FREE | MAY 13 – 20 / 2021 Volume 55 | Number 2778
DEFENDING EAST VAN
Port’s ambitions under fire
HOUSING DEBATE Eby-Yan study in spotlight
Star B.C. violinist Chloe Kim headlines Music on Main’s virtual festival; plus, the VSO presents 100 performances on its Day of Music
Henry admits to limited data on COVID spread in schools
CONTENTS 10 COVER
Vancouver-born violinist Chloe Kim was supposed to be performing in Europe and the United States, but due to the pandemic, she’ll be at a new Music on Main festival.
by Charlie Smith
or many months, Dr. Bonnie Henry has been claiming that B.C. schools and daycares are safe. But in a May 10 briefing to reporters, the provincial health officer conceded that information isn’t always available regarding COVID-19 transmissions in these settings. “In terms of the data we have, unfortunately, our surveillance data is limited in both those areas,” Henry said. “So we will present and continue to present what we do have.” Henry also acknowledged that there’s no information available on exactly who transmitted the virus to whom in schools and daycare facilities. But, she added, there have been “deep dives” into some of these situations in schools in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions. In addition, Henry noted that there have been some “small outbreaks in transmissions in childcare centres”. And she urged workers in these centres to get vaccinated. “Childcare workers and school staff have been prioritized for immunization,” Henry emphasized. “And immunization has been very high in school staff across the province. Less so in people who work in childcare.”
By Charlie Smith Cover photo by Kelsey Goodwin
The B.C. government is discouraging new communities of float homes, but that hasn’t dimmed the passions of those who love them. By Carlito Pablo
C.C. Voltage reveals his life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and what’s sitting beside the bottle of ketchup inside his refrigerator. Dr. Bonnie Henry wants daycare workers to get vaccinated after some “small outbreaks”.
Her comments came after the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control accepting that COVID-19 is spread through airborne transmission. Until April 22, Vancouver Coastal Health maintained on its website that “there is no reported evidence of airborne transmission”. The Straight fi rst raised the possibility of airborne transmission in July 2020 after an article on this topic appeared in the journal Nature. g
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EDITOR Charlie Smith GENERAL MANAGER (ACTING) Sandra Oswald SECTION EDITORS Mike Usinger (ESports/Liquor/Music) Steve Newton SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy STAFF WRITERS Carlito Pablo (Real Estate) Craig Takeuchi SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT Jeff Li
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MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
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Here’s what people are reading this week on Straight.com.
Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 55 | Number 2778
May 13 – 20 / 2021
1 2 3 4 5
United Nations gang member murdered at Vancouver airport. Vancouver Special is replaced by duplex—and price doubles, too. Atmospheric-chemistry expert gives history lesson on airborne COVID-19. Time for a truce in our annual war with Vancouver’s crows. Two mountaineers fined and banned from Grouse Mountain for cutting trees. @GeorgiaStraight
ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER Janet McDonald GRAPHIC DESIGNER Miguel Hernandez PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Mike Correia ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Glenn Cohen, Catherine Tickle, Robyn Marsh (On-Leave), David Pearlman (On-Leave) CONTENT AND MARKETING SPECIALISTS Alina Blackett, Rachel Moore CREDIT MANAGER Shannon Li ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR Tamara Robinson
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Port’s ambitions pose threat to East Van way of life
by Heather Redfern
ull disclaimer: I am a born-andbred East Vancouver superfan. This vibrant, grassroots neighbourhood has nurtured my career, which now finds me proudly leading the Cultch (Vancouver East Cultural Centre)—a really cool arts centre firmly grounded in its East Vancouver roots. Ask anyone around here and they’ll tell you that East Van is a special place. Rich with demographic and cultural diversity, we are ground zero for grassroots activism and progressive thinking. The arts thrive here; long-running institutions like ours are woven into the community fabric. Arts groups are showing incredible resilience as they continue to enrich the
community during the pandemic. For example, our annual East Van Panto, a holiday tradition for many, was livestreamed into thousands of homes all over the country and around the world last December from the York Theatre. Along with local artists and community partners, we continue to bring a full season of performance into your homes. As if the global pandemic wasn’t a big enough challenge, we are now facing another threat that hits much closer to home: the Port of Vancouver. I was dismayed to learn about the Port’s little-known vision to build a huge shipping-container terminal at the foot of Victoria Drive. If you haven’t heard of the port’s con-
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The executive director of the Cultch, Heather Redfern, writes that the Port of Vancouver’s plans for the waterfront will force out a company that supports arts and helps the poor. Photo by Wendy D.
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tainer ambitions on the south shore, you’re not alone. This sprawling terminal will change the shore and skyline of East Vancouver. People along the Clark Drive corridor are already choking with vehicle exhaust. How will fumes from more commercial trucks affect our health? It is not okay to use our precious neighbourhood as a corridor to move more huge containers and to threaten our waters with even larger container vessels. There will also be significant impacts to community-oriented businesses that call our neighbourhood home. One of our biggest financial supporters for the past 25 years is the family-owned West Coast Reduction. They could lose their long-time home at the Port with this massive expansion. West Coast Reduction is working to fight climate change through renewablebiofuel production. It pays restaurants for their used cooking oil and puts money back into the hands of food processors by paying them for meat scraps that would otherwise end up in the trash. It also ships most of the canola oil farmed in the Prairies to international markets and recycles agricultural waste by turning it into useful products like pet food, livestock feed, and soap. It’s been doing this work from the Port in East Vancouver since 1964. It’s a local business that gives where it lives. As a steadfast supporter of charitable organizations in the neighbourhood, West Coast Reduction helps us pay salaries and keep the lights on, quite literally, year after year. That local giving extends beyond the Cultch to include the Kettle Society,
Eastside Culture Crawl, and Union Gospel Mission. Thanks to this generosity, we are able to both provide free tickets to those who otherwise could not afford them and pay professional artists decent fees for their work. The collateral damage in the Port’s development ambitions will hurt us all. The very fabric of East Van is being undermined by a disregard for the people and businesses that make it unique. More containers full of foreign goods destined for U.S. markets will not strengthen our local economy. The Port needs to realize that it must have meaningful consultation with our community. We must be active participants in decisions that could have long-term ramifications on where we live, work, and play. How dare it move ahead and ignore the people that will be most affected? Our neighbourhood has the largest concentration of Indigenous peoples in the city. Where is the respectful consultation this community deserves? The Cultch was significant in my development as an arts worker. It is part of a neighbourhood that includes the Port and has been informed by the Port’s industrial operations and priorities. When I was a kid you could actually go onto the docks and see the ships. I cannot sit idly by while the Port of Vancouver redraws our neighbourhood landscape, creating more traffic, noise, and pollution. Spread the word so our collective voice rings louder. g Heather Redfern is executive director of the Cultch, which operates three theatres, a gallery, and various multi-use spaces in East Vancouver.
