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6 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018

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CONTENTS

Richmond Night Market. Jeremy J. Saunders photo.

9

NEWS

The City of Vancouver is taking aggressive measures to curb real-estate speculation in the Broadway Corridor in advance of a rapid-transit project being built from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street. > BY CHARLIE SMITH

10

CANNABIS

First Nations entrepreneurs are advocating for much more Indigenous participation in the cannabis-legalization process. > BY PIPER COURTENAY

11

TECHNOLOGY

A local nonprofit combines tradition and technology while preserving First Nations languages through a suite of unique apps. > BY K ATE WILSON

15

FOOD

Ever wanted to sit at a table for dinner and get hoisted 150 feet above the city? Ever had to visit a bathroom while up there? > BY TAMMY K WAN

START HERE 15 28 15 24 12 31 14 8 22 23

The Bottle Confessions I Saw You Movie Reviews Real Estate Savage Love Straight Stars Straight Talk Theatre Visual Arts

TIME OUT 23 Arts 29 Music

19

ARTS

Ajlan Gharem’s Paradise Has Many Gates went viral in Saudi Arabia. Now the big art installation is hitting the Vancouver waterfront. > BY JANE T SMITH

27

SERVICES 29 Careers 12 Real Estate

COVER

Sons of Kemet saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings shows that there’s a lot more to jazz than the American model. > BY ALE X ANDER VART Y

GeorgiaStraight @ GeorgiaStraight @ GeorgiaStraight

29

COVER PHOTO

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Coun. Adriane Carr is calling for an audit of Vancouver’s program that provides incentives for developers of what the city describes as “forprofit affordable rental housing”. Carr wants to know if the program currently known as Rental 100 is actually producing affordable housing for renters. In a motion, Carr noted that the city hasn’t tracked rents under Rental 100 and its predecessor, the Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR), since projects were completed. In an interview, Carr said she has heard that rents have become “way higher” in some of these developments. “I have heard from people that there are some projects that came through either the Rental 100 or the earlier STIR program that really never have delivered the kind of affordability that we expected,” Carr told the Straight by phone. Carr also claimed that she has heard that the addresses of some of these projects have changed and are now different from those identified in staff reports submitted to council. One of the various Rental 100 incentives is an exemption from payment of development-cost levies (DCLs) if rents at first occupancy do not exceed rates stipulated by the city in its guidelines. The starting rents apply at the date of the public hearing, and developers can raise rents each year while projects are being built at the rate allowed by the province’s tenancy law. Under the rental-incentive guidelines for 2018, “for-profit affordable rental housing” projects are eligible for DCL waivers if their proposed starting rents for East Side projects do not exceed $1,496 for a studio, $1,730 for a one-bedroom, $2,505 for two bedrooms, and $3,365 for three bedrooms. For the West Side, the maximum starting rents are $1,646 for a studio, $1,903 for a one-bedroom, $2,756 for two bedrooms, and $3,702 for three bedrooms. In her motion, Carr noted that both STIR and Rental 100 have been subsidized by taxpayers. The motion has been referred for

council discussion Wednesday (June 20). > CARLITO PABLO

PARKS CANDIDATE CHIDES VSB OVER HYDRO PROJECT

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) is scheduled to decide on a B.C. Hydro proposal for a power substation underneath Lord Roberts Elementary Annex in the West End’s Nelson Park. In advance of VSB deliberations, a candidate in this year’s civic election has some words for the board. Jamie Lee Hamilton says the board may be inviting legal action if it approves the B.C. Hydro proposal, which will lead to the closure of the school during construction. “School board has to be careful there because they could be breaking their own procedure, which says that any plan for school closures requires the public to be consulted, and that hasn’t happened,” Hamilton told the Straight in a phone interview. Hamilton explained that if the board approves the project, it will mean that it has effectively prejudged the outcome of any future public consultation regarding the closure of Lord Roberts annex. “I think injunctions will be brought,” said Hamilton, who is running for the park board with the Independent Democratic Electors Alliance, or IDEA Vancouver, which has taken on the B.C. Hydro project as an issue. As a park-board candidate, Hamilton is also concerned that portions of Nelson Park will be dug up. The school board’s current policy on school closures involves a detailed process of engaging the community. It requires a “fair consideration of the community’s input” before a decision is made. District staff have submitted a report included in the agenda Wednesday (June 20) of the planning and facilities committee, updating the board about the status of the B.C. Hydro proposal. According to the report, the board is set to “make final deliberations” about the matter on June 25. B.C. Hydro has offered to buy the space immediately below Lord Roberts annex at the end of the

2022–23 school year for the construction of the power substation. The proceeds of the sale will go to the construction of a future elementary school in Coal Harbour, where annex students will be relocated. As the staff report noted, construction of the substation will take five years, from 2023 to 2028. Upon completion, a new Lord Roberts annex will be developed at the site. VSB chair Janet Fraser was not available for an interview. > CARLITO PABLO

JUDGE RULES BLOOD STAYS IN HANDS OF CROWN

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has refused to return blood to an unnamed person who appeared in court seeking to get it back. Instead, Justice Robert Jenkins granted the Crown’s application to retain the blood for an additional 18 months in connection with a possible prosecution for impaired driving. The person was in a motorvehicle accident, which prompted the police investigation. According to Jenkins’s June 15 ruling, two vials of blood were seized from Royal Columbian Hospital on February 24, 2017, after the RCMP obtained a production order. The Mounties had legal authorization to seize the person’s health records from the hospital two months later. “From those records, the RCMP officer learned that blood had been taken from the suspect at Royal Columbian Hospital and a toxicology screening indicated the suspect’s blood alcohol concentration to have been high on the date of the accident and that cannabis was also detected and referenced as high in the same report,” Jenkins wrote. He concluded that the items— two vials of blood—could not be needed for any purpose, which wouldn’t necessarily have been the case if other items, such as a cellphone or vehicle, had been seized. “There is no reason given in the matter before me of ‘the exact nature of their need for return’ and it is difficult to imagine what possible need the suspect may have for the same,” Jenkins concluded. > CHARLIE SMITH

The Georgia Straight | Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly | Volume 52 Number 2632 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 www.straight.com Phone: 604-730-7000 / Fax: 604-730-7010 / e-mail: gs.info@straight.com Display Advertising: 604-730-7020 / Fax: 604-730-7012 / e-mail: sales@straight.com Classifieds: 604-730-7060 / e-mail: classads@straight.com Subscriptions: 604-730-7000 Distribution: 604-730-7087 EDITOR + PUBLISHER Dan McLeod ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Yolanda Stepien GENERAL MANAGER Matt McLeod EDITOR Charlie Smith PRODUCT DIRECTOR

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Gail Johnson, John Lucas, Alexander Varty STAFF WRITERS

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

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

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

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

Janet McDonald

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Tamara Robinson ACCOUNTING CLERK Dillan Winn

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

8 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018


NEWS

City targets land speculation > BY C HA RL IE SM I TH

C

all it Mayor Gregor Robertson’s speculation tax. City of Vancouver staff have proposed aggressive measures to curb land speculation over a large area around the proposed subway line underneath Broadway. The Millennium Line Broadway Extension is slated to be built from VCC–Clark Station to Arbutus Street and will include six stations. While a new planning process is under way, Vancouver city staff have recommended that no new rezoning applications be considered in the Broadway Study Area unless they’re for 100 percent social and supportive housing or community-care facilities or for group residents. In a report to council’s policy and strategic-priorities committee, this Broadway Study Area is defined as a wide swath of land from Clark Drive in East Vancouver to Vine Street in Kitsilano, and from 16th Avenue to 1st Avenue. Rezoning applications that have already been filed in this area will be allowed to proceed. The planning process will have no impact on the redevelopment of the Denny’s restaurant site in the 1200 block of West Broadway into a mixed-use project with 153 rental housing units and atgrade commercial uses. Staff have also recommended that council approve the “Development Contribution Expectations in Areas Undergoing Community Planning” policy. This is designed to limit land speculation in the Broadway Study Area. This approach would reverse the typical process of setting communityamenity contributions through negotiations. According to the staff report, this will provide clarity for developers who hope to build above what’s permitted under the existing zoning.

