JUNE 20 - 27 / 2019 | FREE Volume 53 | Number 2683
Svend Robinson says it’s not over
PATIO TIME Check out these gems
GIACOMETTI REVEALED VAG show delivers
Jazz Fest The Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God looks back on the group’s 27-year evolution; plus, the Roots’ Tariq Trotter, a.k.a. Black Thought, opens up about overcoming hard times
David Hay Q.C. Voted BEST BIKE LAWYER in 2018 by The Georgia Straight Advocate for the cycling community for 30+ years, powered by an exceptional team of Personal Injury lawyers dedicated to protecting your rights, Chair of the Road Safety Law Reform Group, fighting for legislative and infrastructure change to support cyclists.
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June 20 – 27 / 2019
The Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God reflects on 27 years in the rap game and the myths surrounding his group. By Kate Wilson Cover photo by Kyle Christy
Burnaby North–Seymour NDP candidate Svend Robinson says a minority government could overturn the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. By Charlie Smith
It’s patio season in Vancouver, so here are some ideal spots for lingering over lunch, dinner, or a cold one. By Gail Johnson
17 ARTS Skilled workers are in high demand in British Columbia. Explore ways to get skilled and get ahead in a new career.
RuPaul’s Drag Race star and violin master Thorgy Thor injects the classical-concert scene with a sense of fun. By Alexander Varty
Access to careers and education Monday, June 24, 10:30 a.m. – room 516
Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Don’t Die covers old ground; sanitized Journey of the Fakir is a foreign film for noobs; a smartly scripted Late Night falters at the finish.
Dental technology Tuesday, June 25, 10 a.m. – room 334
Automotive trades Tuesday, June 25, 11 a.m. – lobby 4th floor, building A
Jewellery art and design Tuesday, June 25, 2 p.m. – room 160
Adult special education Tuesday, June 25, 3 p.m. – room 522
e Start Here 20 ARTS HOT TICKET 17 ARTS TIP SHEET 14 CONFESSIONS 9 HOROSCOPES 16 I SAW YOU 6 REAL ESTATE 23 SAVAGE LOVE 18 THEATRE 17 VISUAL ARTS
Medical transcriptionist Tuesday, June 25, 4 p.m. – room 622
Access to practical nursing Wednesday, June 26, 9 a.m. – room 1206, building B
CAD and BIM (drafting) Wednesday, June 26, 4 p.m. – room 718
University transfer Tuesday, July 2, 1 p.m. – room 1228, building B
English as an additional language Tuesday, July 2, 1 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. – room 3501, building A
Check out more free info sessions at vcc.ca/info
e Listings 20 ARTS 16 MUSIC
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Pipeline fires up Svend Robinson
by Charlie Smith
he NDP candidate for North Burnaby–Seymour says there is a way to put the brakes on the $9.3-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which was announced on June 18 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Give us enough MPs in a minority government and we can stop this thing,” Svend Robinson told the Georgia Straight by phone. “It’s not a final done deal.” He pointed out that Indigenous people will fight the federal cabinet’s decision in the courts. But he emphasized that NDP and Green MPs can also play an important role in thwarting the Liberal government’s plans. “If there’s a minority government,
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as far as I’m concerned, they don’t get support if they move ahead on this project, which is a disaster for my community,” he insisted. Robinson said that the Liberal MP for Burnaby North–Seymour, Terry Beech, and Trudeau both promised during the 2015 election campaign that any major energy project, including the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, must win the support of the community and partner First Nations. Otherwise, according to Robinson, they said that these proThe NDP’s Svend Robinson says that the jects wouldn’t proceed. Because the Squamish and Tsleil- Trans Mountain project poses a big risk. “It’s a betrayal of the commitment Waututh First Nations oppose the pipeline expansion, Robinson charac- to First Nations that live in the comterized their promises as a “betrayal”. munity,” he added. “That’s the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. The Tsleil-Waututh lands are entirely in Burnaby North–Seymour.” Another of Robinson’s major concerns is the addition of 14 new storage tanks on the Trans Mountain property at the foot of Burnaby Mountain, which are part of the expansion plan. Robinson said these will be close to a residential community. He also noted that there are 5,000 people living at the top of the mountain who will be trapped if the access road is cut off by a fire, earthquake, or anything else. “Burnaby Fire Department has said that this is a totally unacceptable risk,” Robinson said. “Yet they’re foisting this risk to the safety and the health and the lives of people in Burnaby
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with their approval of the project.” In a statement issued on June 18, Beech agreed that the tank farm does not belong on Burnaby Mountain. “I want our neighbours on the Mountain to know that on June 1st, the Prime Minister and I, along with Mayor [Mike] Hurley and the Burnaby Fire Department met to discuss how we can make Burnaby Mountain safer than it is today,” Beech wrote. “The Prime Minister assured our community that the necessary resources will be in place and that we will work directly with the Mayor and the Fire Department to ensure this is the case. “In the longer term, I will continue my work to move the tank farm to a more appropriate industrial location,” Beech added. Beech also told his constituents that “every incremental tax dollar generated from this project will be dedicated to a Green Low Carbon Transition Fund.” But that doesn’t impress Robinson, who pointed out that the downstream greenhouse-gas emissions each year from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will exceed the annual total carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions from the province of British Columbia. And the approval came a day after Liberal MPs voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency. “It calls into question the complete hypocrisy of this government,” the NDP politician claimed. g
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First Nations homes going into River District
by Carlito Pablo
Half the units in a planned public-housing project will go to Indigenous people.
ancouver’s River District will have a place for Indigenous residents. A housing project in the emerging neighbourhood will dedicate half of the planned 337 units to Aboriginal dwellers. The homes will be managed by the M’akola Housing Society, a Victoria-based organization that describes itself as the biggest provider of affordable housing for Indigenous people in the province. M’akola is working with the Community Land Trust (CLT), a socialpurpose real-estate developer and steward created by the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. The remaining half will be run as co-op housing. The plan involves one 26-storey tower and a six-level building. The development site is at 3338 Sawmill Crescent (formerly known as 3310 Marine Way), and the parcel is one of seven City of Vancouver– owned properties for which CLT was selected in 2018 as developer of affordable housing. In addition to 3338 Sawmill, the sites include a second River District location at 3183 and 3245 Pierview Crescent. For both sites, the city had specified that at least 30 percent of the dwelling units should be rented out at below-market rates, based on 2017 housing-income limits published by B.C. Housing. The city enumerated the following monthly rates: studio, $1,000; one bedroom, $1,125; two bedrooms, $1,388; and three bedrooms, $1,663. The River District is a 51-hectare locality bordered by Kerr Street, Boundary Road, Southeast Marine Drive, and the Fraser River. Formerly the home of the Canadian White Pine mill, the spot is now mostly owned by Wesgroup Properties (formerly Parklane Homes). The development plan for 3338 Sawmill is included in the agenda of the city’s Urban Design Panel meeting on Wednesday (June 26). g
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arking the sun’s entrance into Cancer, the summer solstice coincides with the start of Neptune retrograde. To the ancients, it was a time to celebrate life and living. On the metaphysical level, the sun at its high point allows for an expansion of consciousness and creative potential. On the mundane level, the solstice sets the tone for the next quarter of the year. Neptune is the tuning-fork planet. When travelling retrograde, Neptune gets more specific regarding the sound waves of consciousness (collective, personal, soul, higher). Neptune retrograde aims to unveil in order to pinpoint the most valuable/worthwhile of resources and potentials. As mentioned in last week’s column intro, Neptune has just hit the second of three pivot points with Jupiter, which is also travelling retrograde. Both in their home signs, Jupiter/Neptune are working to strip away illusion so that we may source from truth rather than from the myriad of cover-ups we create to fool ourselves or others. It is reflected in simple ways, such as saying “I’m fine” when you are not; and through the use of denial tactics (conscious or unconscious) to avoid the change, relinquishment, or sacrifice that facing that truth may require. Venus in Gemini triggers Jupiter/ Neptune on Sunday/Monday. This is a mobilizing, newsmaking, trendsetting, repeat-or-double-up-on-it transit. It can increase creativity, romance, profitability, and opportunity. On the other hand, it can increase dilemma, confusion, duality, or duplicity. Don’t assume. Check your facts. When in doubt, keep in observation mode; give yourself extra time to sort it out. Note also that Mercury (switching from Cancer to Leo on Wednesday) is just two weeks away from its next retrograde cycle.
March 20–April 20
Continue to feel your way along. Clarity is an unfolding process with several layers or steps to get through. Monday’s flow is good. Tuesday/Wednesday, the moon in Aries helps you to pinpoint what’s workable or desirable. Starting late Wednesday, Mercury in Leo boosts your confidence and success ratio. As the week closes out, you should feel you have made positive gains.
April 20–May 21
What has been lost can be found again. That statement applies to the things that matter most to your heart and soul. Neptune retrograde aims to put you back in touch with the parts of yourself you have lost along the way. Through Sunday/Monday, Venus intensifies the reevaluation process. The sun in Cancer is helpful for finding the support you need.
May 21–June 21
Some things are beyond your control. Some people/some hearts are beyond your reach. It can be time to let go and move on or to let go and let God. Venus in aspect to Jupiter/Neptune can bring you to a point of disillusionment or it can infuse you with renewed hope and faith. Remain honest with yourself and you will find what you seek.
June 21–July 22
Aimed at cracking the code, both Mars and Mercury have been doing a work-over on you—this at a here-and-now level and regarding the big-picture soul journey. This lengthy karmic review and script rewrite has now reached a turning point. It will stretch over the next month or few in some life-altering, breakthrough way.
and start of vacation season, you could find yourself at the start of a next phase or a completely altered reality, this regarding the heartspeak, a relationship, finances, or lifestyle. Someone of significance could enter or exit your life. Late Monday onward, it’s action time.
August 23–September 23
Significant inner change (outer too) takes time. Whether you feel forced by circumstance or compelled by the urging and wisdom of your heart, your stars will continue to support you to make the necessary breakthrough. Through Monday, go with the flow. Stay hopeful, but don’t jump too far ahead. Venus and the week ahead set you onto a fresh page or a next step.