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Provincial policy discourages more float homes
by Carlito Pablo
oug Taylor swears by the view from his home. “Oh, my goodness,” Taylor says about the Vancouver skyline, especially at night. “It’s just beautiful.” Taylor lives on a float home on Burrard Inlet with his wife, Jewel, in North Vancouver. Moreover, Taylor works as a realtor, and his listings include float homes. As someone who has lived in one since 2012, Taylor can tell clients from personal experience about the joys of living on the water. Taylor’s float home is at the Creek Marina and Boatyard. The Squamish Nation owns the marina, and the float-home village was established in 2010. The village is one of a few in B.C. In a separate interview, Kelly McCloskey noted that developing new ones hasn’t been easy. McCloskey is a resident at Ladner Reach Marina and the president of the Floating Home Association of B.C. (FHABC). He said that the B.C. government has a long-standing policy of not encouraging new communities. “Their official policy is no new floating-home community developments,” McCloskey told the Straight by phone. He explained that this is a huge hurdle because the B.C. government owns most of the province’s foreshore at streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Foreshore areas consist of the land between low and high water. “We’ve approached the government and asked them to revisit and revise that policy because today’s floating-home communities are very vibrant,” McCloskey said. A January 21, 2019, version of the province’s policy defines a float home as a “structure built on a floatation system”. It is “used for permanent residential habitation and is not intended for navigation, nor
All the float homes at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf have access to potable water, 30-amp power, and sewage hookups to prevent discharge of “black water”. Photo by Sandy McKellar.
usable as a navigable craft”. Meanwhile, a float-home community “includes two or more floating homes that are physically connected to the shoreland and to each other by a common walkway or ramp”. It is “serviced by a potable water system, electrical system, and sewage disposal system approved by the responsible authority”. “Applications for floating home community use of aquatic Crown land will not be accepted,” the policy states. The province defines aquatic Crown land as “all the land, including the foreshore, from the high water mark out to the limits of provincial jurisdiction”. However, a regional executive director with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, which is the agency responsible for implementing the policy, “may accept a written proposal from a proponent”. The policy provides that such a proposal
should have the support of local government. FHABC secretary and spokesperson Sandy McKellar told the Straight that there are about 800 float homes across the province. She recalled that the province’s policy of not encouraging new communities started sometime in the 1990s. McKellar thinks it may have something to do with early float homes associated with logging and fishing camps. They were towed from one location to another. “They were, essentially, water squatters,” McKellar said. In contrast, McKellar noted that today’s homes stay in one location and are hooked up to utilities, especially sewage. “A floating home is connected to an address, and it stays there,” McKellar said. McCloskey said the FHABC does not promote float homes as an “entry level” form of housing. He explained that although the homes generally cost less than
a land-based house, they come with moorage fees that some may find quite high. For example, the moorage fee of a home for sale at the Sea Island Village Marina on Granville Island in Vancouver amounts to $941 per month. Taylor listed the 4-1301 Johnston Street property with an asking price of $1,295,00. He said in the interview that he has received offers for the two-bedroom residence. The Straight asked McCloskey if there is a case to be made about the need for more float-home communities as part of discussions around housing in general. McCloskey said the argument for this is mainly about increasing the current limited opportunities for those who want a lifestyle connected with this form of housing. “There’s tiny homes, too, and tiny homes will never drive a tremendous amount of supply to the market. But as a component, tiny homes play a role, and so I think floating homes fit very much into that same kind of diversified opportunity.” In North Vancouver, Taylor recalled that he and his wife bought their first float home in 2012 at the Creek Marina and Boatyard after their three children moved out. “I was cutting the grass and the hedges and, you know, maintaining a house, and we decided we’d like to travel and do some bit of a different lifestyle,” Taylor related. They later sold that one and acquired another. Last year, they moved into another one, also in the same marina. “It’s a very relaxing lifestyle,” Taylor said. “When you come down onto the water, you feel like you’ve left the city. So I tell people it’s sort of like living at the cottage or a vacation home all year long.” g
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Yan’s 2015 study still stirs foreign-money debate
by Charlie Smith
ive years ago, I knew something weird was going on in Vancouver when I wrote a column in response to an article by Pete McMartin in the Vancouver Sun. McMartin suggested that racism was underlying some of the public’s reaction to the overheated real-estate market. My column focused attention on boomer journalists who lived through an ugly raced-based housing debate in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For this, I was pilloried on social media. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The same thing occurred nearly a year earlier when Straight contributor Matt Hern wrote a column arguing that Vancouver’s core real-estate problem was “profiteering”—not whether buyers were of Chinese ancestry. He, too, was roasted. A similar thing also happened to former Straight reporter Travis Lupick when he wrote a two-part series in 2016 about how the foreign-buyers narrative came to dominate Vancouver media coverage of housing issues. Andy Yan, now the director of SFU’s City Program, was one of those who took exception. He was irritated by longtime antiractist activist Victor Wong’s comments about one of Yan’s housing studies.
Housing researcher Andy Yan (left, photo by SFU), now director of the City Program at SFU, worked with Attorney General David Eby on a 2015 study that Eby has since apologized for.