The proposed Millennium Line Broadway Extension has already led to property deals along the route, including around Granville Street and West Broadway.

Council was expected to approve the recommendations on June 20 after the Straight went to the printer. Staff have called for contributions to the city of $330 per square foot for additional market strata residential over the current zoning limit in areas east of Main Street. The recommendation for west of Main Street is $425 per square foot going to city coffers for market strata residential that exceeds existing zoning. The report points out that 27 percent of the purpose-built rental units in Vancouver are within the study area. “Land speculation can contribute to rising land costs, impact housing and job space affordability, and hurt the City’s ability to deliver affordable rental housing and provide community amenities to serve the needs of our growing population,” the report states. “In recognition of these challenges, Council directed staff through the Housing Vancouver Action Plan to bring forward a policy to stabilize land values in emerging plan areas.” In a PowerPoint presentation to stakeholders on May 22, the city referred to the Broadway corridor as “home to the second largest employment centre in British Columbia”. The key priorities in the planning process are to retain job space and

provide affordable rental housing. “Planning for Broadway now provides an opportunity to coordinate transit-supportive land use, affordable housing policies, transportation connectivity and public realm design with the rapid transit project,” the PowerPoint document states. It adds that rising land costs undermine the city’s capacity to facilitate the development of housing for the city’s workforce. “Buyers and sellers of land in the Broadway Corridor need to recognize the City’s intention to limit speculation and to achieve affordable rental housing, public amenities and infrastructure as part of community planning.” The plan will be finalized by December 2020 with a yet-to-be-determined implementation date. According to the real-estate company Avison Young, there were 19 sites that changed hands along West Broadway between December 2016 and earlier this year. The biggest deal involved the sale of the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company building east of Arbutus Street for $39 million. The next largest was the $35-million sale of the Staples store building west of Birch Street. -

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CANNABIS

Indigenous voices seek input on cannabis > B Y PIPER C OUR TE NAY

W

hen Senator Lillian Eva Dyck presented a 20-page report to the Senate last month, she shone a hard spotlight on the lack of Indigenous consultation in the process of cannabis legalization. Since then, several politicians have responded, including Anne McLellan, leader of the government’s cannabis task force. She told a Senate committee that she “made very sure that Indigenous individuals were invited” but “not everyone that was invited came”. James Delorme, a member of B.C.’s Klahoose First Nation and a former chief, says he’s heard this kind of rhetoric before and fears Indigenous voices will continue to be forgotten in the legal landscape.

“It’s an old story based on a colonial system,” he says. “If this government is really serious about building nation-to-nation relationships and supporting truthand-reconciliation work, they need to go beyond statements.” Delorme founded First Sky Media Group, which aims to preserve First Nations cultural identity through the use of modern technology—for example, using drones to explore traditional territories. Since becoming a cannabis user, however, he has expanded his mandate to include educating his people on the medicinal benefits of the plant. Delorme believes cannabis offers a unique opportunity for nationwide Ex-Klahoose chief James Delorme Indigenous leadership by leveraging says First Nations have been left out. their understanding of holistic medicines. “Using traditional medicines “As traditional people, we have is part of our DNA,” he says. always done that with the plants

and herbs in our territories. It’s not a new idea for us, and we have a way of understanding cannabis that could expand on how non-Indigenous communities understand it.” If their knowledge is properly tapped, he believes that healers and elders could champion the discussion around using cannabis as a treatment for a variety of conditions. “The point people are missing is that we, First Nations people, are the original stewards of the land. It’s important we are consulted about how the process should take place, yet we’ve been left out of the conversation,” he says. Brian Jones, a member of the Sechelt First Nation, hopes to highlight the forgotten Indigenous voices by empowering communities to share their traditional knowledge. Transitioning from a career in

politics and administration, Jones is in charge of First Nations relations at TLC Botanicals, an Indigenousowned medical cannabis company in Fort Langley, B.C. TLC consults First Nations groups looking to build licensed facilities and create medical-cannabis products. “Our team connects with the communities...usually through the elders. The elders are the ones with the knowledge of the plants and herbs that can be used for medicines, and we share that [with other communities].” Jones says the holistic knowledge within Indigenous communities could benefit all Canadians, but the problem is they don’t often have a platform to share their stories. “If we can tell our story in a way that is going to positively impact others to understand the medicinal

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see next page


Youths who wanted to text were the impetus behind the creation of the FirstVoices Keyboard app, which offers more than 100 letters and characters.

App facilitates use of Aboriginal languages > B Y KATE WIL SON

O

f the 34 languages spoken by B.C.’s Indigenous peoples, many have only a handful of individuals who are fluent. Adolescents are growing up without learning the tongues of their heritage and have been unable to access resources to educate themselves. Without successfully engaging new speakers, First Nations’ rich linguistic customs will become further endangered. The First Peoples’ Cultural Council aims to change that. As a provincial Crown corporation that supports the revitalization of language, arts, and culture in B.C.’s 203 First Nations communities, the council uses a number of approaches to help encourage participation in traditional practices. One of those is technology. In 2016, the council launched the FirstVoices Keyboard app. Recognizing that much communicating is now done online, it created more than 100 different keypads that can be easily accessed on an iPhone or Android. The app, which re-creates the unique letters and characters that of First Nations languages, lets individuals chat with the spelling and grammar of their culture. “We created it because we had such a huge response from youth,” Shaylene Boechler, outreach manager at the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, tells the Georgia Straight on the line from Brentwood Bay, near Victoria. “They wanted to be able to text in their language, and that was the driving force. All the resources we develop are informed by the needs of the communities. I don’t know if it would have been something we would have taken on right away if there hadn’t been so much feedback from phone calls and visits. Now it’s our most popular resource and has more than 41,000 downloads.” The FirstVoices Keyboard app draws on data gathered by its parent project: the FirstVoices.com website. The page is an online archiving tool and offers funding for First Nations to collect language records and upload them to the central database. Communities have been depositing