September 23–October 23
Continuing to track time on the bigger-picture clock, the solstice officially sets a next page or phase into action, this regarding an important person, a career trajectory, personal needs, and priorities. While you are also nearing an end or goal post, there’s still plenty up in the air. Go by feel; let the moment guide you. The week ahead goes easier on you.
October 23–November 22
No plans for the weekend? Cancelling out of them? Good idea! After the recent big push, you deserve to unwind and relax. Give yourself extra time to explore, to feel your way along, and to listen to the voice of your heart. Sunday/ Monday could open up more and/ or give you more to go on. Tuesday onward, it’s time to resurface and hit Go again.
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January 20–February 18
Ease up on it and yourself through the weekend. Friday, Neptune’s shift to retrograde motion could derail your plans, focus, or good intentions. The sun’s tour through Cancer will show you what’s in need of more work, safeguarding, healing, or effort. Monday, things fall into place. Tuesday onward, you’ll gain a better sense of direction. The pace picks up.
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December 21–January 20
Neptune’s turn to retrograde can dissolve some of your preconceived notions regarding a potential, an ideal, or what to expect next. The sun in Cancer spotlights relationship needs, partnership matters, and comfort zones. If you need more support, speak up, ask for it. The place to start is to turn the good mothering in on yourself.
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November 22–December 21
Launched at the start of this year and extending through September, Jupiter and Neptune have set you onto a rich self-discovery chapter. Their second of three meetings (on Father’s Day), Neptune’s turn to retrograde on solstice Friday, and Venus in action Sunday/Monday mark the next phase of creative exploration and development. You can do no better than to fully immerse yourself. Take the plunge!
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February 18–March 20
Let the world spin without you for a little while. Take quality time out; a regroup does body, heart, and soul good through the weekend. If you lose your focus or sense of direction, it is only temporary. Sunday/Monday, Venus LEO adds more to the mix. Tuesday onJuly 22–August 23 ward, you’ll head on to something Venus surpasses both Ju- fresh or next. g piter (opposition) and Neptune (square) this weekend. Beyond Book a reading or sign up for Rose’s free marking the end of the school term monthly newsletter at rosemarcus.com/.
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ever mind ice cream: come summertime, we all scream for patio time. Vancouver has a plethora of spots for dining and drinking outdoors, from places with magnificent views to those that feel more like your buddy’s back yard. Far from a comprehensive list, here are a few patios worth sneaking away from work to visit or for having one of those languorous days when lunch turns into lingering right through to dinner.
nicely—but then so would a truffle grilled cheese. A Negroni or Aperol spritz would be our drink of choice at Di Beppe Caffè and Ristorante’s new patio. It has also launched a new cicchetti menu, meaning “small bites”, with options including tuna conserva with pickled pepper, and olive-and-navybean salad with Espelette pepper. Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio—Ambleside is spectacularly situated on West Vancouver’s waterfront, with views of the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, and Ambleside Beach. We’ll take the sashimi, nigiri, and caviar service with a pisco sour, please.
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by Gail Johnson
Georgia Straight readers picked Dockside Restaurant in the Granville Island Hotel as the city’s best patio in the 2019 Golden Plates awards. You can watch Aquabuses chug by and all sorts of paddlers ply False Creek while you nosh on dishes like the Oyama charcuterie forno pizza, grilled Kuterra salmon burger, or satisfying dinner salads. This year’s other finalists were Cactus Club Café (we’d suggest hitting the massive patio at English Bay) and Tap & Barrel (love the Coal Harbour location). NEWCOMERS
Papi’s Seafood and Oyster Bar boasts a chill outdoor space with a sweeping view of English Bay and the ultrapopular A-maze-ing Laughter sculptures. Enjoy it with light and bright
A plethora of Vancouver’s outdoor dining spots offer magnificent views.
dishes like ceviche or crudo, freshly shucked oysters (selection changes daily), and maybe a chocolate brownie with salted-caramel ice cream. H Tasting Lounge at the Westin Bayshore hotel recently opened the sliding glass doors to its stylin’ seaside (and seawall-side) patio, complete with a nine-metre-long fireplace that runs its length. Lobster, chilled mussels and clams, tuna carpaccio, and salmon tartare would all do
Hidden gem is an overused term, but there’s no denying there are some urban patios that are truly and delightfully tucked away. The Terrace at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Market by Jean-Georges is on the third floor and features a daily happy hour, plus live entertainment on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Bar manager Gianluigi Bosco recently launched a new drinks menu, which includes an inventive selection of spirit-free beverages, many with hydrosols, or flower waters, for complexity and flavour. He also meticulously hand-carves and brands the restaurant’s five different styles of ice
see page 14
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The Wu-Tang Clan thrives on rivalry by Kate Wilson
d THE WU-TANG BRAND might unite its several performers under one musical banner, but the key to the legendary rap crew has always been its members’ differences. The nine-man troupe counts personalities that range from fiery to cerebral, with nearly all finding additional outlets for their creativity beyond the music—be it Method Man’s silver-screen appearances, Ghostface Killah’s entrepreneurial streak, or GZA’s science advocacy. In the group’s earliest days, as now, those differing gifts and interests stirred up a healthy dose of competition. From the first record, producer and de facto leader RZA pitted members against each other to earn the right for their bars to grace a song. The Wu-Tang contract involved kicking a percentage of each performer’s solo profits back to the other members regardless of how much they contributed themselves—a tactic that was less socialist utopia and more wily rivalry. But the creative tension worked, powering the group out of the New York projects and onto the Billboard 100. Twenty-six years after their debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), exploded onto the New York streets, the Clansmen might be prone to interactions that range from brotherly ribbing to all-out fraternal fights, but—as RZA put it in an L.A. Times interview—“When steel rubs against steel, it makes both blades sharper.” “Everyone does [play their own role],” U-God, the Clansman known for his distinctive baritone and virtuoso flow, tells the Georgia Straight on the line from a Connecticut tour stop. “It’s like a football team. You’ve got a
hit the stage. As a result, Hawkins is not surprised that the Clan is still headlining events around the world more than a quarter-century later. “We worked very, very hard,” he says. “People don’t really realize how hard we worked to get to this level of the game. We were the first [rap] group ever to play the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. We’re talking about a place where you couldn’t be black. “There’s a lot of groups out here who are gonna wish they’ll be around
People don’t realize how hard we worked to get to this level of the game. – Lamont “U-God” Hawkins
The key to the success of the Wu-Tang Clan has always been the differences between the legendary group’s members.
quarterback, you’ve got a defensive line, you’ve got special teams, you’ve got receivers—you know.…At the end of the day, we all seeking perfection. Some people feel that their vision is the vision, and sometimes it’s not.” U-God, born Lamont Hawkins, is often passed over in favour of his more high-profile bandmates—and unjustifiably so. Describing his role as the “underdog, the black sheep, the fucking secret”, the now 48-year-old is ready to
set the record straight. Releasing his second full-length album, Venom, and an autobiography entitled Raw: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang in the last year, the day-one Wu stalwart gives a visceral account of the group’s origins and his gritty experiences growing up in Staten Island’s Park Hill projects. “My life is way more raw than the average person’s,” he says. “I can’t make these stories up at all. The stuff I talk about, it’s unfathomable.…I don’t
care how to try and think you might go about doing and living that life—no, I actually lived that life. We actually did things as kids that I look back on and say, ‘What was I thinking?’ ” Through Hawkins’s granular prose, it’s easy to see how Wu-Tang has stuck together and flourished over the past 27 years. Family bonds and shared origin stories have outweighed the tense moments of infighting, as has the group’s unrivalled energy when its members
this long and get to this level,” he continues. “Because we ain’t gotta be on TV 24/7, you know? Our fans are the greatest fans on planet Earth. We’ve got a cult following that’s like the Grateful Dead and AC/DC and the Rolling Stones—we have that kind of level of fans. We’re hard-core motherfuckers, so we got hard-core fans.” The Wu-Tang Clan plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Sunday (June 23) as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Roots rapper ruminates on turbulence d HE FRONTS ONE of the most popular bands in the United States, is in almost constant contact with that nation’s movers and shakers through his work on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and most likely has Barack Obama on speed-dial. So before the Georgia Straight starts talking music with the Roots’ Tariq Trotter it seems wise, first, to ask him about what’s really going on with our neighbour to the south. “My personal take is the same as you guys: it’s confusing and painful and, you know, the facts aren’t necessarily clear,” says the man otherwise known as Black Thought, in a longdistance call from Portland, Oregon. “I don’t doubt that when we come through it on the other side that the country will be better for it—but right now we’re pushing through some serious turbulence.” Mostly, though, Trotter is optimistic—and perhaps that’s because, as he notes, this isn’t the first time that he’s lived through a dark period, those including having both parents murdered in separate incidents of violence, and the 1985 police bombing of a black neighbourhood in his native Philadelphia. “On a family level, a community level, a country level, and a world level, we’ve already survived some pretty tough times,” he says. “So I’m confident that we’re going to make it through, as we always have in the past. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It’s hard to get a read on the Roots’ collective take on these issues; the band has been promising a new album, End Game, since 2016. But Trotter’s own views are plainly audible on Streams of Thought Vol. 2, which collects nine recent state-of-the-union addresses made with producer Salaam Remi. “I’d say that far more thought goes into the Roots process than into Streams of Thought, into my solo endeavours,” he allows. “Though my solo material or the stuff I do outside the Roots feels more personal, I think maybe the reason why I feel it’s so much more personal is maybe because it’s more raw. It’s like I’m re-
that the band will play this powerful tune during its upcoming TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival show? “We’ve yet to do ‘Fentanyl’,” Trotter says. “But, that being said, since it is such a timely issue for the people there in Vancouver, maybe I’ll put in an early request for the band to learn it, for us to make that social commentary.” Tunes from End Game—which Trotter promises will be finished, if not necessarily released, this fall—are almost certainly going to make it onto the Roots’ Vancouver set list, and the rapper says that while they might be more polished than his own solo output, they’re no less pointed. “The reoccurring theme in this most recent material is still social commentary, but coming from the perspective of elder statesmen, speaking through the Roots,” he says. “It would be easy to become complacent and comfortable in our position, but we’re still fighting the good fight.”