Wong said that when Yan used nonanglicized Chinese names as a “proxy” in a paper about 172 housing transactions, it conflated foreign nonresidents with newcomers who live here and who have the right to buy whatever home they like. This month, Wong pointed out that foreign buyers accounted for fewer than one percent of the $15 billion in residential transactions in Vancouver last year. It came in the wake of Bloomberg announcing that Vancouver is the anti-Asian “hate crime capital” of North America.
Recently, Attorney General David Eby told the provincial money-laundering inquiry that he was sorry for supplying landtitle information to Yan for his study. Yan has expressed no public regrets. Rather, he declared gratitude over Twitter to “the diverse community behind me and the scholars and researchers on whose shoulders and work I stand on”. His admirers also remain firmly supportive. Justin Fung, a cofounder of one group that’s been raising the alarm about
foreign money for years, tweeted that Yan should be given the key to the city. Fung also emphasized over Twitter how people forget that the B.C. Liberals “had deliberately not collected data on where homebuyers were coming from”. Data analyst Jennifer Bradshaw, on the other hand, maintained that Yan “filled a void for ‘data’ that could be used to confirm what everyone wanted to hear: that the housing crisis wasn’t caused by decades of underfunding social housing or a housing system ‘built by white people to enrich generations of white people’.” Bradshaw also tweeted that Yan’s data offered journalists like Kerry Gold, Douglas Todd, and Lynda Steele what they wanted to hear: that high housing prices were “rich Asians’ fault”. “Any tiny piece of ‘data’ would do, no matter how tiny and insignificant,” Bradshare insisted. “And Yan provided it, and thus, the scapegoat donned its paper thin veneer of respectability. “That was enough for so many of the rich ruling class, many of whom have enjoyed intergenerational real estate wealth in their family, to not look in the mirror,” she added. g
MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
What’s In Your Fridge: Pickles fan C.C. Voltage
by Mike Usinger
hat’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.
of the OG punks in Vancouver spent time hanging out with them and members of the Clash during this time. ALL-TIME FAVOURITE VIDEO
L.A. Drugz “Outside Place” I love this band! The video is based on the ’80s punk flick Repo Man (Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez). All the best scenes from the movie are hilariously remade and they shot all over Los Angeles in places like the L.A. River, Boyle Heights, downtown, and Griffith Park. Another brilliant part to this song is that allegedly, the singer, Justin Maurer, wrote the song to his dog with the chorus line of “Let me take you to the outside place, let me take you to the human race.” You’ll also see cameos from members of bands like Images, the Reflectors, Maniac, Suspect Parts, the Cute Lepers and Clorox Girls.
WHO ARE YOU
During my very short time as an electrician’s apprentice, I became known as C.C. Voltage, and it’s served me well for many years. I’ve been involved in a number of musical projects spanning from Vancouver to London to Berlin. I also dabble in artist management and do publicity for artists via Nice Marmot PR. I’m currently part of the new wave/power pop trio known as Autogramm, and our new album, No Rules, was just released via Los Angeles-based Nevado Records. You can find the gorgeous colour-vinyl LP in all the local record stores.
WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE
Although there was a time I foolishly lied and told people my first concert was Van Halen. The truth is, it was the band a-ha at Expo 86. I was a pre-teen super fan, and I was able to go alone with my friend from next door, because he was a little older. We were super excited, and there were kids our age everywhere you looked. The singer came on stage doing a handstand on a skateboard, which to us was even more spectacular because we had just started skateboarding ourselves. I’m sure the kids from the city would have been listening to Black Flag and doing backside bonelesses at China Creek, but we were from the ’burbs and to us these guys were gods. I remember losing my mind when I thought the singer pointed directly at me. I finally saw Van Halen in 2007 when David Lee Roth rejoined the band. It was awesome, but even though as a kid I didn’t like Michael Anthony, he sure would have been better than Wolfgang. LIFE-CHANGING CONCERT
A few years later, probably 1989, I was much more invested in the skateboarding and punk music scene and D.R.I. was one of my favourite bands. One of our older pals drove us in from Abbotsford to Vancouver to see them play at the New York Theatre. It was on their Crossover album tour. I guess that album started getting them a more macho crowd, and all sorts of scary skins and death-metal dudes from Surrey were there. I remember them shoving innocent people around outside the club, saying, “See you in the pit!”. I didn’t go anywhere near the pit, but that was my first real punk show, and I wasmesmer8
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
A few of C.C. Voltage’s favourite things are sauerkraut, L.A. Drugz, the Go-Go’s, skateboarding ‘80s synthpop acts, and plunking himself down in the middle of parking stalls marked “Private.”