Indigenous voices

from previous page

values associated with plants, cannabis being one of them, we have the potential to be leaders,” he says, adding the recent lack of political consultation highlights the need for more communication. Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples came close to indefinitely halting the process of legalization, citing the lack of inclusion. Several members vowed to support a Conservative amendment, intending to stall the bill until the government addressed the concerns of Indigenous communities. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott responded with a letter promising reports to both houses of Parliament detail-

their dialects for years and have full autonomy to decide what content goes into their archives. Using that central repository as a foundation, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council has created a number of other stand-alone digital projects to aid in language-learning. “We initially released dictionary apps back in 2011,” Boechler says. “They allowed people to access words and phrases and actually listen to someone speaking and pronouncing the entries. We relaunched them more recently, and they represent 13 First Nations languages. They’re built on open-source software and now have much more refined search functions. “As well as that, we have the FirstVoices Language Tutor and FirstVoices Kids,” she continues. “The kids’ version is targeted towards prereaders, so there’s a lot more audio and visual in that section of the archives. The Tutor is our languagelearning platform that uses the data to create lessons and teach adults their mother tongue. We’re finding ways for all the recordings in the repository to be repurposed in different ways.” In Boechler’s view, combining culture with technology is the best way to preserve First Nations languages. “One of the key benefits of operating digitally is the access,” she says. “Even if you’re not living in your community but you still want to learn about your language and culture, you have a way of connecting back. All the apps we develop are free to download.” Boechler believes that the accessibility of the software acts as a catalyst for underconfident speakers. By allowing an entry point for those who don’t feel comfortable enough to jump into a mentor-apprentice immersion program—a project where individuals work with a fluent speaker—the apps offer a safe space for people to begin to engage with their culture. “In order for a language to continue to thrive, we need to see it used in schools but also in people’s personal lives,” Boechler says. “Technology influences everyone, especially younger generations. Putting language into their domains—on phones and devices—is really important.” ing ongoing efforts to include First Nations voices in the process. They also pledged more funding be set aside for things like addictiontreatment programs and an increase in profit-sharing benefiting First Nations communities. It was enough to temporarily win back the support of the committee members and Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, is set to receive royal assent. Jones says he hopes the government follows through on these promises and it’s not just more “tokenism”. “I worked with a leader that always said: ‘Come walk with us to see why we’re still here,’ but not often does that actually happen,” he says. “The government will write a letter or invite us to a roundtable, with no personal attachment to it, and they say they’ve done their consultation. That’s not enough to hear the concerns of our communities.”-

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Adventure beckons visitors to Squamish

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nce upon a time, Squamish In March, the benchmark price for was the place where motor- a single-family detached home ists would pick up a burger in Squamish passed the $1-million at a drive-through restau- mark, according to the Real Estate rant on their way to Whistler. A blue- Board of Greater Vancouver. Relacollar town built on forestry, it was the tively speaking, however, home furthest thing from a tourist destina- prices are still lower up the Sea to tion in the 1970s and early 1980s. Sky Highway than in many areas But that began to change later that of the Lower Mainland, with the decade and into the 1990s with the benchmark price for Squamish growing popularity of rock climb- apartments at just $516,800 in May. ing. A major advancement was the That was down 5.1 percent from the invention of the previous month. battery-powered Among the Hilti drill, which projects on the enabled climbers market is Jumar, Charlie Smith to attach stronger by Wave Developbolts into the granite. As a result, ments. It will include one-, two-, and the magnificent Stawamus Chief, a three-bedroom units in a 101-unit 700-metre granite dome overlooking complex in downtown Squamish. Squamish, became a magnet for Due to be completed in 2020, Juclimbing enthusiasts, with several mar will also feature ground-floor moving into the area. shops and services, as well as a Stawamus Provincial Park was es- 6,000-square-foot child-care centre. tablished in 1997, boosting the proThat’s one of the largest, but it’s file of the Chief. Its three summits not the only offering on the market. can all be reached by back-side hik- Newport Beach on the Squamish ing trails, but it is the vertical front oceanfront will become home to up face that attracts elite climbers. to 6,500 residents in a master-planned By 2008, the District of Squamish community created through a partwas estimating that climbing spots nership of Bethel Lands Corporation in the region were generating ap- and Texas-based Matthews Southwest. proximately $25 million per year Then there’s Benchmark Homes Ltd.’s in revenue. With the 2010 Olympics Ravenswood, an upscale 111-unit sublooming and the highway undergoing division with units ranging from 1,854 massive improvements, politicians square feet to 2,411 square feet. decided to dub their community the In the Garibaldi Highlands near “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Quest University, there’s another Canada”. This branding led to far large development called University greater appreciation for all that the Heights. And down the highway at Squamish area has to offer, including Britannia Beach, Macdonald Deworld-class mountain biking, white- velopment is developing more than 70 water rafting, standup paddle- townhomes and 14 rental apartments. boarding, kayaking, and hiking. Back in 2007, SFU researcher DonIn winter, the region attracts thou- ald Gutstein wrote an article in the sands of bald eagles. Georgia Straight focusing on the imIn 2015, the New York Times in- pact of the 2010 Winter Games on real cluded Squamish on its annual list of estate in the Sea to Sky corridor. He 52 destinations to visit that year, high- cited a B.C. Ministry of Highways and lighting its year-round Sea to Sky Gon- Transportation report concluding that dola, which rises 885 metres above of all the possible road improvements Howe Sound. A more recent rebrand- to Whistler, upgrading Highway 99 ing exercise has defined Squamish as North scored the highest for “developbeing “hardwired for adventure”. able land accessed”. But adventure isn’t Squamish’s When this $795-million project was only calling card. It has also be- completed, it set off a real-estate rush come a hot real-estate attraction. that continues to this day. -

Real Estate

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straight stars > B Y R O SE MARCUS

A

June 21 to 27, 2018

new season launches and so much more. A rare opposition between Venus and Mars happens on the summer solstice. Although Venus/Mars meet by opposition every two years, usually one is retrograde when that happens. Not so this time. Additionally, Mars in Aquarius draws from the karmic axis, unlocking that which has been held in a frozen or subconscious state. Venus in Leo stimulates creative opportunity, supplying an additional element or resource to assist with this time of karmic transition, fruition, and moving forward. While Venus/Mars launches an excellent time for special events such as taking a vacation break, Thursday onward also marks a tipping point for relationships, all of them—personal, romantic, economic, social, political, collective—and for all matters to do with home, family, parent/child, caretaking, aging, the past, real estate, nationalism, protectionism, safety, and security. Watch for significant developments regarding contentious political issues While in direct motion, Mars in Aquarius can keep trends, stress, controversy, guesswork, and the volatility factor going strong. As of Tuesday, Mars begins a two-month retrograde cycle. Just as soon as you think you have a handle on it, things could change. Mars retrograde can disrupt progress or the status quo, hijack the attention or momentum, and produce an abrupt turnaround or carpet pull. The transit is best used for a pull-back, unplug, and regroup. Wednesday, the Capricorn full moon can be results- or milestoneproducing. ARIES March 20–April 19 You are about to shatter through your own sound barrier. Venus/Mars greatly heightens your awareness, intuition, creative opportunity, instinctual responses, and sense of “I deserve.� Regroup now. You now stand on ground zero of a soon to be completely altered reality. Mars retrograde is ideal for pulling the plug, breaking free, and radical reinvention. Wednesday could see you tackle or finish something important.