by Alexander Varty
Frontman Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter (left) and drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots.
cording it almost as soon as it manifests itself. I just go in there and get it done.” One of Trotter’s recent dispatches will have particular relevance for our own city: “Fentanyl”. It’s a scathing condemnation of the forces that encourage an entire generation to numb itself, sometimes to fatal effect. But it also asks drug users to take responsibility for their own choice to “check out”, an opinion made more credible by Trotter’s own experiences on the street. The track ends on a sardonic note with the words “I got a brand new bag for you to test out,” making clear the link between today’s opioid crisis, the introduction of crack cocaine into the ghetto during the 1980s, and an even earlier heroin plague. Since the line between Black Thought raps and Roots material is permeable, is it possible
The Roots play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre next Friday (June 28), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
REBORN ROGERS FOUND HIS SONGWRITING VOICE AGAIN d IF BEN ROGERS sounds like he’s been reborn on his third and latest album, Wildfire, that’s entirely by design, considering what’s transpired in his life over the past few years. When the Straight tracks him down by phone, the formerly Vancouver-based singer-songwriter reveals that he’s kicking back on a porch on the Sunshine Coast—a place that moves at a decidedly slower pace than the Lower Mainland. With a wry laugh, Rogers notes that he started telling anyone who would listen that he needed to get out of Vancouver a decade ago, when he was in his mid-20s. A couple of years after the release of his Americana-flavoured sophomore album, The Bloodred Yonder, he decided to finally make the move up the coast.
“I was living at 14th and Cambie, right in the shit,” Rogers says, sounding beyond relaxed. “It was a constant projection of people’s shitty energy, and shitty music coming from their cars and stuff. So it was like, ‘I need to disconnect. I need to see what Mother Nature has to teach me.’ So I started hunting and doing more fishing and stuff around that time. I don’t know—something inside just kind of pulled me that way.” Looking back, his desire for a simpler life was partly rooted in the business side of making music. “I wanted to focus on the writing without all the other managerial bullshit and dealing with people,” Rogers says. “The happiest times in my life that I can think of are being in my room, alone with my dog, and writing.” What’s most striking about Wildfire is that Rogers has reinvented himself, creating a record that defies easy categorization, both lyrically and sonically. As a storyteller Rogers often leaves things vague, even while dealing with important and complicated issues like cultural genocide (“Leviathan Smiles”) and domestic abuse (“A Changed Man”). Musically, there are still traces of the gunsmoke-and-whisky country that marked The Bloodred Yonder and his 2013 debut, Lost Stories—check out the breezy, steel-guitar-dusted “Steady Going Nowhere”. But Wildfire—produced by City and Colour’s Dallas Green, who also released the album on his new label Still Records—is mostly a record of beautiful curve balls. “Holiday” starts as languidly as a Georgia summer day and then unleashes an epic display of sixstring violence, while “Stackabones” shifts from a soft-focus meditation to a cascading folk-rocker. Whether it’s the spectral washes of guitar in the acoustic “Rattle Your Chains” or the battery-of-angels outro in “Wildfire”, what you ultimately hear is an artist who’s learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is stand back and breathe, secure in the knowledge that the only person you need to please is yourself. see page 15
JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 11
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 Funny story My friend has a bite mark on his biceps. He told me a crow did it. Do crows wear false teeth? Cause I saw teeth marks. Lol True Story I don’t care, but its kinda funny.
Bewitched I’d sabotage my marriage, job, life, apartment, etc just for a single kiss from a certain person. What the f*ck is wrong with me.
Hit up Homer St. Cafe and Bar’s garden patio for its signature rotisserie chicken or build-your-own cheese-and-charcuterie platter—even better if you go on a Wednesday for 30 percent off all rosé wines by the glass or bottle. Tableau Bar Bistro is celebrating summer with a Bubbles & Brunch feature, with weekend deals on Champagne and crémants; other days, take in the fresh air with a crisp and colourful albacore-tuna salade niçoise or moules frites. Over on Commercial Drive, longstanding hot spot Havana is the place for Cuban flavours served with pitchers of sangria and mojitos. Granville Island’s Popina Canteen, meanwhile, has a new patio bar and a lemonade stand, serving mixed cocktails (like a bourbon smash) and ever-changing, updated f lavours of the tart nostalgic beverage, like hibiscus and quinceBUSTLING SPOTS rosewater. Some lemonades are Sometimes you want a place to people- spiked, too: pink lemonade has gin watch, a patio in the heart of it all. and house-made strawberry syrup. from page 10
cubes. Locals’ food faves include blacktruffle pizza, Seoul fried chicken, and the restaurant’s signature meze platter: a board with Picholine olives, Marcona almonds, truffle chèvre, lemon ricotta, and sun-dried tomato pistou, all to be munched along with a demibaguette. For a completely different vibe, check out the kitschy, compact outdoor space at the Narrow Lounge, a supercool, supercasual Main Street hangout. Food options include hot dogs, tacos, and pulled-pork deliciousness. Look for the red light. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Gotham Steakhouse & Bar has a terra-cotta patio adorned with plants, trees, climbing ivy, and a large fireplace for quite the urban oasis. Go for the prime-grade steak tartare, tuna poké with macadamia nuts, and a side of Gorgonzola mac ’n’ cheese.
Its seafood tray comes complete with cracking utensils and bibs for the half-lobster or crab; there’s also tender side-stripe shrimp, albacore-tuna crudo, spicy namjim-marinated swimming scallops, mussels escabeche, and more. Share it with a loved one and you’ll still have room for Popina’s Puffcream (various types of ice cream and toppings served in a cream puff). Plus, this just in: Popina has announced a daily happy hour, from 6 to 10 p.m., with features like Bomber pilsner for $5, French fries for $2, and half a dozen freshly shucked oysters for $15. Brix & Mortar is another place that has turned 20 in 2019. Its patio is a Yaletown stunner, with seven-tier glass chandeliers that contrast the heritage building’s exposed brick. Consider prosciutto-wrapped Ocean Wise sea scallops with barbecuedduck fried risotto, local tomato on house-baked brioche, or an artisan cheese plate to get you started. g
There was no parking on my street because of all the people who drove to Car-free day.
Birthdays It was my birthday this week. It’s a day or early morning reflection for most people I think. I am so happy that I was born in Canada. I’m so happy I lived during... (con’t @straight.com)
I ain’t working here no more It’s astounding how much a new manager can turn a job I loved into a place I dread going to every day. I actually thought I’d found a perfect fit but now... (con’t @straight.com)
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I remember my sister having a birthday party when she was 6 or 7. My parents rented movies (this was in the 70s when the movies were reel-to-reel) and there were games and prizes and gifts and, of course, a cake. I never... (con’t @straight.com)
from page 11
Rogers notes that, at one point, things had gone off the rails and he’d made peace with the possibility that the well was permanently dry and he was done writing songs. “Then I wrote ‘A Changed Man’ and it felt like renewal,” he says. “After that, all these songs started pouring out. It sort of happened without me really thinking about it.” And as the floodgates opened, Rogers found himself taking a different approach to his writing. “I wanted to get away from telling linear stories, so I needed the language to change,” Rogers explains. “I needed to challenge myself that way, but also harmonically as well. So I started using the découpage method, where I’d write dozens of verses and then intercut what I wanted to convey. I didn’t want things to be as plain—I wanted them to be a bit more immersive. “It was interesting,” he continues. “In the past, I’d write stream of consciousness and then sort of whittle things down and fine-tune it. This time around, I used a lot of the stuff that I would normally throw away. It was a learning curve in terms of what I could live with, because normally I’m really picky about what I choose to say. In the end, it was refreshing and revitalizing for my craft.” What’s made that extra gratifying is the knowledge that a change of scenery can do a person good. That’s certainly been true for Rogers, who’s happy enough today to wonder why it took him so long to leave Vancouver. “I think I’d stressed myself out so much overthinking everything creatively,” Rogers says. “Finally, I had to go, ‘You know, do I really give a shit?’ I’m always going to do this, so I don’t really have a choice anymore. So I might as well try to enjoy it a bit more.” by Mike Usinger
Ben Rogers plays the Imperial on Saturday (June 22) as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
GUITARIST WILSON BRINGS THE PAST INTO THE PRESENT d THIS MIGHT SEEM strange, but I had firsthand knowledge of Jonathan Wilson’s talent without ever having heard a note of his music. Here’s why: a few years ago, long before Wilson had won any fame as a performer, a friend handed me a guitar to try out. It looked, sounded, and felt like a well-used early-’60s Fender Telecaster Custom—a really good early-’60s Fender Telecaster Custom, with all the divots, wear, and corrosion you’d expect from what then would have been a 45-year-old instrument. But it wasn’t. “This guy Jonathan Wilson made it,” my friend told me. “He’s got a company called Greenwich Village Custom Guitars.” I almost ordered one on the spot— and I’m sorry I didn’t, for although Wilson still makes meticulously handcrafted replicas of vintage guitars, these days they’re for his own use only. Instead, he’s been putting his energy into playing music, and in both his own releases and the work he does as a session player he shows the same attention to period detail that he does as a luthier. He’s not so much copying the sound of the past as creating works of art that could have been made back then—folk-rock records that would have been right at home on the fabled Asylum label circa 1973, alongside early works by Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, and Joni Mitchell. Or he was, anyway, right up until last year’s Rare Birds. “This particular album that’s out now, it’s more of a hybrid, more of a modern type of sound on certain songs mixed with ’80s and ’90s sounds and textures, whereas stuff I’ve done in the past is more in line with the sounds of the ’70s,” Wilson explains, on the line from Topanga Canyon, where he now lives. We’re not quite sure whether to believe him—standout track “There’s a Light”, for instance, immediately calls to mind George Harrison’s 1970 masterpiece All Things Must Pass—but Wilson’s ability to bring the past into the present has won him a lot of friends, young and old. As a producer he’s worked with
artists as diverse as English folk-rock legend Roy Harper, the late countrypolitan crooner Glen Campbell, and hipster icon Father John Misty, while for a good chunk of the past two years he’s filled David Gilmour’s sizable oxfords as the lead guitarist in Roger Waters’s touring band. So why is this rock ’n’ roll chameleon playing the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival this week? Well, there’s at least one good reason: Wilson has a strong link to the greatest jazz musician ever to come out of North Carolina, his home state. “My grandfather was a pastor and my grandmother, she instructed and sang with all the choirs,” he explains. “So the first time I heard sounds and songs they were all concerned with spirituality and stuff like that. So that feeling of music correlating to something bigger, something greater, is something that I’m always trying to understand—and I’ve heard a similar story about John Coltrane.” by Alexander Varty
Jonathan Wilson plays the Imperial on Saturday (June 22), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
GUSTAFSSON WILL DELIVER IMPROV AND VINYL KILLERS d SAXOPHONIST MATS Gustafsson plays Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna on his upcoming Canadian tour, but in many ways he’ll be performing for an audience of one: Ken Pickering, the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s late cofounder and guiding light. “Ken meant a lot to me over the years,” the Swedish-born musician explains from his home in rural Austria. “He was actually the first presenter in North America who brought me over, and when we met for the first time we immediately jumped into our biggest interests, which were records and ice hockey—and we stayed like that. It was a very special kind of friendship, and so what I would like to do is somehow add those ice hockey things into what I will do musically.” Gustafsson recalls conspiring with Pickering and Vancouver clarinet virtuoso François Houle during the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. Having latched on to some free-flowing Olympic money, Pickering commissioned the two performers to create a sonic game based on the rules and culture of what, until recently, was Canada’s favourite sport. “We had one Swedish team—one line and a goalie—and then Canada had the same, and a referee. A Danish referee, actually,” he says, laughing. “People were dressed up in ice hockey jerseys. We had intermission music, we had commercial breaks, and I’d brought a tabletop hockey game from the ’50s from Sweden, with Swedish and Canadian players on the ‘ice’, and we had that set up with microphones and processed through some weird music program as an ending for the whole game, so to speak. It was spectacular!” Gustafsson won’t be reprising that improv face-off, but he has made some LPs of the amplified tabletop game and he’ll be working those discs into his local performances. “I’m bringing a couple of Vinyl Killers,” he says. “They look like a toy Volkswagen bus, three inches long or something, and they have a needle underneath and a little preamp in the back and a speaker that comes up from the roof, and they spin around on the vinyl. So my plan is to bring a couple of those LPs that I did with those tabletop sounds, and have the Vinyl Killers run on that vinyl while I improvise on my saxophone—and that will be the hockey connection.” Pickering, who loved the surreal, would approve. “I don’t believe in doing music that is too programmatic,” Gustafsson says, “but whatever I’m playing on all those gigs in Canada, Ken will be there.”