I foolishly lied and told people my first concert was Van Halen. The truth is, it was the band a-ha… – C.C. Voltage
ized by the energy of the band and the absolute chaos of the crowd. I joined a punk band called Thumbscrew after that! TOP THREE RECORDS
This changes from week to week, but in high rotation right now: The Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat I remember as a kid being in a hotel room and wanting to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High with my parents. They told me I wasn’t old enough, but I saw enough of the film to hear “We Got the Beat” and that became the forbidden fruit that informed a lot of my musical taste. I love that era of music, where punk and pop collided with synthesizers in the early ’80s. No one touches the Go-Go’s though, and I’ll have a crush on Belinda Carlisle for eternity. More Kicks More Kicks I came across London (U.K.) songwriter James Sullivan via my old bandmate Rich Jones. He’s been
MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
called the Paul McCartney of punk by some. This album is his latest project, and I can’t get enough of it. It’s got all the heartfelt lyrics you want in a pop album and all the Ramones licks you need in a punk album. Plus, his British accent cuts through just enough to make it awesomely endearing. Doesn’t hurt that he’s also got this released on some of the coolest international labels like Beluga, Snap, Dirt Cult, Wanda, and Adrenalin Fix. The Professionals I Didn’t See It Coming This is the album released by the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook and Steve Jones after they broke up and spent some time blowing recordlabel advances in Brazil. I remember trying to find this album everywhere, and finally tracked one down in Stockholm, Sweden. In the good old days before you could just click around the Internet for 10 minutes and have it shipped. More importantly, however, the Professionals spent a chunk of time filming the movie Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains in Vancouver. Apparently, many
Sauerkraut Living in Berlin for the best part of a decade does something to you, I guess. This is now a staple in the house, and the more mouth-puckering the better. If possible, I always go Russian, and with as little English writing on the label as possible. The Russian supermarkets in East Berlin would have sauerkraut aisles like we have chip aisles or baking goods aisles here. Make soup with it, throw it on your salad, wash your hair with it—there’s nothing you can’t do with it! Homemade Pickles Well, this isn’t too far off from the sauerkraut, but you have to understand the family history. The British grandparents and the Mennonite grandparents would battle over the supremacy of their respective pickle recipes. The Mennonite recipe would can the cukes hot and use chile peppers. The British recipe canned cold and used cloves. I can’t choose one side over the other with a clear conscience, so I’ve asked my parents to help me make both recipes for a few years now. Thanks guys! One of these days I hope to pass both recipes down. I have a clear winner for my personal taste, but that’ll have to be a secret I take to the grave. Haloumi. A staple in our fridge. Cut this delicious cheese up in thick slices and chuck it on the grill. Another throwback to life in Berlin. Perfect Einweggrill (one-use grills) food for eating with your pals at impromptu BBQ meetups in Görlitzer Park. Grab a Jever, some Gauloises, catch the M10 to Görli, and dance with the Kreuzbergers in the centre of the bomb crater. Haloumi always reminds me of the outdoors and good times with pals. g You can buy Autogramm’s autogramm.band.
Rajasthani restaurant marks a milestone in Indian cuisine
by Charlie Smith
ver the past year, it has seemed like Indian restaurants are popping up all over the place. There’s Bombay Kitchen and Bar (1480 West 11th Avenue), Bombay Flame (8265 Oak Street), Cilantro Indian Cuisine (189 West Broadway), Sula (4172 Main Street), and Saucin Staples (1073 West Broadway), to name just five within Vancouver city limits. This is a testament not only to the enduring popularity of Indian food but to the resourcefulness of South Asia entrepreneurs willing to take a chance in a pandemic. But only one eatery in the region offers the cuisine of Rajasthan. This is an Indian state best known for the Thar Desert, a.k.a. the Great Indian Desert, as well as some of the finest palaces in the world. In fact, Tatta Chulha (147 East Broadway), which opened in February, claims on its Twitter feed to be the only Rajasthani restaurant in all of Canada. Located in the former Chutney Villa, it’s purely vegetarian. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that three out of every four residents of Rajasthan don’t eat meat—the highest ratio of vegetarians of any state in India. Unlike many other Indian establishments, Tatta Chulha offers breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu includes several versions of parathas ($10.99), as well as Bedami Masala Poori and Aloo Sabji (four lentil breads served with potato curry for $9.99) and Methi Thepla (fenugreek-infused flatbread served with pickle for $9.99). For lunch and dinner, Tatta Chulha serves several thalis, which feature a selection of different dishes. The Takeout Dinner Thali ($17.99) includes one kadhi (onion fritters in yogurt), gatte (dumplings from chickpea flour), and a daily special veggie, rice, and dessert dish, along with four rotis and two parathas. Here’s something to keep in mind about the Rajasthani roti. Unlike what’s offered
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Vancouver’s first Rajasthani restaurant serves up several veggie thalis. Photo by Tatta Chulha.
in many Punjabi restaurants, it’s much smaller, about the size of a palm, with ghee added to soften the dough. As a result, it’s more delicate on the taste buds. Even though Tatta Chulha mentions “dessert” as part of its takeout thali, this word is not ordinarily used in connection with Rajasthani food. That’s because sweets are served at any time during the meal. Because Rajasthan is so hot and dry for much of the year, it’s not home to the lush vegetation found in southern Indian states such as Kerala and Karnataka. In Rajasthan, beans, ker (capers), and gunda (the so-called Indian cherry) are what thrive in the arid climate—and that’s reflected in the state’s cuisine. The owners of Tatta Chulha have renovated the interior, placing new booths on the eastern wall of the restaurant. They’re separated by Plexiglas, as are the booths on the western wall from the Chutney Villa era. This attention to safety is something for local vegetarians to consider for whenever the B.C. government allows a resumption in indoor dining. g
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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
Violin star finds pandemic peace by helping others
by Charlie Smith
aroque violinist Chloe Kim sees the arts as an essential service. That became abundantly clear to the rising superstar as she remained holed up during the pandemic in Victoria, where her mother lives. Kim, who was born in Vancouver, had graduated from the Juilliard School in 2020 and her career was rocketing forward with planned performances as a soloist in Paris, New York, and San Francisco. Plus, she had been offered a residency with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. “I had a slew of engagements that were cancelled due to the pandemic,” Kim, 24, told the Straight by phone. “This is still happening. I have quite a few in Ottawa that I can’t be there for because of the lockdown that Ontario is experiencing right now. I had a lot of transcontinental engagements that were cancelled, unfortunately—many in Europe that were postponed and probably indefinitely due to the current circumstances.” But rather than dwell on these negatives, Kim chose to do something positive. Last year, she launched a series of 11 livestreamed concerns, Music for the Pause, to keep her fellow musicians in Victoria creatively engaged. To her, it was inconceivable to ex-
I think there is something so valuable to ephemerality. – violinist Chloe Kim
Vancouver-born Chloe Kim had graduated from the Juilliard School in New York and was on her way to international stardom when the pandemic intervened. Photo by Mike Southworth.