TAURUS



GEMINI



CANCER

April 20–May 20

True security could be a thing of the past, but see change as an exceptional opportunity in the works. Whether you feel squeezed or it’s a choice, Mars retrograde, starting Tuesday, prompts a major career, lifestyle, or priority redirection. Venus/Mars marks a breaking point or breakthrough threshold. Wednesday’s full moon can set you up for reward or a well-timed ending. May 21–June 21

On a breakthrough trajectory with Mars on Thursday, Venus in Leo thrusts you into something fresh and unexpected. Although it could be fun, social, lucrative, or expensive, you can continue to feel under pressure regarding the serious stuff, the goal post, or the end of the month. Mars retrograde, starting Tuesday, produces a noticeable shift of momentum. You can’t force what isn’t coming naturally. June 21–July 22

Thursday could be an emotionally charged day. Something could go snap. As the sun/Saturn build to next Wednesday’s full moon, you could feel that time is not on your side, that the decks are stacked against you. Adopt an attitude of nothing to lose, plenty to be gained. No matter how you feel on the inside, a show of courage is your best play.



LEO

July 22–August 22

You’ll gain on yourself, on it, or them as Venus in Leo takes the lead over Mars on Thursday. Tuesday can produce a backtrack or derail good intentions. Mars retrograde is ideal for letting yourself off the hook. Take a time-out for a personal regroup or for a sideline project.



VIRGO



LIBRA



SCORPIO



SAGITTARIUS



CAPRICORN

August 22–September 22

One way or another, it’s breakthrough or break-free time. Thursday onward sets major wheels in motion. Keep on watch for the unexpected. In some matters, you may not feel you have a choice. Once Mars turns retrograde, you could hit a backtrack. Mars breaks it down for you; clarity is your net gain. Wednesday’s full moon helps you to regain control. September 22–October 23

Thursday’s solstice sets you on Go and thrusts the action switch in some dynamic way. Venus in Leo is on a break-free trigger with Mars. Social, personal, or professional, a relationship reaches a breaking point or moves to the next level. A legal matter can hit a forward thrust too. Tuesday/ Wednesday redirects you, them, or it. Mars retrograde sets you onto an alternate track. October 23–November 21

You deserve a break! Now through mid–next week, a finish-off, vacation time, or a pullback is well timed. Thursday’s Venus/Mars and next Wednesday’s sun/Saturn can see you reach a goal post or milestone. Mars retrograde, starting Tuesday, is an important personal-regroup cycle. Take your hands off the steering wheel. Observe; stay objective; don’t force it; let circumstances play themselves out. November 21–December 21

While a reality continues to weigh on you, Thursday can set you onto a positive advance. Venus in Leo keeps you upbeat and helps you to make the most of it. Despite the tension or uncertainty that Mars now produces, Venus enhances opportunity, pleasure, creativity, and matters of heart. Tuesday could derail plans, activities, or intention. Wednesday’s full moon makes it a done deal. December 21–January 19

Thursday onward can get you going on something fresh, alternative, or unexpected. Vacation, time off, or a time-out is well timed. Mars retrograde, starting Tuesday, takes you through a critical self-discovery process. You could be surprised by what you dig up. Wants, desires, and necessity could take a radical shift. Fullmoon Wednesday produces results, reward, or finality. AQUARIUS January 20–February 18 Thursday sheds extra light on a special someone or something. Venus/Mars can prompt an important breakthrough or cut to the chase. From one extreme to another, something new—perhaps out of the blue—can overtake you. A major lifestyle change is in the works. Mars retrograde, starting Tuesday, launches a two-month get-your-act-together window.





PISCES

February 18–March 20

Summer-solstice Thursday can see you make great progress regarding work or working it out. Venus/ Mars can trigger a personal, creative, health, or wellness breakthrough. Even so, once Mars turns retrograde on Tuesday, you could hit a backtrack or sidetrack. Wednesday’s full moon brings something important to fruition or completion. Something important sets into play. B o o k a re a d i n g o r s i g n u p f o r

Have you found yourself do- Rose’s free monthly newsletter at ing battle with someone or something? rosemarcus.com/. 14 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018


FOOD

Alsace pours rich flavours

I

It’s hard to top the scenery when Dinner in the Sky serves its locally inspired drinks and sustainable seafood at a table suspended high above the city.

Dinner in the Sky elevates food lovers > BY TA M MY KWAN

F

or those who have an appetite for gravity-defying thrills and gourmet eats, you’ll want to check out this upcoming event in the city. After a sold-out run last year, Dinner in the Sky Vancouver will be returning to the North Shore (415 West Esplanade, North Vancouver) from June 23 through July 29 this summer. It’s a unique crane-hoisted dining experience that takes place 150 feet in the air, allowing food lovers to dine in a sky-high setting accompanied by ocean, mountain, and city scenery. This culinary attraction was acquired by local company Westcoast Sightseeing earlier this year, and it recently announced that award-winning chef Ned Bell (Vancouver Aquarium and Chefs for Oceans) will be joining its team as chef ambassador. Besides dinner options, brunch, lunch, and happy-hour packages will be offered. We don’t know too much about what will be on the menus, but guests can expect locally inspired food and drink items; high-quality ingredients and sustainable seafood are basically Bell’s mantra.

“I love getting people excited about food,” Bell said in a media release. “And let’s face it, dining doesn’t get too much more exciting and enchanting than when enjoying delicious local dishes and wines while suspended high above this breathtaking view.” As for the logistics, the maximum capacity for each lift is 22 guests. You’ll be securely strapped in a rotating and reclining seat to get the most out of the 360-degree harbour and mountain views. If you’re wondering what to do if you suddenly have the urge to use the restroom in the middle of the meal, Dinner in the Sky has an answer for you in its website’s FAQ section: go before getting onto the platform. Eight to 10 different dining experiences will be offered, with prices ranging from $149 (happy hour in the sky) to $299 (brunch in the sky) to $569 (a VIP dinner-in-the-sky package). Word of mouth tells us that this one-of-a-kind foodie attraction is worth the dent in your wallet—if you’re keen to check it out, we suggest saving up for the next few weeks. For more information and reservations, visit www.dinnerinthesky canada.com/. -