Indigenous artists reclaim languages
by Alexander Varty
ne of the more intriguing aspects of this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival is the larger-thanusual number of Indigenous artists who’ve been invited to perform— which means that an assortment of First Nations languages will be heard on festival stages. That’s important, both for the performers—who are often rediscovering their own languages within the context of a larger reclamation of identity and power— and for settler listeners, who might need to be reminded of Indigenous culture’s enduring strength. Songwriter Elisapie Isaac, who hails from the far north of Quebec, rediscovered the power of singing in her native tongue after releasing The Ballad of the Runaway Girl last year. The semiautobiographical album was primarily an act of personal recovery for the Inuk singer-songwriter, who began work on it after a particularly devastating spell of postpartum depression. Music cured her blues, she says, and on a recent return to the Arctic she found further evidence of its power. “My English and French songs are there for everybody, and my Inuktitut songs are always directed through the window I see from—and I see the North,” the trilingual artist explains in a telephone interview from her Montreal home. “I feel it’s really important to have that communication with the North, and the Inuit, and especially the kids.” Lil’wat singer and composer Russell Wallace, the jazz festival’s Indigenous artist in residence, is pursuing a different path of education and reclamation with the Tillicum Shantie Project, his collaboration with guitarist Tony Wilson and other local jazz performers. In the West Coast trading language called Chinook, Wallace explains
Elisapie is one of the Indigenous artists showcased at this year’s jazz festival.
in a separate telephone interview, “Tillicum means ‘the people’, and shantie is like ‘music’ or ‘song’. So for me Tillicum Shantie is like ‘Song of the People’.” Among the pioneering artists whose heritage the band will explore are Kaw-Muscogee saxophonist Jim Pepper and Salish jazz singer Mildred Bailey, but Wallace will also contribute songs in St’át’imcets, some from his late mother’s repertoire and some composed by him. “Since I’m not fluent in the language, I try to use whatever little language I do know and incorporate that into the songs,” he says. “I mean, even things as simple as counting to five. I wrote a Salish counting song, and so it’s what I know, but also I’m thinking of giving access to this language to other people. “Our language has been labelled as one of the languages that will go extinct in the next 50 years,” he adds, “so it’s really kind of now or never.” The Eastern Medicine Singers, from Rhode Island, don’t always sing in Massachuset and Wampanoag dialect, often preferring to use evocative but untranslatable vocables instead.
Still, the meaning of their music is clear: it’s about community, about endurance, about shared purpose, and it’s had a transformative effect on Israeli guitarist Yonatan Gat, who first encountered the singers at Austin’s SXSW festival and will join them for a free, outdoor jazz-festival show. “One of the things that they’ve taught me is that the music really sounds like the intention of the music,” Gat explains in an interview from New York. “In western culture we’ve become very… almost manipulative, sometimes, in terms of what we’re trying to achieve. You’ve got a project, and you’re trying to achieve something, and you’re trying to make the audience feel a certain way or to present yourself in a certain way. With the Eastern Medicine Singers, music and the way they socialize are just really, really ingrained together— and I think that’s really wonderful.” Working with the Singers, says Gat, has required him to rethink his own views on music and community, and the Indigenous artists coming to the jazz festival might well have the same effect on their settler listeners. At the very least, we’re sure to encounter music that will command respect for its strength and beauty, even if we don’t understand the words. “Yeah!” says Elisapie. “And why not? It’s like, ‘Finally!’ We’ve been colonized and forced into so many things, so why not hear a song that you don’t really understand because it’s in a First Peoples language? And it’s okay.” g The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival presents Russell Wallace’s Tillicum Shantie Project at the Granville Island Market Stage at noon on Friday (June 21). Elisapie plays Performance Works on Sunday (June 23). The Eastern Medicine Singers and Yonatan Gat play David Lam Park on June 30.
CELEBRATING THE ART AND CRAFT OF CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING
EXHIBITION ACOUSTIC AND ELECTRIC INSTRUMENTS
INSTRUMENT LUTHIER DEMOS WORKSHOPS JUNE 29 & 30
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SARAH MCLACHLAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
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H T T P S : // W W W. E V E N T B R I T E . C A / E / VA N C O U V E R - I N T E R N AT I O N A L - G U I TA R - F E S T I VA L - T I C K E T S - 5 2 4 1 7 3 0 2 5 6 3
by Alexander Varty
Mats Gustafsson joins the Kids’ Table Quartet for a free afternoon show at Performance Works on Friday (June 21) and opens for The Comet Is Coming at the Imperial that night, both as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 15
> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < I WAS WEARING A BLACK AND RED FLAMINGO SHIRT
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 18, 2019 WHERE: The Marquis
We were at The Marquis on Granville St. and you were with another guy but you commented on my shirt a few times. I didn't want to intrude on things but if you'd like to have a drink on our own I'd love that!
BABE IN BANDIDAS
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 16, 2019 WHERE: Bandidas
IN THE PARKING LOT ON BURNABY FIXING MY TRUCK
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 16, 2019 WHERE: Burnaby St. Parking Lot
AT 3RD AND YEW
I met you at Kits beach on Father's Day around 12-1pm. You had a bully dog named baby, not sure if your with you bf or not... I can't remember your name cause your so beautiful, you said you had a cleaning company... Send me a msg on my dogs insta - tank_and_me would love to see you again.
You were out walking your golden/apricot coloured dog along 3rd Ave. I am the brunette who noticed you as I crossed the street, but proceeded to walk to grab the car2go (black Mercedes) along Yew St. As I was opening the car, I looked up to see you smiling at me.
BROUGHT TOGETHER BY BASS
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 16, 2019 WHERE: Red Room Ultrabar Met an intriguing man, Joe, who likes to kick it “front, left” and has the B-day of an Irish Saint. The dancing was hot, the bass was loud, and our long hug in the alley made my night Would be delighted to share more hugs and time with you Joe! Patiently awaiting reply, Lucky Clover.
You were in a line up at checkout 7 on your phone. Was hoping I could get you to notice me at checkout next to you. Maybe I'll see you here again cause I think you will like me cause I think you're cute. Coffee? You: buff, inked, Asian wearing black hat and vest.
Just made eye contact in the restaurant... and then later on in the parking lot as I was driving my family out. I just have to say your are handsome! Some times all it takes is a look. I wish I had said hi or smiled.
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MAY 16, 2019 WHERE: South Granville We didn’t have an encounter, I just think you’re cute and want to talk to you. Fly operator covered in tattoos. Which books are you reading? I can never catch the titles when I see you walking around South Granville.
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 5, 2019 WHERE: 3rd & Yew
Hi loved your Parisian accent and beautiful smile. It was nice talking to you and I had wished I asked for you contact info. A little nervous. Been on my mind since. Hope you see this.
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 15, 2019 WHERE: The Golden Pearl
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 16, 2019 WHERE: Kits Dog Beach
What happened Sunday afternoon was kinda weird / super cool. Want to talk about it? I do!
AT KITS BEACH
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 14, 2019 WHERE: North Van Super Store
BEAUTIFUL AND SWEET SIKH FROM SUBWAY
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 14, 2019 WHERE: Subway/New West Station You work at the Subway near New West Station. I’m a regular and you usually see me in my construction wear. I find you to be super nice and polite with me as a costumer, would this change if we went for dinner/drinks?? I would love to get to know you better :)
IRISH KITS BEAUTY
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 7, 2019 WHERE: Darby's Kitsilano You: tall Irish woman with flowing long hair and a mysterious smirk. You were working in Darby's when I came in with a group of friends. I was stricken by your gorgeous demeanor But I was too awkward and intimated to say anything. Please reach out to me and maybe come on my boat sometime.