perience a summer without music. And she almost cried when she was able to rehearse with her colleagues in Victoria. “We were able to raise upwards of $40,000 in support of musicians both here and from Vancouver,” Kim said with pride. Now Kim is scheduled to kick off a short
On ViEw UnTiL SePtEmBeR 6 TiCkEtS At VaNaRtGaLlErY.Bc.Ca Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery on behalf of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program, curated by Diana Freundl Interim Chief Curator/Associate Director. Sun Xun, Mythology or Rebellious Bone, 2020 (detail), ink, gold leaf, natural colour pigment on paper, Courtesy of the Artist and ShanghART Gallery
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MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
new virtual music festival in Vancouver called Listening. Together. (Yes, there are periods after both words.) She has already been filmed for the event playing music by her favourite composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. She described his writing as being like a mirror to her because it shows so much of performers’ musicianship while also reinforcing their humanity. “I was playing Bach’s D minor Partita with a chaconne, which is a piece that I’ve had since I was 10 or so,” she revealed. “It’s been a long time that that piece has been with me.” To her, the secret to playing her best is to be “absolutely present” with the music. She felt that playing for the production crew was like having an audience again. “There’s always some sort of magic that I associate with performing live like that,” Kim noted. “I think there is something so valuable to ephemerality. It makes the experience something private and incredibly special.” Put on by Music on Main, Listening. Together. is intended to create a connection among those who watch the performances or hear the artists’ talks, according to artistic director David Pay. In a phone interview with the Straight, Pay confessed to being “super excited” to work with Kim. “I was really thrilled that she was able to do a day trip from Victoria to Vancouver to film that Bach [music] with us,” he said. Pay added that the five shows are not simply videotaped concerts. Rather, they play to the strengths of the video format, with tight edits and talks and interviews inserted within the show to provide behind-the-scenes details that a person might not get at a concert. All of the events are free, featuring musicians Jonathan Lo, Saina Khaledi, Erika Switzer, Tyler Duncan, Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, Mark Takeshi
McGregor, Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, Julia Chien and Aaron Graham of Infamy Too!, and Julia Ulehla and Aram Bajakian of Dálava. One of the hallmarks of Music on Main is offering spaces for audiences to hang around and meet musicians after their performances. “We’re trying to create that feeling of knowing the artist more deeply and maybe understanding a bit more about how people are seeing the world right now,” Pay said. Kim’s parents are from Seoul, South Korea, and she appreciates that Music on Main has always valued inclusivity and equity. “They’ve been doing this for as long as they’ve been around,” Kim said. “I think it’s really important to show BIPOC artists in roles that are other than supporting-cast roles.” Her show coincides with Asian Heritage Month and comes at a time when people of Asian ancestry and their allies are rising up against anti-Asian hatred. Asked what she would like people to do this month, Kim responded:”Support your local Asian restaurants. I think it’s really important right now to be showing solidarity.” As for her musical inspirations, Kim began by citing Heilwig von Königslöw, who was her violin teacher during her formative years in Vancouver. Kim described her as an “absolute inspiration—at 72 years old, she is a cancer survivor who still goes skiing every season and she continues to play with Vancouver Opera”. Another role model has been British conductor and baroque violinist Monica Huggett, whom Kim described as a lifelong mentor and friend. Huggett invited Kim to join an all-women series of Vivaldi performances. “That tour is forever branded in my memory as one of the most powerful musical experiences because…it was a group of strong, very opinionated women who were all making this project come to life together,” Kim recalled. g Listening. Together. videos are available through Music on Main from Friday (May 14) until Tuesday (May 18).
Day of Music brings smorgasbord of free shows by Charlie Smith
aiming to produce 40 by the end of the season. That was on top of planning the 202122 season. “It’s a very new thing, of course, to just be visible online and not be there in the hall with your audience,” Tausk said. “It’s something we really miss, but at the same time, we’re doing something else that is also very rewarding.” The Day of Music was launched on January 26, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the VSO. It featured 12 hours of music with 100 acts and 15,000 audience members from across the Lower Mainland. Last April, the VSO planned to follow it up with outdoor stages along Granville,
Smithe, Seymour, and Robson streets, but that was kiboshed by the pandemic. Since the cancellations, Elster said that the VSO has had a year to learn how to better present music digitally. And she pointed to the mental-health benefits that come from listening to music in challenging times. “We’re continuing to be ambitious because we’re completely dedicated to the power of music and what it does for society,” Elster said. “And to be celebrating the power of music with musicians from all across the province is an honour and a delight.” g Visit DayofMusic.ca on May 15 to watch 100 free musical performances over 12 hours.
Maestro Otto Tausk is looking forward to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra livestreaming Czech composer Antonín Dvorák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments on its annual Day of Music.