’ve just returned from a week in Rieslings, Gewürztraminers, MusAlsace, the famed northeastern cats, Pinot Blancs, Pinot Gris, and French wine region nestled in Pinot Noirs, the key varieties of the the Vosges mountains, nice region, that were outright revelations. and snug against the western bor- Although many of these wines are der of Germany. classified Grand Cru, meaning they’re To be sure, if you squint the area top-tier wines carrying exceptional could certainly be German terri- provenance, there are 51 of these tory, as it has been on occasion over designated vineyard areas throughout past centuries. Steep-pitched roofs Alsace, making it fairly complicated and clay tiles adorn many dwellings to wrap one’s head around them. and other buildings, and although On the upside, it is a wine-produFrench is the dominant language, cing part of the world where you don’t it’s not uncommon to hear residents have to get all Grand Cru spendy to speak Alsatian (a be richly rewarded. German dialect) Pfaff Pinot Gris in restaurants and 2016 ($19.99, B.C. cafés as they tuck Liquor Stores) ofKurtis Kolt into regional fare fers a good, midlike choucroute, spätzle, and pork weight take on the grape—managing sausages. a confident tightrope walk between Along with fellow Canadian and mineral-laden citrus with bright acidAmerican wine writers, I was invited ity and rich, honeyed peaches bringby Vins Alsace, the regional market- ing a little opulence—while Pfaff ing body, on this trip centred around Gewürztraminer 2015 ($19.49, B.C. its big Millésimes Alsace event: a Liquor Stores) will bring affable litchi, grand tasting showcase of the latest rosewater, and Mandarin orange releases from more than a hundred to any spicy South Asian cuisine at producers. The week was balanced your table. out by various winery visits, vineyard The family of Hugel & Fils, the tours, seminars, and my awkward at- globally lauded house active since tempts at employing Grade 12 French 1639, has had another passing of the from 25 years ago, to clumsy and hil- torch, as Jean Frédéric Hugel has arious effect. (Apologies, Madame now assumed the global-ambassador La Rosa; you were completely correct position carried with much renown that I’d never retain the language if I by his father, Etienne, who died in didn’t put in more effort.) 2016. When not touring the world There were numerous take-aways promoting the family brand, the grefrom my journey, not the least of garious 29-year-old carries Hugel’s which was learning that the smoke history with aplomb, wearing many alarms in airplane washrooms will hats in the winery, including runindeed go off if, say, the dumb-ass ning tastings and stomping through guy sitting next to you decides to vineyards with guests. Catching try to grab a sneaky puff. Appar- up with him was a delight, as is his ently, they don’t (in this instance, family’s Hugel Classic Muscat 2013 at least) bring in law enforcement ($28.99, B.C. Liquor Stores). The upon arrival, though the flight crew wine, fresh with white flowers, lemcertainly get very upset and shouty on balm, green grapes, and a handabout such behaviour, and it does go ful of minerals, makes one wonder on one’s permanent record. why it isn’t front and centre in many Beyond that, I tried plenty of other global cool-climate regions.

The Bottle

> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < LOTUS TATTOO ON YOUR SHOULDER

r

s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 18, 2018 WHERE: Kitsilano Beach Park I was dozing in the grass when you sat down near me‚ Äî circle frames and long blonde hair. I was overdressed for the heat, in dark blue jeans and a cut off tee. I couldn’t help but notice the large lotus mandala tattooed on your shoulder‚ Äî I have almost the same motif on my elbow. I had to hurry back to work, or else I would have (probably) said hello. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in the sun.

WALKING ON HASTINGS AND MAIN ST.

s

s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 18, 2018 WHERE: walking down Hastings toward main st. You were wearing a grey hat with a white band, long blond hair, goatee, beige shorts and hiking boots. You were walking with a guy in a NYC baseball hat black shirt and short with Doc Martins. My boyfriend and I were driving down hastings (we circled the block twice ). My boyfriend thinks your friend is hot and I think you are. We never had the courage to approach because we thought you we straight or together. Bottom line its we would like to have a laugh sometime, if your gay that is, sound like fun to you

SMILING BRUNETTE AT JJ BEAN

r

s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 18, 2018 WHERE: JJ Bean on Powell St We run into each other weekly. You ordered the last jalapeno muffin and I made a comment how I wanted it. You turned around right away and offered to buy another one. You: black dress, brown hair, matching red lips to your red glasses and a cute accent. Me: black suit, blond hair with no red glasses. Maybe next time we can share a jalapeno muffin?

MEGABITE PIZZA ON DAVIE FRIDAY JUNE 15TH

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 15, 2018 WHERE: Megabite Pizza On Davie Street You were with friends and in the middle of a really strange conversation late Friday night when I walked in :) I couldn't help but stare and I want to see your smile again. Sending this out across the universe to see if it finds you.

GIRL WITH THE MOTH NECK TATTOO

r

s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 16, 2018 WHERE: On the 99 B-Line, exited at Cambie We were both on the 99 B-Line bus heading west bound. I commented briefly as to how I thought your neck tattoo was dope as I was exiting at Broadway and Cambie. You said thank you and looked me in the eyes in a way I haven't been able to forget. Coffee?

CAPERS MARKET GLANCES

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s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 14, 2018 WHERE: Caper Market, 4th and Vine We’ve seen each other a couple of times at Capers market on 4th and Vine. You petite 5’2’, dark hair,(?) in sports gear, and me 5’11 in blue shirt, tie and jeans. I said hello yesterday at the bread section. Let’s break bread together.

PRADO CAFE COMMERCIAL DRIVE

s

r

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 17, 2018 WHERE: Commercial drive and east 4th We sat near each other in the front window tables at Prado this morning. You were on your computer but looked up and smiled at me. When I got up to leave you smiled again, I smiled back and said goodbye. I had to leave to catch a flight but now I'm sitting at the airport wishing I was sitting in the cafe with you.

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BEAUTIFUL BLONDE ON THE 262 CAULDIELD BUS

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I was on my way to Lion's Bay for work, and you were sitting at Horseshoe Bay waiting for the 262. When the shuttle bus arrived, we both entered the bus but the driver told me I he was not loading yet. He let you stay on, and I went to finish a smoke. We both rode the bus up to Caulfield where you left. You stunned me with your beauty, and I hope you read this article? I hope so!

STAR-SHAVE-ALLIGNEDBUCKS

s

r

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 8, 2018 WHERE: Kits Beach Starbucks You say next to me at the counter facing towards the water at Starbucks. You were wearing hiking boots. I asked about your phone, and we talked about my lifegaurding course. I meant it when I said "hope I see you agian" If you see this call into the technological abyss, let's go for a hike if you'd like.

ICE CREAM AT BUY/LOW

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 14, 2018 WHERE: Kingsgate mall / Buy Low You were the bike riding, short haired brunette in line on the first till. I was second in line buying ice cream. We had a quick chat after you were checking out my ice cream selection. I though you were mega cute and would love to share that ice cream, perhaps after a bike ride ?

PAPA BEAR MISSED CONNECTION WITH PANDA BEAR

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We’re in your neighborhood to make you smile…

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 11, 2018 WHERE: Horseshoe Bay

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JUNE 11, 2018 WHERE: Kyo on Granville I saw you in Kyo on Granville this past Monday evening with your large table of friends (all girls I believe)

Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _

The kicker, for me, was catching up with Philippe Zinck, currently the head guy and winemaker of his family’s organic Domaine Zinck winery in Eguisheim. Although the Zincks have been tending vines in the region for generations, his father started the winery proper only in the mid-1960s. Zinck combines 20 years of winemaking experience (which included a stint at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, Australia) with a passionate mind and good instincts to make incredible wines of place and time. Rather than using scientific readings and instruments in the vineyard to determine ripeness and pinpoint harvest dates, he goes by taste, literally plucking grapes from various sunny and shady parts of his vines, combining their hand-squeezed juices, then tasting the mix. His Portrait Series wines are the most accessibly priced, coming from silty soils and fermented in stainless steel to retain freshness and the lay of the land with ease. Domaine Zinck Riesling 2016 ($23 to $28, Everything Wine and other private liquor stores) brings waves of fresh lime, lemonade, and marmalade notes, while Domaine Zinck Pinot Gris 2016 ($20 to $25, Marquis Wine Cellars and other private liquor stores) serves up pink grapefruit, quince, fresh sage, and a lick of honey. For those looking to step things up, going Grand Cru with him is an absolute treat. Domaine Zinck Riesling Grand Cru Goldert 2015 ($38 to $43, Everything Wine and other private liquor stores) brings hilly marl and limestone soils to your glass, with opulent stone fruit, a dollop of maple syrup, and a rub of lime leaf on the finish. It’s summer in Vancouver. Farmers markets are carrying the bounty of local harvests, and salmon, halibut, and an abundance of fresh seafood are in season; these wines should serve us well. -