I WAS LOOKING FOR WHOLE FOODS (SOHO)
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MARCH 31, 2019 WHERE: Burnaby
I almost walked into you while you were getting out of the elevator. You said "cheers" and caught me off guard because I was half asleep, I apologize. I was in a green dress and yellow cardigan. Kind of wish I introduced myself when we bumped into each other the second time.
SCIENCE & SUNSHINE
I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 11, 2019 WHERE: Science Centre Playground You: sitting in the shade looking fabulous with your dark skin and wide brimmed hat. Me: a dad with black t-shirt chasing his daughter up and down the playground equipment. I kept hoping my daughter would start a game of tag with your daughters. Alas, it did not happen. I thought maybe you noticed me. Maybe your were just admiring my bald spot.
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SHINOBI SCHOOL OF COMPUTER GRAPHICS
MUSIC LISTINGS CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED A DAY IN VANCOUVER Red Bull presents performances by ANKLEGOD, DJ D.DEE, Khotin, Prado, Sabota, Teen Daze, and Yu Su. Jun 28, 3-10 pm, PNE Gardens. $5. BLUE MOON MARQUEE ALBUM RELEASE Originating from the Badlands of the Rocky Mountain prairies, Blue Moon Marquee is a West Coast-based blues/jazz/swing band. They are holding their album release show for the new record Bare Knuckles and Brawn at Guilt and Co as part of the Vancouver Jazz Festival series. Opening act is Ryan McNally and the Messarounders from the Yukon. Jun 28-29, 8 pm–1 am, Guilt and Company. Suggested donation $10. CIGARETTES AFTER SEX Brooklyn-based ambient pop group led by songwriter Greg Gonzalez. Sep 26, 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $27.50. CHARLI XCX Electro-pop singer-songwriter from England, with guest Brooke Candy. Oct 5, 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $36.50. NASHVILLE PUSSY Gritty guitar-rockers from the States. Oct 12, Biltmore Cabaret. $19.99. BANNERS Indie-rock musician from Liverpool, England, with guest Ellevator. Oct 12, 8 pm, Venue. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $25. FRANKIE COSMOS Indie-rock band from New York. Nov 2, 9 pm, Hollywood Theatre. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $22.50. MORGAN EVANS Australian-born country singer-songwriter. Nov 6, 8 pm, Venue. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $25. ALEX CAMERON Indie-pop singer-songwriter from Australia. Dec 14, 9 pm, Hollywood Theatre. Tix on sale Jun 21, 10 am, $30.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 ANDERSON .PAAK & THE FREE NATIONALS American hip-hop artist, with guests Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercats. Jun 19, 8 pm, PNE Amphitheatre. $59.50.
THURSDAY, JUNE 20
OKKERVIL RIVER Indie-rock band from Austin, Texas, with guest Christian Lee Hutson. Jun 21, 8 pm, WISE Hall. $25.
SATURDAY, JUNE 22 JOSH RITTER Americana singer-songwriter and author performs with the Royal City Band. Jun 22, 7 pm, Vogue Theatre. $35-199. JONATHAN WILSON Touring guitarist-vocalist for Roger Waters performs tunes from new album Rare Birds. Jun 22, 9 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $35. DANIEL WESLEY Local reggae-pop singersongwriter. Jun 22, 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $25.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23 ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO American singersongwriter performs tunes from new album The Crossing. Jun 23, 8 pm, WISE Hall. $29.50.
MONDAY, JUNE 24 THE SUFFERS Eight-piece R&B/funk band, with guest Lydia Hol. Jun 24, Imperial Vancouver. $28. LUCINDA WILLIAMS Grammy-winning Americana singer-songwriter performs with her band Buick 6. Jun 24, 8:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $59.50.
TUESDAY, JUNE 25 COREY HART Canadian pop-rocker from the ‘80s, with guests Glass Tiger. Jun 25, Rogers Arena. SLUM VILLAGE Hip-hop group from Detroit, with guests Vida Lo and My Name Is Junk. Jun 25, Imperial Vancouver. $17.50. JIM JAMES AND THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM American rockers play a coheadlining bill. Jun 25, Commodore Ballroom. $50.50. YEASAYER Experimental rock band from Brooklyn, with guests Oh, Rose. Jun 25, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $26.50.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR American soul/pop artist. Jun 20, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $15.
JEFF LYNNE’S ELO Frontman of Electric Light Orchestra performs the band’s hits, with guest Dhani Harrison. Jun 26, 8 pm, Rogers Arena.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21
THURSDAY, JUNE 27
TD VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Headliners include the Wu-Tang Clan, the Roots, and Herbie Hancock, and free outdoor shows feature A Tribe Called Red’s DJ Shub, King Ayisoba, and Mats Gustafsson. Jun 21–Jul 1, various Vancouver venues. DAVID GRAY Folk-rock singer-songwriter from England. Jun 21, 7 pm, The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. Tix $89/75/49. MINI MANSIONS L.A. indie-pop trio. Jun 21, 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $15.
GREG BROWN Folk musician and poet with deep roots in gospel and literary traditions. Jun 27, 8-10:30 pm, BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts. $38/36.
FRIDAY, JUNE 28 THE ROOTS Grammy-winning band performs as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Jun 28, 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. From $79. HOWARD JONES British synth-pop legend,
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are you know Andrew Phelan from either his time in ace Vancouver folk act the River and the Road, or his mesmerizingly lush beard—which is impressive enough to make you wonder what the hell you ever saw in the facial hair of William Fitzsimmons. Over the past couple of years the transplanted Aussie—who plays the Biltmore on Saturday (June 22)—has been hard at work establishing himself as a solo threat, which has paid off with singles like the easygoing country-rocker “Charlottetown” and the incandescent life-lesson that is “That’s How”. Sample lyrics from the latter include “You can drink from a bottle you can drink from a cup/Just make sure you know when enough is enough,” which is worth remembering (if you can) before you opt for that fifth Rob Roy. g
with guests All Hail the Silence. Jun 28, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $39.50/204.50 (VIP). BLACK PISTOL FIRE Canadian rock duo composed of guitarist-vocalist Kevin McKeown and drummer Eric Owen Jun 28, 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $26.75.
SATURDAY, JUNE 29 VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL Live music and some of the world’s finest handmade stringed instruments. Jun 29-30, Creekside Community Centre (in the former Olympic Village). DIDO Pop singer-songwriter from London, England. Jun 29, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre. Tix $40.50-75. MUSIC LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.
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16 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019
Thorgy Thor plays second fiddle to no one RuPaul’s Drag Race star showcases mad string skills, with the VSO joining her “Thorchestra”
by Alexander Varty
he spent her childhood and adolescence learning to play classical music, eventually graduating from the State University of New York with a degree in viola and violin performance. But once she discovered drag, there was no way Thorgy Thor was ever going to be content playing second fiddle— or even third violin—to anyone. Standing over seven feet tall if one includes her six-inch heels and towering bouffant wig, the drag queen otherwise known as Shane Galligan came to international attention thanks to multiple appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Before that, she’d been eking out a living playing in orchestral string sections and wedding-reception quartets, but she’s now turning her TV celebrity into a full-on career in musical comedy—and her upcoming local appearance will feature the best of all possible backing bands, in the form of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. There’s no word on whether the local musicians will also be crossdressing—although some, we know, could handle it. But they will be in disguise for the night, masquerading as the Thorchestra, an ensemble that’s grown out of an impromptu remark Thor made during the taping of the RuPaul show. “She had me play the violin, live,” says Thor, who had earlier mimed with a violin-shaped prop. “And everyone was like, ‘Oh, she can really play!’ And I was like, ‘Yeah. I’ve been playing my whole life as a classical musician.’ And I just said, out loud, ‘If anybody wants to be part of the Thorchestra, I want to see local musicians in every city, so when I show up we already have an orchestra planned, and I can pop in, rent a venue, and play these shows.’ “I got 500 emails in the first two weeks, saying ‘My name is Rachel. I play the harp and live in Alaska,’ or ‘I play viola. My name is Gerard, and I’m in New Jersey,’ ” she adds, laughing. “All these emails became very, very difficult to get back to quickly enough. So it just became a little
Standing over seven feet tall with six-inch heels and a bouffant wig, Thorgy Thor cuts a swath in her musical-comedy show.
This show is really about being inclusive, making everyone feel great about themselves, and enjoying beautiful music. – Thorgy Thor
easier, to be honest, to work with orchestras that were already established—some of them smaller, and some of them a lot larger, like the VSO.” The Thorchestra made its debut in Halifax last year, playing to a full house with composer and Symphony Nova Scotia artist in residence Daniel
Bartholomew-Poyser on the podium. Bartholomew-Poyser will repeat the honour in Vancouver, and his presence ensures a high level of musicality, even if Thor’s repertoire might include pop hits from Lady Gaga and Madonna, as well as an outrageous tango routine and music from LGBTQ+ composers
d SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (To September 18 at Bard on the Beach) Way back in 1999, a film called Shakespeare in Love swept the Oscars with Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s smart and vibrant tale of writer’s block and the true love of a muse. Now Bard on the Beach is staging Lee Hall’s adaptation of the romantic comedy, throwing in music by Paddy Cunneen. Ghazal Azarbad steps into the role Gwyneth Paltrow made famous, Viola de Lesseps, while Charlie Gallant plays Will himself. At the helm is Daryl Cloran, who brought you last year’s Beatles-pumped hit As You Like It, and is also the director of a raucous and surreally fun Matilda: The Musical over at the Arts Club.