he trailer for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra upcoming Day of Music is truly something to behold. As musical director Otto Tausk leads VSO players through Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s crashing 1812 Overture, rapid-fire edits show musicians of all sorts—jazz, traditional Chinese erhu, Indian sitar, blues, folk, and so on. They perform in a multitude of venues, including an underground parking lot and at Granville Island. From this video, it’s clear that something dramatic is about to take place on this, the VSO’s annual Day of Music. On May 15, more than 100 free performances featuring musicians from across B.C. will be released online on DayofMusic.ca. “It’s kind of a Netf lix model,” VSO president and CEO Angela Elster told the Straight by phone. “There are hubs. You can link to world music or you can link to classical music or you can link to jazz or you can link to choirs. There’s a wealth of music, a wealth of talent, a wealth of creativity.” The Day of Music also invites people to do yoga to classical music, if that’s their thing. UBC president Santa Ono, a talented cellist, will also participate, as will several choirs, the MEI Schools Marching Band, and scores of other artists. It will be eclectic and diverse. Tausk told the Straight by phone that as part of the Day of Music, the VSO plans to livestream Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D minor. Tausk described it as “a gorgeous piece celebrating music in a very energetic and positive way with some of the best wind writing ever produced by a composer”. “Dvořák is a composer that I love very much,” the maestro added. “People that
know the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra know Dvořák through the New World Symphony (Symphony No. 9). Now we’re presenting Dvořák in a different light, in a different way. Everything is different this season, so I thought that this would suit very well.” For Tausk and the musicians, livestreaming will offer the feeling of performing a concert, even though the audience will be watching the show virtually. He also said that this performance will likely be offered in the future on the VSO’s digital platform, ConcertHall.ca. There’s another reason, beyond showing a new side of Dvořák, that the VSO chose the Serenade for Wind Instruments. “Of course, we have to find works that actually fit on-stage,” Tausk acknowledged. “So if you want to do a Mahler symphony, it’s just not possible at this very moment.” And because musicians must keep their distance from one another, resulting in smaller contingents for each performance, it has changed the VSO’s repertoire this season. “You dive into all these new things that we hardly ever get to play, like the Gran Partita by Mozart that we played this season,” Tausk noted. It’s a different experience conducting an orchestra during a pandemic. Because he’s wearing a mask, the musicians can only see his eyes. This means that Tausk must show more with his hands so that the players get a better sense of the conductor’s intentions. Tausk expressed surprise by how resilient the VSO has been during the past year. Live performances in front of audiences came to an end on March 15, 2020, four days after the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is a pandemic. He pointed out that although orchestras around the world ceased making music, the VSO soldiered on with its digital concerts, MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
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Rare fabric reflects performer’s Filipino identity
by Carlito Pablo
t’s the finest and rarest of textiles from the Philippines. Made with fibres from pineapple leaves, piña (pronounced “pee-nyah”) is truly a luxury item. The textile is produced by only a few people from the province of Aklan in the central portion of the country. Because of its rarity, piña is reserved mostly for the barong tagalog, a formal men’s wear, and the terno, an elegant gown for women. For Ralph Escamillan, the sheer, lustrous fabric presents many layers of meanings. The Vancouver dance artist and choreographer was born and mostly raised in Canada. Escamillan accesses his mother’s Filipino culture, in part, through visual
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representations like clothing, and specifically the barong tagalog and terno. As an artist, costume plays a key role in the artist’s creative process. “When I design a costume, I’m thinking about how the dancer will interpret it, how it will look with the light, how it will sound against the music,” Escamillan told the Straight in a phone interview. In coming up with the concept for a new work, Escamillan was intrigued with the piña fibre that is intimately connected with those two items of clothing. He explained what although the fibre is transparent, it also lends itself to layering, as well. “For me, this idea of layering is like an accumulation of histories, of cultures,” Escamillan said. 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.
Choreographer and performance artist Ralph Escamillan says that a sheer textile woven from pineapple leaves in the Philippines represents a culture of resilience. Photo by Patrick Leung.
It is so exhausting to have to pretend to be nice to stupid people at work.
Oﬃce Life I have been working from home since last March and I never realized how much of my day was wasted on useless office birthday parties and events. A lot of productivity is lost just due to the workplace drama that occurs on a daily basis. So and so is married and slept with so and so. This person is talking about you behind your back and is trying to get you fired. Don’t get me wrong I miss going to coffee and some of the social interactions at work. I don’t miss the 1 hour commute and being forced to sit at a cubicle all day long. Most people don’t realize whether you have 4 hours of work or 8 hours of work you’re spending a large amount of your day just trying to look busy or stretch out your work for the day. Saving so much money not having to drive to work, pay for parking, or childcare expenses. I am getting twice as much work done and I hope I never go back to the office.
Straight forward If there’s one thing that turns me off, it’s people who are superficial hypocrites. I cannot relate to these types because I prefer to tell it like it is and be myself. My rule of thumb has always been to never say sorry or hello when you do not mean it. There’s nothing worse than bullshit.
5 months ago... I did some work for an old flame for free. They started the exchange with saying “I didn’t want you to think that I was contacting you because I needed something.” Haven’t heard from them since...
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to post a Confession MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
He noted that Filipino identity itself represents a layering of influences. These influences include Spanish colonization, which brought both Catholicism and the pineapple plant, the source of piña fabric. “We found a way to make it our own,” Escamillan said. Because the tradition of piña weaving survived through generations, there’s meaning to this as well. “It kind of embodies resilience,” he said. Another reason why Escamillan is interested in the fabric is because it evokes fragility on different levels. He notes that there is a lot of dialogue about how to protect the piña-weaving industry in the Philippines. And he added that the human body is delicate as well, which “makes you want to protect it and take care of it”. It’s the same for cultures, which can be fragile in the sense that it is “always shifting and that it is changing”. Escamillan’s new production work around piña is due out sometime in 2023, and he is not in a hurry. “It’s important for me to make sure I take the time,” he said. Meanwhile, Escamillan’s research continues, and he will offer his thoughts and exhibit some sketches in an online talk presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery. He will be joined at the event by fashion historian Gino Gonzales and textile designer Carlo Reporen Eliserio. g Ralph Escamillan’s online discussion takes place at 5 p.m. on Thursday (May 13). Register at vanartgallery.bc.ca/.
MOVIES / VIDEOS
Rumba Kings tells the story of Congolese rumba
by Steve Newton
n 2008, Peruvian director Alan Brain took a job as a full-time filmmaker for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While there, he worked on news shows and short-length documentaries for the UN, and he also filmed documentaries about urgent issues in the DRC such as human rights, internally displaced persons, women’s rights, and child abuse. But it wasn’t all work during Brain’s five-year sojourn in the Congo. An avid vocalist, he also started up a salsa band, and at one point one of the other singers in the group suggested that he check out some original Congolese music. He loaned Brain a CD of Congolese rumba music, and the filmmaker became an instant fan. “I grew up in Lima listening to Cuban music,” he explains through a thick Spanish accent on the phone from Morocco, “all these Afro-Cuban stars my mother used to love. She used to dance in the living room when I was a baby, and the Congolese rumba music had a bit of that Cuban music DNA in it, so it was like coming home.” Brain’s newly acquired love of Congolese rumba led him to eventually direct, coproduce, and edit The Rumba Kings, which had its world premiere at DOXA on May 6. The film portrays the rise to prominence of various rumba bands from Kinshasa (formerly Léopoldville), the cap-
Director Alan Brain’s work with a UN peacekeeping mission led him to appreciate Congoloese rumba music and its identification with freedom movements in the colonially exploited region.
