

Sex Addicts Anonymous 12-step fellowship of men & women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their sexual addiction. Membership is open to all who desire to stop addictive sexual behaviour. For a meeting list as well as email & phone contacts go to our website at

www.saavancouver.org Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) Do you have a problem with sex and love relationships. You are not alone. SLAA is a 12 Step 12 Tradition oriented fellowship for those who suffer from sex and love addiction. Leave a message on our phone line and somebody will call you back for meeting time and locations. 604 515-5423 SEXAHOLICS ANONYMOUS - Vancouver, BC For those desiring their own sexual sobriety, please go to www.sa.org for meetings times and places. We are here to help you from being overwhelmed. Newcomers are gratefully welcomed. Support, Education & Action Group for Women that have experienced male violence. Call Vancouver Rape Relief 604-872-8212 The Compassionate Friends (TCF) Burnaby TCF is a grief support group for parents who have experienced the loss of a child, at any age. Meet the last Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. For location call Grace: 778-222-0446 "We Need Not Walk Alone" compassionatecircle@hotmail.com Burnaby@TCFCanada.net www.tcfcanada.net Healthy & loving relationships alluding you? CODA: Co-dependency Anonymous 12 step Recovery: 604- 515-5585 Infertility Awareness Assoc. of Canada (IAAC) provides educational material & support to individuals or couples experiencing infertility. Meetings: 7 pm the 2nd Wed of the month. Richmond Library & Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate. Info 523-0074 or www.iaac.ca GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS Has gambling taken over your life or the life of someone you know? Call 1 855 222 5542 to take back your life. Gamblers Anonymous is a non-profit fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem. 1-855-222-5542 Website: www.gabc.ca Email: friend@gabc.ca

Join Our Support, Education & Action Group July 11th 6:30–8:30pm (8 weeks) Women who experienced any form of male violence CALL Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter 604-872-8212

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savage love Background: I, a 21-year-old male, enjoy receptive fisting. I’ve also had constipation problems all my life. Question: I saw my doctor recently, and he tried to link my enjoyment of anal sex to my constipation. (Granted, I didn’t tell him everything I do down there.) My understanding was that there was no causal relationship, assuming no serious injuries occur. Is there something I don’t know? Was my doctor just trying to be helpful? > FEARING INNER SANCTUM TARNISHED

“There are many myths about anal sex, but this is the first time I’ve heard this one,” said Dr. Peter Shalit, a physician in Seattle and a member of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. It’s also the first time I’ve heard anyone associate fisting with constipation—typically, when fisting is mentioned in the same sentence as constipation, FIST, it’s as a cure. But it’s a myth that fisting cures constipation, of course, along with anal sex being inherently dangerous. “Fisting is a safe activity, provided that both the top and bottom are sober at the time,” said Shalit. “It does not cause damage or constipation or any other type of bowel problem. The same applies to other anal sexual activities including anal receptive intercourse (getting fucked) and use of toys (dildos, vibrators, etcetera) for anal stimulation—again, assuming this is voluntary on the part of the bottom and that both partners are not under the influence of mind-altering drugs during sexual activity.” (For safety’s sake, of course, buttfuckers

should use condoms and gay and bi men get should get on PrEP.) While many people engage in anal play while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and most emerge unscathed, uninfected, and unconstipated, FIST, getting fucked up before fisting is not a butt-sex best practice. A fucked-up top can quickly become an out-of-control top, and a fucked-up bottom can be numb to feelings of discomfort that mean “slow down”, “stop and add more lube”, or “stop altogether”. Despite the fact that millions of people safely engage in anal play, many people believe that anal play does irreparable harm to the anus— or the soul—and that, sadly, includes many doctors. “There is a misconception that these activities can cause damage by stretching or tearing the tissue, when actually the anus is very elastic and much of the ‘permission to enter’ actually involves intentional relaxation of the muscles by the bottom” and not force applied by the top, Shalit affi rmed. (The top applies gentle pressure, the bottom breathes, relaxes, and opens up.) “If a person suffers from constipation, that should be addressed as its own problem and not blamed on any type of anal sexual activity,” said Shalit. “In addition: for obvious reasons, it’s not fun to bottom if you’re constipated, so it would be good to have this problem evaluated and treated by a nonjudgmental healthcare provider who understands that anal penetration—by fist, penis, or dildo—does not cause constipation.”