Aaron Copland and Ethel Smyth. Thor doesn’t want to say too much more about the Thorchestra’s set list, although she notes that the finale will find her leaping between violin, viola, and cello in a rendition of the overture from Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila. She also cautions that we needn’t take the VSO’s “mature d DOG DAYS (June 25 to themes” warning too seriously. September 1 at the Polygon “With my whole act, playing with Gallery) Here’s a fun outing masculinity and femininity and for a summer day: an exhibit dressing in drag, they just have to put celebrating one of our world’s that on the flyer,” she explains. “Well, most photographed creatures. I do curse every once in a while, but The North Shore landmark this show is really about being infetes man’s (and woman’s) best clusive, making everyone feel great friend via contemporary shots mixed with classic and vintage about themselves, and enjoying photographs, as well as a few beautiful music. It’s a show for all video works. Look for special ages—and there’s not going to be any events throughout the run. nudity involved!” g The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents Thorgy Thor and the Thorchestra at the Orpheum on Tuesday (June 25).
And as you probably expected, dogs are welcome—on a leash, please. g
VAG sculpts pleasing portrait of Giacometti by Robin Laurence
ALBERTO GIACOMETTI: A LINE THROUGH TIME
At the Vancouver Art Gallery until September 29
d LET ME SAY, straight out of the gate, that Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time is a wonderful exhibition. It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s imported shows of European modernism—group shows that hook their appeal on one or two big-name artists, often promising more than they actually provide. But this fine selection of bronzes, drawings, paintings, and prints by one of the most renowned sculptors of the 20th century—and, yes, by his friends and colleagues, too—really delivers. The show spans Giacometti’s career, from the small, realistic portrait bust of his brother Diego, created in 1914 when the artist was 13 years old, through the tiny, gilded bronze female figurines of his prewar years in Paris, to Paris Sans Fin (Paris Without End), a series of lithographs based on drawings that he produced in the last decade of his life and that remained unfinished—sans fin—when he died in 1966. There are also a number of good examples of the work we most strongly associate with Giacometti, the rough-textured, exaggeratedly thin and elongated bronze figures of his mature style of the 1950s and ’60s. It
1) in the small gallery just off the atrium, that Giacometti expressed his experience of existential angst. Returning to Paris from his native Switzerland after World War II, the sculptor became part of the existentialist movement that arose out of the devastation of conf lict. Through his art, Giacometti struggled to find meaning in a godless universe. His walking-man figures stride forward on their impossibly attenuated legs, but at the same time, they register a sense of isolation and introspection, their arms hanging numbly at their sides, their hands mere clumps of inarticulate matter. The exhibition originated with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, an institution that possesses the largest collection of Giacometti works in the U.K. That collection was assembled in the 1950s and ’60s by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, whose passion and discernment, along with their friendship with Giacometti, are the subtext of the show. Not everything illustrated in the original catalogue has made it to Vancouver, but happily VAG senior curator Bruce Grenville has supplemented core works with loans from leading international collections, both public and private. There’s something so human about Alberto And, again, it’s not all Giacometti all the Giacometti works like Annette Without Arms. time. That may disappoint some (and yes, the show’s title is a tad deceiving), but to my mind, is through this characteristic approach to the inclusion of outstanding works in variform, seen in Standing Woman at the exhib- ous media by the artist’s colleagues in France ition’s opening, and Walking Man (Version and the United Kingdom plays intriguing riffs
on important themes. Art by Jean Dubuffet, César, Francis Bacon, Lynn Chadwick, William Turnbull, and Elisabeth Frink, among others, provides a significant context here, demonstrating the formal, material, and philosophical inf luences Giacometti shared or exerted. It also reveals the lively cultural exchange that occurred between Paris and London in the years after the Second World War. And it evokes the sense of community that existed among the artists represented, especially as they focused on the human figure at a time when pure abstraction was dominant. One of the most powerful works in the show is Frink’s Birdman, with its helmetlike head and stunted, misshapen wings. Placed nearby is Giacometti’s The Dog, which Grenville sees as a selfportrait. With its drooping head and tail, it’s a “hangdog”, he said at a recent media preview, “loping through the city at night”. Both works explore aspects of the animal in us and with us. Not to be overlooked here are Giacometti’s many fine pencil drawings, as distinctive in their contradictory impulses as his sculptures. There’s a sense of existential uncertainty in the repeatedly worked and reworked lines, so unlike the confident contour drawings of early modernists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Giacometti struggles to find a likeness, striving to express a “sense of what it is to be human”, Grenville tells us. At the same time, his work reveals his belief that finding a true likeness is impossible. g
JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 17
Sets help conjure Mozart-era Giovanni Stellar cast helps give Shrew her fantastic due
by Janet Smith
n late October of 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself conducted the opening of Don Giovanni, to maniacal applause and cheering at Prague’s gilded Estates Theatre. Now, 232 years later, UBC Opera is preparing to stage a Don Giovanni that’s as close as local audiences might ever get to the way Mozart presented it that night. For a start, the painted sets and intricate costumes come directly from the Estates Theatre itself. Director Nancy Hermiston secured them for the grand reopening of the Old Auditorium at UBC in 2010, following a long tradition (which continues to this day) of making near-annual visits to the Czech capital with her UBC Opera Ensemble. “We’ve sung in that theatre three times and I’m hoping to take students to it next year,” Hermiston, the chair of opera and voice at UBC, tells the Straight over the phone. “You walk on that stage and think, ‘My God, Mozart was on this stage and talked to singers like me on this stage.’ I haven’t taken students over there that haven’t started to cry.” Hermiston is hoping to bring some of that magic and history to the Don Giovanni they’re staging here. The drops—which are actually photographic laminates of the original painted sets—are operated by fly lines and bring a traditional style here that is rarely seen anymore. “It’s an old, old European way of creating sets,” Hermiston says of the form that allows for quick scene changes between, say, a village and a flowery garden. “It’s an art that’s slowly being lost, which I feel personally is a shame. My students are fascinated by it.” UBC also adopted several crates
by Andrea Warner
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
By William Shakespeare. Directed by Lois Anderson. A Bard on the Beach production. At the BMO Mainstage on Sunday, June 16. Continues until September 21
UBC Opera has gotten its backdrops from a historic Prague theatre. Photo by Jay Lee
Those are just some of the challenges layered on top of the already demanding task of performing one of Mozart’s most punishing operas, sung in this production with members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, under conductor Leslie Dala. The morality tale about the notorious bad boy Don Juan brings a series of taxing recitatives, a formidable sextet, and complex arias. Hermiston says her two youthful casts are up to the challenge—bringing to light yet another similarity between this UBC production and that original one with a 31-year-old Mozart at the podium. “What’s especially interesting is that his first Don Giovanni was 21 years old, and the Donna Anna was 20,” she says. “So not only do we have the costumes and sets that would be used in his time, but also the youthful exuberance of the singers. You get that same youthful enthusiasm here.” g
of wigs, props, guns, swords, and costumes for this Don Giovanni—all used by the Estates in repertory over the 1980s and 1990s, she estimates. Since that theatre is so dedicated to Mozart’s works, it hews closely to what the outfits on opera singers would have looked like two centuries ago. And that’s been invaluable practice for her students, she reveals. “They’re so beautifully made, and they will affect how you move,” Hermiston explains of the often heavyvelvet Prague-crafted designs. “For the women, there’s the boning of the upper part of the dresses and big skirts with trains at the back. And the men have to know how to watch for those trains and not step on them! “Then there’s the weight of the costume: it can be 20 to 40 pounds. We’re all so used to wearing really light clothing and being really légère. And this is why I do this in our program; I do period productions so they’re ready should they go on to the Met or La Scala or somewhere else that might do this kind of production.”
UBC Opera presents Don Giovanni at the Old Auditorium from Thursday to Sunday (June 20 to 23).