ital and largest city of the DRC, a country that has suffered from decades of political instability, war, and corruption, as well as centuries of colonial exploitation. The Rumba Kings shows how groups like Le Grand Kallé et l’African Jazz and TPOK Jazz formed in the 1950s before gaining immense popularity and spawning their own national guitar heroes in players like “Docteur” Nico Kasanda and Franco Luambo, respectively. Using concert footage, interviews, and archival images, Brain’s film depicts how the development of Congolese rumba—basically a mixture of Cuban son and traditional Congolese music, with a big accent on elec-
tric guitar—became something like a call to freedom for the long-oppressed region, culminating in 1960’s “Indépendance Cha Cha”, a song that celebrated Congo’s independence and became an anthem for similar movements across the continent. The filmmaker says that it took him a while before he realized that that was the story he wanted to tell. “I didn’t want to just make a film about the development of the music,” he says, “ ‘cause that was too technical, too niche just for music lovers, music fans. I wanted to find a narrative, and I knew there was one there, but it took me a long time to see it, because sometimes we don’t see what we have in front of our eyes.”
Brain says that one of his personal favourite documentaries, the one that inspired him the most, is Playing for Change, Mark Johnson’s 2003 film that celebrates the freedom and lives of street musicians in America. He’s hoping that The Rumba Kings has a similarly galvanizing effect on viewers. “What I hope they take away is the power of music, right, the power of music in creating hope, in giving hope, in providing a space of resistance against oppression. And maybe, hopefully, also it could help people see that the world is vast, you know, that the music of the world is vast. “I can tell you something amazing,” he adds. “Many times in Congo I have been with friends who are musicians who didn’t even know the Beatles! They didn’t know Neil Young! And I love Neil Young! I am a big fan of the Guess Who, Neil Young. I love rock. “And so I travelled there with all my CDs, and I have introduced some of my musicians there to Neil Young, and to the Beatles. They love it, but it didn’t get to them because the world is vast. A lot of the great cultural expressions from Africa are not easy to be found outside, and that goes the other way also.” g The Rumba Kings, in French and Lingala with English subtitles, streams until May 16 as part of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival.
Devours gets mondo trippy with “Yoshi’s Revenge”
by Mike Usinger
ver find yourself sitting there asking “What the hell did I just see?” Like that time you watched Blue Velvet for the first time after dropping three tabs of Orange Sunshine. Or drank in the video for Starcrawler’s “Bet My Brains” after going down a postBlue Velvet YouTube rabbit hole that, following three horse tranquilizers, started with revisiting Frank Booth’s “Love letter” soliloquy in the workyard. Or took another hit on the bong while having your mind warped by “harold snepsts at dave schultz kings”, which, for some entirely unfathomable reason, is set to what sounds like a ’50s jazz 45 that’s been left in the sun for three days and then played on 33 through a 1920s phonograph. Add “Yoshi’s Revenge” by Devours to the above blue-ribbon list. (Check it out on YouTube.) The last time we heard from Vancouver-via-Nanaimo artist Jeff Cancade in his Devours guise, he was tackling big issues—everything from sexuality to selfesteem—with 2019’s Iconoclast. Since then, he’s been nothing if not am-
Devours eventually accepted that going to Second Beach sans sunscreen was foolhardy.
bitious, including releasing a side project record last year under the name of Golden Age of Wrestling. Somewhere along the line he began using his COVID-19 downtime to write and record a double album called Escape From Planet Devours, which heads our way in mid-May. From Pink Floyd’s The Wall to Hüsker
Dü’s Zen Arcade, there’s a reason artists make double albums: they’ve got a story to tell and need a sprawling canvas on which to do so. That’s seemingly the case with Escape from Planet Devours, which will be released on Cancade’s own surviving the game imprint. In announcing the record, the artist sets things up with: “The double album is heavily inspired by mid-’90s action blockbusters, such as Speed, True Lies, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. I didn’t have any gay action stars to look up to when I was young, so I transformed into one for this album cycle. Thematically, the albums are both about escaping - from mainstream culture, impossible beauty standards, depression, isolation, aging, and masculinity. It’s also about feeling hopeless as a musician in Vancouver and battling to stay afloat.” But back to the reason that we’re here today: the video for “Yoshi’s Revenge” off Escape From Planet Devours. After a bit of misleading advertising (unless Universal truly did bankroll things), we get a hint Cancade might once again be using
songwriting as a form of therapy. Hence the song’s opening lines: “It’s official/We need to break up/I gave you head, I gave you space/ But I’ll never replace your true love”. And then things get mondo, mondo trippy. As Cancade sits there chugging energy drinks and hoisting mini-barbells, the screen behind him is a channel-surfers’ fever dream. Buckle in for a tribute to Speed, seemingly reimagined by the Doodlebops via Troma Studios. The midday parking lot raves located somewhere south of Gothville, U.S.A. Eighties sitcom footage where the only thing that’s missing is the Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” blaring on the vintage Pioneer stereo. Grainy “Just Say No” cartoon action that, in the same way as the immortal Sarah T.—Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, makes you want to say “Fuck yes!!” And, well, you should get the idea by now. Watch in wonder, knowing there’s really no way to answer the question “What did I just see?” g You can advance order Escape from Planet Devours at devours.bandcamp.com/.
MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
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Gay-porn performers juggle alter egos, real life by Dan Savage
b I’M SOMEONE WHO does gay porn for a living. How do people who do gay porn meet someone who doesn’t just sexualize or fetishize them? I can’t eat, sleep, and breathe my work constantly, but the guys I meet want me to live out the “porn persona” version of myself all the time. How does someone who does porn know who you can be yourself with? - Aiden Ward/@aidenxxxward
“Living with two identities is definitely a balancing act,” said Devin Franco, an awardwinning gay-porn performer. “Being in porn means juggling the ‘real world’ person I actually am—a person who has to navigate rent, healthcare, bills, and a social life—and a porn star alter ego. And these days our porn alter egos don’t just have to perform. We also have to do a lot of our own shooting and our own PR while maintaining our images. It’s a lot. And reality always comes knocking no matter how much fun you’re having. The bills always come due.” Franco’s first bit of advice is to remember that you are not your alter ego. “It’s a beautiful and sexy part of you that you have the opportunity to show to the world,” said Franco. “But it’s not all of you.