> BY DAN SAVAGE Finally, FIST, your doctor was misinformed, which is not helpful. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your doctor everything you’re doing “down there”, you can fi nd a new doctor—one with whom you can breathe, relax, and open up to (in a different way)—under “fi nd a provider” at GLMA.org.

I’m a 35-year-old straight male,

engaged to my girlfriend of eight years. While we have a good sex life, she often won’t let me finger or lick her. When she does, she enjoys it and easily climaxes while receiving oral sex. But her higher brain functions get in the way, as she has internalized our culture’s body shaming. She has likened me “sticking my nose down there” to “sticking my head in the toilet”. Whenever I sexy-talk about licking her, she reacts with a mood-killing “Eww”. But she says she would enjoy it if she could let me. I can’t make heads or tails of it! When we have sex, she cuts foreplay short and gets straight to penetration. Since her pussy is not yet fully aroused and wet, we use lube and I climax long before she does. She feels pleasure and moans, but she really does not value her own orgasm. But I do, and I miss seeing her climax! I wish I could help her overcome her body issues—but when I “use my words”, she feels pressured and can’t relax. I am at a loss. Please help! > LOVES INHIBITED CARNAL KILLJOY

stick your head in it to make a point about cleanliness making all the difference—and since the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and your girlfriend showers (so her labia, clit, taint, and butt are clean), you should be able to stick your nose down there. Or you could use your words— but don’t use them when you’re about to have sex, LICK. Do it at a neutral time (a time when you can’t have sex), so she doesn’t feel like you’re attempting to initiate by raising the subject. First, ask her if she enjoyed oral when she allowed you to go down on her. (Remember, the fact that she climaxed isn’t proof that she enjoyed it. Her orgasm is a physiological response; her pleasure is a combo of psychological responses and physiological responses.) If oral is pleasurable for her when she can allow you to go down on her, figure out what was different about those times. Had she just stepped out of the shower? Was she a little tipsy or high? Did you go down there without asking, which didn’t give her higher brain functions/inhibitions a chance to kick in? (Please note: not asking isn’t an option for new partners or new moves.) If you can figure out what worked and why—freshly showered, mildly buzzed, no questions asked—you won’t have to stick your head in the toilet to prove a point.

You could go with a grand, roman- My boyfriend and I just tic, and slightly demented gesture, got back from Berlin, and we had LICK: clean the toilet and then a great time—until the last night.

There was a dark room in the basement of this gay bar, and my boyfriend wanted to check it out and I did not. We are monogamous for now—I’m open to opening things up down the road—and I didn’t see the point of going down there. I told him that drunk in a gay bar at 3 a.m. wasn’t the right time to open up our relationship, and he angrily insisted he wasn’t trying to do that. But if we’re monogamous and want to stay monogamous, why go into a dark room at all? > DUDE INTO MONOGAMY

If it was your boyfriend’s intent to reopen negotiations about monogamy while horny men circled you in a dark room, DIM, that wouldn’t be okay. But it is possible for monogamous couples to enter sexually charged environments like dark rooms, sex parties, or swingers clubs and emerge with their monogamous commitments intact. It’s advisable even—or at least I’ve advised monogamous couples who want to keep things hot to visit those kinds of spaces. Go in for the erotic charge, soak it up, and plow that energy into each other. So next time, go down there. You might have to bat a few hands away, but once the other guys realize you two aren’t there for anyone else, they’ll turn their attentions to others who are. On the Lovecast, poly expert Cunning Minx: savagelovecast.com . Email: mail@savagelove.net. Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage . ITMFA.org.

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The Georgia Straight - Opera Fest - April 19, 2018  

Issue #2623

The Georgia Straight - Opera Fest - April 19, 2018  

Issue #2623