d THIS ADAPTATION of The Taming of the Shrew has three stars: lead actors Jennifer Lines (Kate) and Andrew McNee (Petruchio), and director Lois Anderson. This isn’t to say that Anderson’s direction is heavyhanded or intrusive; rather, her vision is so assured and her execution is so flawless, she provides a foundation upon which the entire cast seems inspired to bring its A game. Building on Miles Potter’s 2007 western-style reimagining of The Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach, Anderson sets her production in America in the 1870s, trims its running time, and snatches portions of Petruchio’s lines to give to Kate. From the opening sequence, it’s Kate against the town as she’s mocked and derided, people yelling “Shrew, shrew, shrew” at her until she comes back with a gun and shoots up the place. This is a woman ahead of her time, who has no say in her own life, and is frustrated and infuriated by the expectations and confines placed upon her by society. When her younger sister, Bianca (Kate Besworth), starts stockpiling suitors, their wealthy widowed mother (Susinn McFarlen) institutes a rule: Bianca may marry once Kate does. Bianca’s suitors conspire to find Kate a husband when Petruchio, a difficult man in his own right, rolls
into town looking for a rich wife. Lines and McNee do some of their best work ever as Kate and Petruchio meet, spar (verbally and physically), and eventually fall in love. We see from the outset that Petruchio really is smitten with Kate, and through Anderson’s direction, we witness him secretly observe the way the townspeople treat Kate. He sees her. When Kate finally feels that recognition, she kisses him for the first time, and Lines does a wonderful job communicating a lifetime of yearning into that moment. McNee plays up Petruchio’s stunned, breathless arousal for momentary laughs, and then kisses her right back with just as much hunger and yearning. The cast is excellent and engaged, and there’s a vibrancy and purpose in even the smallest, silliest jokes, such as the messenger arriving on horseback. We hear the galloping and see the actors follow his imagined arrival across the horizon, heads turning in unison, and then the messenger running at incredible speed onto the stage, running off, only to gallop away again, actors “watching” him go back across the horizon. It’s hilarious and ridiculous, but it works thanks to the actors, Anderson, and sound designer Malcolm Dow. The final scene is an utter delight, and not just because we see Kate and Petruchio join forces to get their revenge on the townspeople and the family that treated Kate so poorly. It’s also because of how perfectly that final scene fits into its western theme—an old-fashioned holdup that’s also a metaphorical holdup of sexism—and the ways in which Anderson uses that to subvert gendered notions of outlaws, gunslingers, femininity, and, of course, shrews. g
3 1 ST A N N U A L F E S T I VA L O F CONTEMPORARY DANCE
Relational rEvolutions VISUAL ART EXHIBITION CURATED BY
Elwood Jimmy JUNE 17-26
The Queen in Me Teiya Kasahara
Queer Songbook Orchestra FRI JUN 28
FOLLOWED BY: 9PM - TIL midnight
...and much more! FOR MORE INFORMATION
ART PARTY! TUES JUN 18 I 7PM
Alejandra Miranda Caballero • Dab Dance Project | Hoyeon Kim • Danse Carpe Diem | Emmanuel Jouthe • Clala Dance Project | Tomoyo Yamada • Experimentus Cia. De Danca-Ceara | Paulo Lima • Gearshifting Performance Works | Jolene Bailie • Helen Walkley • Isabelle Kirouac & Nayana Fielkov • Jennifer McLeish-Lewis • Kirsten Wicklund • Linnea Swan • Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien • MascallDance | Jennifer Mascall • Meredith Kalaman • Pamela Tzeng • Rachel Meyer • Raven Spirit Dance | Starr Muranko • Shelley Cox • Soleful Dance | Alexandra Clancy • Sujit Vaidya • Tara Cheyenne Performance | Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg • Vâtchik Danse | Nasim Lootij / Kiasa Nazeran • WAREHAUS dance collective | Akeisha de Beat / Megan Hunter • Ziyian Kwan
OVER 30 PERFORMANCES OVER 20 INNOVATIVE CHOREOGRAPHERS 10 DAYS OF DANCE
18 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019
TIC ON KETS S NOWALE
JULY 4-13 2019
Choreographer: Meredith Kalaman, Dancer: Matthew Wyllie, Photographer: Erik Zennstrom
R U Listening? by Kinnie Starr
FRI JUN 21 & SAT JUN 22 I 7PM
VSO in the Summer
JUN 23 @ ORPHEUM THEATRE
VSO SCHOOL OF MUSIC
JUN 29 @ DEER LAKE | FREE Brian Jessel BMW presents
JUL 4,5,6 @ ORPHEUM THEATRE VSO Digital Concert Hall presented by TELUS
with the VSO
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
THE VSO AT BARD:
JUN 30 @ DEER LAKE | FREE
JUL 7 @ SUNSET BEACH | FREE
JUN 25 @ ORPHEUM THEATRE and the
JUL 3 @ CHAN CENTRE, UBC
JUL 12, 13 @ ORPHEUM THEATRE VSO Digital Concert Hall presented by TELUS
JUN 24 @ BARD ON THE BEACH STAGE
FROM VENICE TO VIENNA
JUN 27 @ ORPHEUM THEATRE BMO presents
QUEEN LATIFAH THE VSO AT DEER LAKE
VSO INSTITUTE at the
QUEEN LATIFAH WITH THE VSO PRESENTED BY
BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY II
See full listing
with the VSO
BERNADETTE PETERS WITH THE VSO PRESENTED BY
VSO AT SUNSET BEACH
vso100.ca/summer DEER LAKE PERFORMANCES SUPPORTED BY
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PARTNER
VSO INSTITUTE ORCHESTRA PRESENTED WITH THE SUPPORT OF
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK AND BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY II PRESENTED BY
VSO AT SUNSET BEACH PRESENTED WITH THE SUPPORT OF
THE VSO RECOGNIZES THE JANE MCLENNAN FUND FOR FREE AND ACCESSIBLE PROGRAMMING, WHICH MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR THE VSO TO PRESENT ITS OUTDOOR SUMMER PROGRAMMING FREE TO THE PUBLIC.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT & ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS SUCH AS THE VSO INSTITUTE ARE MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROSITY OF THE WILLIAM AND IRENE MCEWEN FUND.
JUNE 20 â€“ 27 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 19
ARTS LISTINGS ONGOING MATILDA THE MUSICAL The Arts Club Theatre Company presents an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel. To Jul 14, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. From $39. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW The 2007 spaghetti-western version of Shakespeare’s work is the inspiration behind this Wild West love story. To Sep 21, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. From $26. MOM’S THE WORD: NEST 1/2 EMPTY The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a new generation of laughs from the creative team behind the Mom’s the Word series. To Jul 20, Granville Island Stage. From $29. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block. To Sep 18, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. From $26. ZASTROZZI: THE MASTER OF DISCIPLINE George F. Walker’s tale of crime, passion, sword fighting, and revenge. To Jun 21, 8 pm, The Cultch. $30. QUEER ARTS FESTIVAL Nearly 100 artists gather to dissemble, push, and transgress. To Jun 28, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. VANCOUVER ART GALLERY aMOVING STILL: PERFORMATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY IN INDIA to Sep 2 aVIEWS OF THE COLLECTION: THE STREET to Nov 17 aALBERTO GIACOMETTI: A LINE THROUGH TIME to Sep 29 MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT UBC aSHAKEUP: PRESERVING WHAT WE VALUE to Sep 1 aSHADOWS, STRINGS AND OTHER THINGS: THE ENCHANTING THEATRE OF PUPPETS to Oct 14
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 LUDOVICO EINAUDI Italian pianist and composer. Jun 19, 7:30 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $39/49/69/99/125/135/149/159.
THURSDAY, JUNE 20 MATRIARCHS UPRISING Contemporary dance by female Indigenous artists. Jun 20-22, Scotiabank Dance Centre. $30/22. DON GIOVANNI UBC Opera Ensemble presents Mozart’s iconic dark comedy. Jun 20-23, UBC Old Auditorium. $15-$45.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21 DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL North America’s flagship dragon boat festival. Jun 21-23, Concord Pacific Place, Creekside Park, and the waters of False Creek. Free. JACK OF DIAMONDS Residents of a retirement home exact their revenge on a con man. Jun 21-23, PAL Theatre. $27. ROB PUE Canadian comedian performs two nights of standup. Jun 21-22, 8 pm, Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. $20.
Late Night takes on TV’s boys’ club
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE PRESENTS 3 BALLETS (June
24 and 27 at the Vancity Theatre) Vancouver audiences finally have a chance to see one of local choreographic star Crystal Pite’s most celebrated works. The Vancity Theatre is screening Royal Opera House Presents 3 Ballets, a film of three works: her acclaimed Flight Pattern, along with Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Medusa. The Royal Ballet performed the triple bill in May. At press time, the first screening, at 6:30 p.m., was sold out, with a few tickets to be released at the door; the theatre has now added a second one, at 2 p.m. The 2018 work won a coveted Laurence Olivier Award. g
SATURDAY, JUNE 22
Emma Thompson plays the acerbic host of a talk show in the crowd-pleasing dramedy Late Night, also starring Mindy Kaling.
BEFORE AND BEYOND TIME Music by Bulgarian composer Gheorghi Arnaoudov. Jun 22, 2-4 pm, Annex Theatre. $19.99.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23
Starring Mindy Kaling. Rated PG
JNT COMEDY SHOW Andrew Packer hosts a cannabis-based comedy show. Jun 23, 8 pm, Cannabis Culture Headquarters. $10.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26 ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL New staging of Shakespeare’s work set in India during the waning days of British occupation. Jun 26– Aug 11, Bard on the Beach. From $26.
THURSDAY, JUNE 27 ROCK OF AGES The songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, and Whitesnake underscore a tale of big dreams in Hollywood. Jun 27-Jul 6, Metro Theatre. $24-55. ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.
The Taming of the Shrew Andrew McNee & Jennifer Lines Photo: Emily Cooper
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d ALTHOUGH THIS crowd-pleasing dramedy gets a bit squishy around the edges, it benefits from uncanny pulse-taking of this moment in social history. And it boasts both a smart script and supersnappy performance from Mindy Kaling. It also boasts a role Emma Thompson was born for: Katherine Newbury, an acerbic Brit alone in the late-night boys’ club of TV chat shows. Putting aside the notion that any woman with her own network program for almost three decades might have been forced to deal with these issues in that time, you have to accept that the cool-headed host has somehow failed to connect outspoken feminism to her own workplace. When we meet Newbury, in present-day Manhattan, her writers are all white men, and she’s been in a long ratings slump that has prompted the new network head (Amy Ryan) to shake things up. Instructing her long-suffering producer (Dennis O’Hare) to hire a woman—any woman—to up her image, she ends up with a twofer in Indo-American Molly Patel, a chemical-plant worker with dreams of standup comedy. The role reflects Kaling’s experience as the only female writer on The Office (leading, of course, to her on-camera career), although it’s doubtful that she got as frosty a reception as that offered by a well-connected head writer
(Veep’s Reid Scott) and other assorted sad-sack scribblers. Molly’s initial contributions relate more to her experience as a systems analyst than as a joke machine, as she turns in criticism the boss hates but badly needs to hear. Katherine’s own best critic is her husband, an academic played by John Lithgow. But he’s in steep health decline, and she has forgone friends and family to concentrate on her niche career. This is Vancouver director Nisha Ganatra’s second feature in two decades, after 1999’s Chutney Popcorn. She has done tons of episodic TV since then, including The Mindy Project, and Ganatra finds a remarkable variety of tones and moods here, even if Late Night is somewhat lacking
in the laugh-out-loud material it ostensibly covers. The biggest misstep comes at the end, with the film compulsively providing redemptive catharsis for almost every character. Superior writing and performances are reward enough, and leaving this timely tale upbeat but still unresolved would have been truer to our real-life program, already in progress.
by Ken Eisner
THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR
Starring Dhanush. Rated PG
d THE EXTRAORDINARY Journey of the Fakir is a feel-good story with lighthearted things to say about a
see next page
Movies TIP SHEET The 13th annual Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival runs from Friday to Tuesday (June 21 to 25) at the Vancity Theatre, with a focus on protecting what we treasure. Here are five recommendations.
c LOST BLACK CATS 35TH SQUADRON (June 21) Jonathan Yang’s documentary reveals spy missions conducted by Taiwanese pilots during the Cold War. c THE SCOUNDRELS (June 21) Tzu-Hsuan Hung’s thriller includes bank robberies and some great martial-arts moves.
c THE BOLD, THE CORRUPT, AND THE BEAUTIFUL (June 22) Ya-che Yang wrote and directed this tale of murder that touches the life of an antique dealer.