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Opening June 28, 2018 museumofvancouver.ca

Exhibition Partners

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Institutional Partners

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ON TIC SA KE LE TS NO W

OVER 30 PERFORMANCES OVER 30 INNOVATIVE CHOREOGRAPHERS 10 DAYS OF DANCE

DANCING ON THE EDGE 30TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE

Alexandra Elliott Dance • Alexandra Elliott All Bodies Dance Project • Carolina Bergonzoni Company 605 • Lisa Gelley/Josh Martin Co.ERASGA • Alvin Erasga Tolentino/Kasandra Lea Company Vice Versa • Valerie Calam Crimson Coast Dance • Holly Bright Dab Dance Project • Hoyeon Kim Fortier Danse-Création • Paul-André Fortier Gail Lotenberg/LINK Dance Foundation • Gail Lotenberg Hannah Henney Hilary Maxwell • Josh Martin Inverso Productions • Lesley Telford Jennifer Aoki Karen Flamenco Kinesis Dance somatheatro • Paras Terezakis Kokoro Dance • Barbara Bourget/Jay Hirabayashi Lara Kramer Danse • Lara Kramer Liz Kinoshita Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien MascallDance • Jennifer Mascall Meredith Kalaman Diamonds in the Rough • Natasha Gorrie O.Dela Arts • Olivia C. Davies Rob Kitsos • Rob Kitsos/Yves Candau/Martin Gotfrit Sarah Formosa Sweett Moves • Ashley Sweett the response. • Amber Funk Barton Vision Impure • Noam Gagnon Wen Wei Dance • Wen Wei Wang

The Body Politick: The Art and Architecture of Bruno Freschi

June 28–August 30, 2018 Opening 7:00PM Thursday, June 28

JULY 5 - 14, 2018

DANCINGONTHEEDGE.ORG

604.689.0926 IF - Inverso Productions Choreographer: Lesley Telford Dancers: Stephanie Cyr, Eden Solomon Photographer: Cara Tench

18 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018

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ARTS

When the Straight reaches Ajlan Gharem BY JANET SM IT H

by videophone, it’s nighttime in the town of Namas, south of Riyadh, right after the Eid ul-Fitr holiday. The young contemporary artist is sitting out in his family’s backyard, the crickets are chirping loudly, and he’s smoking a cigarette; the only light comes from the mercurial glow of the village in the distance. Against the humble setting, this is the face of the new Saudi Arabia—or at least, one of its most exciting faces. And he’s taking that face out of this traditionally closed society and into the world. The next stop for his provocative installation Paradise Has Many Gates is a high-profi le waterfront spot in Vanier Park this week as part of the 2018–20 Vancouver Biennale of public art. He is flying here to witness its building this week and official launch Tuesday (June 26). “What’s happening in Saudi Arabia now—everything has changed in one year,” enthuses the affable artist, who’s a math teacher by day in Riyadh, referring to reforms by young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “In one year, the women are driving, the cinemas are opening again. Now is the time to be brave. It’s the best time for the artists to lead the people, because there are so many things happening, but happening so fast that there is no reaction.” Gharem has indeed been brave, first installing Paradise Has Many Gates in a remote part of the Saudi Arabian desert in 2015—shooting video and photos there and then quickly dismantling it for fear of reprisal. The artwork resembles a mosque made out of chainlink—and its interpretations are varied and profound. He says the first inspiration was time he spent with his family during Ramadan and other occasions in this small town, after coming from the big city of Riyadh. “In Riyadh, you don’t see those big things that keep boundaries to freedom. But in a small village you can see that clearly—the mosque in a small town is different than from the city. So I was seeing these barriers, the visible and

Art opens up new gateways

Above, Saudi Arabia’s Ajlan Gharem stands behind the chain link of his Paradise Has Many Gates, also pictured in his homeland’s desert, below.

But the structure is also light and near transparent because of At the Vancouver Biennale, Saudi artist Ajlan Gharem’s “mosque its screenlike material, made of fences” aims to bring cultures together in Vanier Park glowing against the the invisible.” He wanted to conjure those ideas night sky with its lights; the minaret beckons with with his structure, he adds, pointing out almost illumination in green (the colour of Islam). It is a 70 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population is under welcoming communal space—one Gharem hopes 30 and starting to question the older gen- will bring together cultures and religions while eration’s strictures. As Gharem puts it: working against Islamophobia. During its installa“The older generation has more beliefs tion here, Paradise Has Many Gates will play host to than knowledge, and our generation has an event called Weaving Cultural Identities, a colmore knowledge than beliefs.” laboration between Indigenous weavers and graphic Saudi Arabia is one of the largest social- artists and members of South Asian, Central Asian, media markets in the Middle East, and al- and Middle Eastern Muslim communities. It will most immediately, pictures of Gharem’s also house a free, public Sunset Picnic in the Park installation went viral. Some people, in- on Multicultural Day next Wednesday (June 27) at evitably, saw a mosque made out of a cage 6 p.m.; visitors can bring food, and a blanket, and as an affront to Islam. “But it’s not reli- expect music and dance from a variety of cultures. gious,” Gharem stresses. “It’s about the “When I took the picture of the mosque, I was religiosity, how we are practising it. It’s trying to make it beautiful,” he says, referring to an the ideology. So I came up with this idea ethereal shot of his desert installation against the of the mosque made of fences.” rising sun, men in traditional robes reaching upThose fences also resemble the ward toward the hanging lamps of its central dome. chainlink used around the world He says that kind of pleasing imagery can disarm to keep out or lock up refugees (even children, people and push them beyond a knee-jerk reaction. as we’ve witnessed on the nightly news of late); “Look at the title itself: ‘paradise’ doesn’t have to Gharem also cites the cages of Guantanamo Bay. mean ‘afterlife’, it can mean your current life. There

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are so many gates opening to other people, just being nice to everyone. There’s no difference between me and other cultures. And Vancouver has so many cultures there.” He says that in Houston, where Paradise Has Many Gates showed at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in an exhibit of Saudi work, visitors were even doing yoga in the structure. For their part, Gharem and his brother, artist Abdulnasser Gharem, are working in other ways to galvanize the contemporary-art scene that has, till now, been largely below the radar in Saudi Arabia. Their Gharem Studio in Riyadh serves as a centre where artists can work and learn creative processes. And several of those young talents joined Ajlan when he travelled to London, England, in October 2015, exhibiting alongside his videos and photos of the Paradise Has Many Gates project. “We have more than 20 artists with us now, and it’s like a think tank,” he says. Gharem admits his biggest goal is to return to Saudi Arabia and install Paradise Has Many Gates for a more official showing. The time is not yet, but he hopes that it will come soon. “That’s my main dream—my main purpose.” The Vancouver Biennale presents a Sunset Picnic at Paradise Has Many Gates in Vanier Park next Wednesday (June 27) for Multiculturalism Day.