That will help you stay grounded.” It also helps to remember that being “porn famous” doesn’t mean everyone knows who you are. “A lot of people you meet will have no idea who you are,” said Franco, “which means a lot of the time you’ll get to choose when you want to introduce yourself as your porn alter ego or when you want to just be yourself. This makes it easier to create boundaries between your real life and your porn life. Knowing you get to decide when or even if you want to introduce yourself as your actual self or as that fantasy version of yourself—your alter ego—means you can control how a lot of people perceive you.” So even if you get as porn famous as Franco is, Aiden, you’ll still have lots of opportunities for people to get to know the real you—not the porn persona—before you tell them what you do for a living. As with so many things (being HIV+, being trans, being kinky, being polyam, etcetera), when you tell a guy you do porn, Aiden, you’re telling him one thing he needs to know about you—but his reaction will tell you everything you need to know about him. If he starts shaming you about what you do— or if he goes from seeing you as a person
NOTICE OF INTENT RE: LIQUOR CONTROL AND LICENSING ACT APPLICATION FOR A NEW LIQUOR PRIMARY LICENCE AND CHANGE OF HOURS A.N.A.F. #298 has applied to transition from a private liquor primary club licence to a public liquor primary licence and change of operating hours at 3917 Main Street, Vancouver. Person capacity will be 150 persons inside. Hours of liquor service will change to 9 AM to 1 AM Sunday to Thursday and 9 AM to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Residents and owners of businesses located within a 0.5 mile (0.8 km) radius of the proposed site may comment on this proposal by: 1) Writing to: THE GENERAL MANAGER C/O Senior Licensing Analyst LIQUOR CONTROL AND LICENSING BRANCH PO BOX 9292 Victoria, BC V8W 9J8 2) Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org PETITIONS AND FORM LETTERS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED To ensure the consideration of your views, your comments, name and address must be received on or before June 2nd. Please note that your comments may be made available to the applicant or local government officials where disclosure is necessary to administer the licensing process.
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MAY 13 – 20 / 2021
Porn star Devin Franco advises a reader who works in gay porn to choose when and to whom he wants to disclose his alter ego in order to create boundaries between work and real life.
who is also an object to seeing you as just an object—that’s really all you need to know: don’t see him; unfollow him; block him. “Now, lots of the people who fetishize and sexualize you are your fans: they’re your audience, they’re the ones who pay your bills, and you have to recognize that and you do have to keep them interested,” said Franco, “but you don’t have to give them all of your time and attention. Because at the end of the day, it’s your work and you’ve got other shit to do. You will meet people both in and out of the industry who recognize that you are a real person with a real life and who will get to know the real you. And you’ll sometimes find that some of the people who fetishized you at first don’t anymore once they get to know the real you.” Franco shared your question with CagedJock, another high-profile porn star that Franco works with regularly, and CagedJock shared his strategy for finding guys he can be himself around: “I like to hang out with people who work in the same industry,” said CagedJock, “because they don’t sexualize me. Devin and I have been friends since 2019. He’s supersexy and I adore him. While other guys might see him only as a fantasy figure, I don’t. Because I know our work doesn’t define us 24/7. We’re friends.” Follow Devin Franco on Twitter @devinfrancoxxx and CagedJock @cagedjock. b I’M A GAY male in his 30s, and during the pandemic I stayed with a straight male friend and his girlfriend. He’d periodically been flirty with me over the years—sending me nude photos and drunkenly telling me that he loved me. When his girlfriend was away visiting family we got drunk together. He
bought all the alcohol, he mixed it, and he served it. During this time we had a series of drunken encounters.. His girlfriend found out about one of the incidents. After a month of drama, he told her everything and they broke up. Shortly after, he claimed I took advantage of him and claimed he was too drunk to give consent! I am not sure if he is gaslighting me or if he honestly remembers things differently. - Boy Lost And Hurt
At some point in our gay lives every gay man
learns not to mess around with a friend’s drunk straight-identified boyfriend. No matter how many dick pics they send us, no matter how much they claim to wanna, when it comes to shit—as it invariably does—the gay guy is gonna get the blame. Anyway, your male former friend obviously wanted to mess around with another dude—he wasn’t sending you dick pics by accident—and the drinks he made were as much about lowering his inhibitions and yours as they were giving him some plausible deniability (“Man, I was so drunk last night!”) if the worst should happen. And it did: you fucked around; she found out. You could send those dick pics, but you shouldn’t—as wrong as it was of him to weaponize an antigay stereotype against you, BLAH, using his dick pics against him would also be wrong. And probably a crime under revenge-porn statutes. But you have every right to push back against the accusation that you forced yourself on your former friend—and while you have the receipts and he knows it, BLAH, you shouldn’t produce them. Maybe just knowing you have them will make you feel better. g
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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. Join a FREE YWCA Single Mothers support group in your local community. Share information, experiences and resources. Child care is provided for a nominal fee. For information call 604-895-5789 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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o/a Kozak Homemade Ukrainian Food is looking for Food Service Supervisors. Job location: 5077 Victoria Dr, Vancouver BC, V5P 3T9. Perm, F/T, Shifts, Weekends $17.30/h, extended health benefits. Requirements: Good English, several years of experience, high school. Main duties: Supervise the activities of workers; Prepare work schedules; Hire and train employees, assign workers to duties; Order supplies; Oversee quality control standards, sanitation and safety procedures; Prepare and submit reports; Resolve customer complaints; Maintain records of stock. Company’s business address: 444 Sixth St, New Westminster, BC V3L 3B3 Please apply by e-mail: email@example.com
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THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 15 3 MAYJUNE 13 –25 20–/JULY 20212 / 2020 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT
MAY 13 – 20 / 2021