c LONG TIME NO SEA (June 23) Heather Tsui depicts the true story of an Indigenous boy and a teacher preparing for a dance competition. c LATE LIFE: THE CHIENMING WANG STORY (June 23) Director Frank W. Chen’s documentary tells the tale of the only Taiwanese baseball player to pitch for the New York Yankees. g
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coterie of migrants, refugees, and oddball characters. And we meet them in a variety of beautifully shot settings, augmented by fun graphics and the occasional Bollywood number. It also offers an engaging lead performance from the one-named Dhanush, charmingly handsome star of many Tamil films, making his English-language debut as Aja Patel. He’s a Mumbai street kid, initially played by Hearty Singh, who grows up loving western notions of luxury. Aja gets this Europhilia from his hard-work- Tamil star Dhanush makes his English debut in The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir. ing mom (Amruta Sant), who dreams of going to Paris—something to do don’t care, and we soon see them before the rot set in. with the boy’s missing father, whom gnawing their way through the loNotable among the reanimated she refuses to talk about. cals, en route to things they enjoyed are Iggy Pop, who enjoys both a The lad does some Oliver Twist– y things in a spectacularly clean corner of the city; his wallet-lifting sleight of hand is magical enough to make him a fakir. But it’s his random encounter with an IKEA catalogue that gets him moving west. When the grown Aja finally gets to Paris, the results resemble a commercial for Swedish furniture, and that’s not accidental. The best-selling novel it’s based on is The Extraordinary Voyage of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe—more a synopsis than a title, and an indication of the whimsy that will accidentally carry this relentlessly upbeat fellow from Paris to England, Spain, Italy, Libya, and back to Mumbai, where he tells his story, as a framing device, to ragged dirty urchins being held in a sweaty police station. Think Slumdog Millionaire, minus the torture. Book author Romain Puértolas also adapted this screenplay, alongside Italian writer Luc Bossi and director Ken Scott, a Quebecer bestknown for French-language comedies like Starbuck and Delivery Man. They’re careful not to impose any tongue but English on the audience, and this results in notably stilted verbal outings from The Artist’s Bérénice Bejo, as a French movie star; Captain Phillips’s Barkhad Abdi, as a helpful refugee; and—this is the kicker—even American Erin Moriarty as the young, blond love interest Aja meets in Paris. In the book, this was an older Frenchwoman, but whatever. The whole thing is so sweetly sanitized (apart from some out-of-place “lesbian” jokes), no details matter much. This Fakir is a foreign film for people who never see foreign films. And if it opens a worldly catalogue for even one stay-at-home traveller, that’s probably to the good.
diner waitress and her bottomless coffee, and the songster Simpson, spotted dragging an old guitar by its strings. Later, more Z-people are seen searching for Wi-Fi hot spots. That’s funny. But does Jarmusch know that the suffocating consumerism and societal ignorance he’s spoofing were already tackled by George Romero, Samuel Fuller, and other filmmakers he openly evokes here? Watching over all this downbeat mayhem (the zombs emit black dust when struck) is the local hermit, with Tom Waits unrecognizable in matted dreadlocks that make him look like the Cowardly Lion in The
Wizard of Oz. Recalling elvish Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings, exvampire Tilda Swinton is a whitehaired undertaker with unexpected samurai skills. The metareferences pile up to the point where Driver even nods to his own Star Wars character. The effect is something like a David Lynch movie taken over by Kevin Smith in midproduction. If the results don’t quite add up to a fully satisfying addition to a timehonoured schlock tradition, they at least offer a stellar cast (with many surprise cameos) doing its part to keep the darkness at bay. by Ken Eisner
by Ken Eisner
THE DEAD DON’T DIE
Starring Bill Murray. Rated 14A
d IN JIM JARMUSCH’S 2005 feature Broken Flowers, someone leaves a CD of Ethiopian jazzer Mulatu Astatke in the rental car Bill Murray takes across country. Fourteen years later, Murray drives again, as worldweary sheriff Cliff Robertson, patrolling the usually peaceful Centerville. This time the soundtrack is provided by Sturgill Simpson, who sings the film’s title song about a dozen times. Repetition, deadpan delivery, and irregular rhythms are hallmarks of Jarmusch’s art. They came together gracefully in 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive, which turned the vampire flick into poetic commentary on civilization’s collapse. Here, the veteran indie director tackles the much broader zombie genre, with mixed results. Adam Driver, who starred in Jarmusch’s unusually straightforward Paterson, is a welcome presence as the laid-back chief’s earnest, somewhat heartless young deputy. Between them in age and temperament is a timid officer played by Chloë Sevigny. This trio are the bulwark protecting their tiny town (actually in upstate New York) when grisly things suddenly start happening. Raised on B-movies and video games, millennials instantly recognize a zombie attack when it happens, while older folk look for more rational explanations. In the style of ’50s scare classics, these come on the radio, from critics of “polar fracking”, which may have thrown the earth off its axis—a notion government officials dismiss as fake science. The undead
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Adjust expectations or end marriage by Dan Savage
b I FOUND YOUR column after a Google search. I saw your email address at the bottom and was hoping for some insight. My issue is this: two years into our 23-year marriage, my wife declared that she didn’t want to kiss me or perform oral on me. Several years ago, she had an affair and confessed that she not only kissed this other person but performed oral on them as well. Why them and not me? Should I just go find someone willing to do what I want? I have a high sex drive, but I fi nd that I don’t want to sleep with my wife anymore because there is never any foreplay and a few minutes into it she’s telling me to hurry up. I don’t feel wanted and, honestly, I no longer desire her. What do you make of this? - Hurting Unwanted Husband Before telling you what I make of your email, HUH, I want to tell you what I wish I could make out of your email: a time machine. If I could turn all those pixels and code and whatever else into a working time machine, I’d drag your ass back to 1996 (and try to talk you out of marrying your wife) or 1998 (and try to talk you into leaving her after two years of marriage). But since time machines aren’t a thing—at least not yet—we’ll have to talk about the here and now. Your wife isn’t attracted to you, and never was, or hasn’t been for a long, long time. And now the feeling is mutual—you aren’t attracted to her anymore, either. And if you’re seriously wondering why
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she kissed and blew that other person—the person with whom she had an affair—when she hasn’t wanted to kiss or blow you for 20-plus years (“Why them and not me?”), HUH, the answer is as painful as it is obvious: your wife was attracted to her affair partner (that’s why them) and she’s not attracted to you (that’s why not you). Now, it’s possible your wife was attracted to you a long time ago; I assume she was kissing and blowing you while you were dating and during the couple dozen months of marriage. (She wouldn’t have to announce she was going to stop doing those things if she’d never started.) But at some point relatively early in your marriage, HUH, your wife’s desire to swallow your spit and inhale your dick evaporated. It’s possible her desire to swallow/inhale the spit/dick of her affair partner would have evaporated in roughly the same amount of time, and she would have lost interest in him and his dick and his spit as well. Some people have a hard time sustaining desire over time—and contrary to popular belief, women have a harder time sustaining desire in committed, romantic relationships than men do. (Wednesday Martin wrote an entire NYT best-selling book about it, Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.) Of course, it’s possible your wife isn’t the problem. You may have said or done something that
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some people actually enjoy boring—I have it on good authority that some people can get a thrill knitting sweaters and sitting still—there is something the rest of us can do to keep things exciting once the shiny new phase of a relationship is over: go on strange and exciting new adventures together. Early on in the relationship, SOSO, your new partner was your exciting new adventure and you were theirs. But now instead of being the exciting new adventure, you have to figure out what exciting new adventures you’d like to go on together—and then get out there and go on them. b I’M A YOUNG nonbinary ethical slut, and I have a question about a kink that one of my partners is discovering. We are very close, although we are not sexually active with each other at this point (we are currently long-distance). She has another partner with whom she is currently exploring “little” play. I feel personally uncomfortable with age-regression play, but I obviously want to be supportive and
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understanding. We have fairly good communication, and I am able to tell her when I feel uncomfortable and that I still love and support her but I just can’t talk about “little” play at the time. I would love to be able to talk about it with her and be supportive, and at the very least make sure I don’t say anything ignorant or hurtful to her. My question is this: how can I stretch my zone of comfort and learn about this kink in a healthy and educated way? - A Little Uncomfortable If you want to get more comfortable discussing “little” play, i.e., adults pretending to be small children with other consenting adults, the Dream a Little podcast is a good place to start. It’s hosted by Lo, an AB/DL (adult baby/diaper lover) who has been a guest on my own podcast and who recently made an appearance in the column offering advice to a sad and lonely AB/DL. That said, ALU, you aren’t obligated to listen to your partner talk about this kink if the topic makes you uncomfortable—or just bores you senseless. Tell her that you support her and you know it’s exciting to explore a new kink, and while she doesn’t have to hide this from you, it’s not something you’re comfortable—at least for now—discussing at length. On the Lovecast, Stéphane Deschênes on living the nudist life: savagelovecast.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage. ITMFA.org.
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MING, Nice & Mature. Phone Services
FREE 2 TRY LIVE CHAT! 1-855-538-8866 1-900-783-5446 MOBILE #4565 NationwidePersonals.ca/call
First time offer: 90 min/ $150
JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 23
HAS A WORLD OF WAITING TO BE
EVERYTHING WINE IS A PURVEYOR OF OVER 4,000 WINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, SERVING CUSTOMERS IN SIX B.C. LOCATIONS. Explore the world of wine through our incredible selection of BC, domestic, and international wines. From amazing value-priced wines to premium iconic greats, you will also find the guidance to discover the bottle that’s right for you by our WSET trained staff. Shop online or visit any location!
North Vancouver 998 Marine Dr.
South Vancouver 8570 River District Crossing
CONTACT: 1 844 989 9463
24 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT JUNE 20 – 27 / 2019
Surrey 112-15735 Croydon Dr.
Langley 100-19868 Langley Bypass
HOURS: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm Sun: 11am - 7pm
ON ORDERS OF $200 OR MORE
ON YOUR PURCHASE OF 12 OR MORE BOTTLES OF WINE
DAILY WINE TASTINGS FROM 2PM-6PM
Langford 131-2401 Millstream Rd.
NOW OPEN Abbotsford 125-1828 McCallum Rd.