ARTS High five

Editor’s choice MANE EVENT For 25 years, Chor Leoni has been launching each summer by mixing it up on the Bard on the Beach stage—wildly jumping from Broadway hits to folk songs, funk, and everything in between. But now the all-male choir’s schedule has become so busy that it’s bidding adieu to the warm-weather showstopper—but not before reprising a hit from its first performance on the Bard stage, Miles Ramsay’s merging of Cole Porter’s “So in Love” with Leonard Bernstein’s “Tonight”. That piece will share the farewell program with everything from Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to a Lady Gaga/ Madonna mashup. Yes, the boys are going to go out in style. Chor Leoni presents Mane Event at Bard on the Beach this Monday (June 25) and next (July 2).

Five events you just can’t miss this week

1

ONCE (To July 29 at the Granville Island Stage) A cool, Dublin-set indie spin on the guy-meets-girl musical.

2

TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION (June 23 to January 11, 2019, at Lipont Place art centre in Richmond) Shoes, Champagne, and more brought up from the bottom of the sea.

3

JEREMY DUTCHER (June 27 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre) Opera meets ancient Indigenous song in a unique concert.

4

MACBETH (To September 13 at the Bard on the Beach BMO Mainstage) Strong vision and performances at the bloody Bard season opener.

5

CABIN FEVER (To September 30 at the Vancouver Art Gallery) A fun and artistic celebration of an iconic piece of architecture.

In the news

VINES FEST BLOOMS The multidisciplinary, eco-minded Vines Art Festival has announced details for its event, which opens on August 8 and wraps on August 18 with the main event at Trout Lake Park. Performers on the last day include queer Filipino-Canadian rapper and soul singer Kimmortal; dancer and choreographer Katie Cassady of TWObigsteps Collective and Donald Sales/Project 20; New York–born, Montreal-bred performance poet Rabbit Richards; artist collective Art Is Land Network (AILN); and punk-edged percussion masters Onibana Taiko. Meanwhile, Vines’ Resilient Roots Project is partnering with emerging and midcareer Indigenous “artivists” to create a new work to be performed at Trout Lake on August 17 and 18. Also look for artists eco-activating parks throughout Vancouver in the lead-up to the main event, at Kits Beach, CRAB Park, Granville Island, the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, and Strathcona Park. JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 19


ARTS

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Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts), with Julien Galipeau, Jeff Ho, and Braiden Houle. looks back to tragedy. SD Holman photo.

Paul Wong’s life inspires play > B Y JA NE T S M ITH

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20 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018

t’s hard to believe, given the charismatic provocateur who’s her subject, but Lesley Ewen has been working on getting her play about celebrated Vancouver multimedia artist Paul Wong made for 16 years. She never lost faith as she tried to get a company to pick up her passion project—but now that frank theatre is finally producing Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts), and the Queer Arts Festival is presenting it, she thinks maybe it’s all been for a reason. The script, devoted to a friend and talent who’s fascinated her for decades longer than that, tackles questions of diversity and suicide that have never been more relevant. “Now all of that crazy-making waiting is done,” the well-known local actor, director, producer, writer, and acting teacher adds with a goodnatured laugh over the phone. “Just think: the actors were 11 when I started writing this! “Lots of people were really happy to see this story finally told and glad to see these people honoured.” Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) reimagines the artist during a career retrospective, when he’s haunted by two people who have died in his past: the subject of his celebrated 1977 work Murder Research and the creative partner who helped him make it. The former character is based on Eugene Lloyd Pelly, an Indigenous man who was stabbed and escaped out a window in February 1976; his bloody body lay covered with snow in the street below the Main-area house where Wong was living at the time. Wong took photos of the scene of quiet violence. The latter character is based on Kenneth Fletcher, the close friend who worked with Wong to fully research the death, gaining

access to the coroner’s office and turning all their findings into the multifaceted, photo-heavy Murder Research (which the Vancouver Art Gallery acquired in 2001). The next year, in 1978, Fletcher took his own life at just 23, a loss that hit Wong’s art group the Mainstreeters hard and a trauma that the grieving Wong explored in his photovideo work for years (especially in ten sity and Untitled [Ken Fletcher 1954–1978]). Ewen remembers being at the Venice Biennale in 2003 when Wong famously projected images from those pieces and others onto the curtains of a moving vaporetto (one of the city’s sea taxis), Fletcher’s face appearing fleetingly on the fluttering, translucent “screen”. The installation was called Hungry Ghosts—a reference to the Chinese belief that some of those who have passed away stay connected to the living. Ewen remembers looking at a different shocking photo Wong had exhibited decades earlier, one that showed Fletcher cutting his wrist vertically. “And I stood in front of that and said, ‘What is this relationship that they’re so intimate? This man is so distressed that he doesn’t want to be here anymore, but he lets Paul Wong take these photos.’ There’s this trust, and this desire for witnessing,” says Ewen. “And I stood there for probably half an hour in front of this one photo. I’d been brought up by so many gay men in Vancouver with long-term relationships, and knowing those relationships intimately, I was literally possessed.” Ethical questions about permission and artistic licence connect with those around Murder Research’s subject, Pelly, she says. “This human being never got a choice in being semifamous—that photo was taken at the lowest point

of his life,” Ewen comments. Ewen weaves all these ideas into her three-person play (starring Braiden Houle, Julien Galipeau, and Jeff Ho). In it, Bradley (the stand-in for Wong) confronts his past and the project that helped launch his art career. Fittingly for a production about Paul Wong, Camera Obscura has strong multimedia elements, Sammy Chien’s video components innovatively allowing the main character to speak directly to the figures in his past—his “hungry ghosts”. The dramatic subject matter lends itself easily to theatre, but Ewen also feels deeply connected to Wong’s expressions of identity and race—she began speaking out about the need for diversity in arts long before it became a national talking point. And the topic of suicide, top of mind due to the recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, hits home too: she’s lost two friends to it. “I wanted to show people how sometimes, if somebody doesn’t want to live in the absolute torment, they can hide that—even when you’re living with them,” she says. “And also there’s a lot of gay youth suicide—a lot of young men who don’t have anyone in their immediate community, no support, just condemnation. And it’s hard to know it gets better.” Through it all, she’s found Wong an inspiring source—one she spent long hours talking to in candid interviews. “He’s an amazing human,” she says. “One of the things that is incredible is he is comfortable with discomfort and comfortable with revealing himself.” The Queer Arts Festival presents frank theatre’s Camera Obscura (hungry ghosts) at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre until Saturday (June 23).


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Visual Art Exhibition

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Skin & Metal | June 24 | 7pm

Homoerotic Music Theatre Work by BARRY TRUAX, 30 year retrospective.

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Everything | June 26 | 8:30pm

June 16-27

Dancer LEE SU-FEH negotiates an environment of smoke and numbers, flying objects.

Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

(MALISEET SONGS) | June 27 | 7pm

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Dare to be challenged Risk being changed

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ARTS

Fantastic Macbeth fully expresses the fair and foul TH E AT RE MACBETH By William Shakespeare. Directed by Chris Abraham. A Bard on the Beach production. At the BMO Mainstage on Sunday, June 17. Continues until September 13

It’s bloody good. Bard on the

2 Beach kicks off its season with

a Macbeth that moves. Macbeth is the shortest and one of the most action-packed of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Early in the play, Macbeth encounters three “weird sisters”, or witches, who prophesy that Macbeth will become king and that the children of his fellow soldier Banquo will become kings. Macbeth tells his wife about the prophecy, and when the king, Duncan, comes to their castle as their guest, Lady Macbeth urges her husband to kill him and thereby gain the crown. The murder paves the way for Macbeth’s ascent to the throne, but it unhinges both the new king, whose paranoia compels him to kill his former allies, and his wife. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair,” and the commingling of the earthly and hellish realms is established right at the top of director Chris Abraham’s stylish production, as the entire company stands and faces us, then begins banging on the rough wood-plank floor. Swords are drawn, a battle ensues, and everyone leaves the stage except for one grieving woman, who morphs into a laughing Weird Sister as the smoke of hellfire emerges from a trap door in the stage. With their bent backs, thrusting hips, and wild hair, Emma Slipp, Kate Besworth, and Harveen Sandhu bring a feral energy to all the scenes with the witches, underscored by the thunderous drums of Owen Belton’s sound design. Ben Carlson makes every step on Macbeth’s journey—from reluctant ambition through guilt and torment

Actors Moya O’Connell and Ben Carlson hand in strong performances in a Macbeth that really moves. Tim Matheson photo.

to bitter resignation—convincing, and Moya O’Connell is a steely, determined Lady. Craig Erickson makes the steadfast Banquo a solid foil to Macbeth; his grinning ghost is eerily effective. As Macduff, Andrew Wheeler affectingly conveys a huge range of emotions, from outrage to deep grief. Abraham makes full use of Pam Johnson’s spacious set, a bare, barnlike space of rough wood backed by huge doors and an upper level that serves as a balcony or ramparts. The set allows for the play of natural light, enhanced by Gerald King’s design. King’s expressive lighting is especially striking when Macbeth is having visions: in the banquet scene, for instance, King bathes the feast in warm reds while an icy blue spot follows Banquo’s ghostly apparition. And Christine Reimer’s Elizabethan costumes are exquisite, from the Macbeths’ sumptuous royal robe and gown to the tattered rags

of the witches. The play explores extremes—rags and riches, heaven and hell, darkness and light—and this production gives full expression to both the fair and the foul. All hail Macbeth!

> KATHLEEN OLIVER

SLIME Written by Bryony Lavery. Directed by Kendra Fanconi. Produced by the Only Animal and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. At the Russian Hall on Saturday, June 16. Continues until June 24

Before the world premiere of

2 Bryony Lavery’s new play, Slime,

even begins, the audience knows things are going to get a little weird. The music playing overhead is familiar at first, and then something tilts. Songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High

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Enough” and “Steal My Sunshine” and “My Heart Will Go On” come over the speakers, but animal grunts and sounds have mostly replaced the English lyrics burned into our collective memory through Top 40 ubiquity. A voice welcomes “conference delegates” to the third annual Slime conference, and then suddenly the audience is surrounded. A cacophony of animal vocalizations—birds squawking and singing, sea lions barking, bears growling, and the clipped chatter of dolphins—fills the air, followed by the whoosh of a giant, clear plastic tarp skimming the heads of audience members, like waves crashing in and pulling us under for just a few seconds. This immersive beginning is a fitting entry to the wildly creative play that imagines a not-so-distant future in which interspecies communication is key and conferences

are still considered useful. Humans and animals have joined forces against a common threat: slime is invading the planet, slowly taking over the oceans, and the resulting environmental chaos is speeding up total planetary extinction. Slime’s main characters are college interns/ animal translators, plus a dancer who’s taken a vow of silence to protest human voices prioritizing their own concerns over the animals at the conference. When they discover a secret, elitist plot that goes against everything they’ve been working to accomplish, they realize that some people have no qualms about sacrificing others for their own survival. The play loses momentum when it gets sidetracked by its subplots, particularly those concerning the romantic pairings and desires of its characters. The cast is very good, but the only relationship that works on any level is the beautiful queer love story that emerges between Ola (Lisa Baran) and Barb (Edwardine van Wyk, a real standout), a bird translator and a seal translator, respectively. Slime’s premise is so intriguing, but it almost feels as if Lavery doesn’t quite trust the audience or the material enough, and added a bunch of extra emotional intimacy stuff in order to hook us deeper. Where Slime truly astounds is in Shizuka Kai’s brilliant set, prop, and puppet design. Working very deliberately with the same plastic that is polluting our oceans, Kai fulfills that early promise of weirdness, bringing an entire underwater world to life inside the Russian Hall, as well as multiple animals and sea creatures, and a giant smoking bear. Director Kendra Fanconi’s production is beautifully imaginative, and Slime has so much potential at its foundation, but the story never quite comes together and a jarring revelation in the play’s final moments results in a too-tidy resolution. > ANDREA WARNER


ARTS

Milne retrospective makes for a fine tribute VISUAL AR TS DAVID MILNE: MODERN PAINTING At the Vancouver Art Gallery until September 9

In February of this year, when

2 David Milne: Modern Painting

opened at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, England, it was met with many laudatory reviews in the British press. One critic, however, dismissed Milne’s work as mediocre and repetitive, causing outrage and indignation among Canadian art lovers. How could anyone—anyone—denigrate the work of such a singular and innovative Canadian artist? Unthinkable. Recently landed at the Vancouver Art Gallery, this multi-institutional retrospective was curated by Sarah Milroy, a long-time freelancer recently appointed chief curator of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and Ian A.C. Dejardin, executive director of the McMichael since 2017 and previously director at the Dulwich. The two also worked together on acclaimed exhibitions of Emily Carr and Vanessa Bell. Eclipsed in his time by the Group of Seven, Milne is now recognized as one of our nation’s leading 20th-century painters. Between his birth in Bruce County, Ontario, in 1882 and his death in Bancroft, Ontario, in 1953, he honed an utterly individual approach to both art and life (the latter influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden). Milne led, by choice, a rural, frugal, and often isolated existence. Which is not to say that he distanced himself from the leading edge of modern art. During his learning years in New York City, 1903 to 1913, he was exposed to the avant-garde painting of both Europe and the United States. His 1912-1913 street scenes, such as Fifth Avenue, Easter Sunday, suggest he was looking keenly at Maurice Prendergast while juxtaposing jewellike particles of colour with broad passages of brilliant white. The Pantry, an interior in which figure and ground merge in a flat field of reddish brown, is clearly influenced by Henri Matisse. Milne developed his own distinctive brand of modernism while living in the small Upstate New York community of Boston Corners between 1916 and 1920; his painting further evolved to the tough and startlingly abstract landscapes he produced at Six Mile Lake in northern Ontario in the mid-1930s.

Kerry James Marshall’s works (left) examine the African-American experience from a distance; David Milne’s art suggests a deep love of the act of painting.

(The show ends with these works, although Milne continued to paint, mostly in watercolour, until a year before his death.) The curators also draw our attention to the extraordinary watercolours of abandoned First World War battlefields he produced in 1919, his “shattered” brushstrokes echoing the blasted landscapes around Ypres, Passchendaele, and Vimy Ridge. As many art historians have observed, Milne’s true subject was painting itself, although it seems he still needed a figure, landscape, or still-life arrangement on which to hang his experiments in line, form, colour, and tonality. One of the most distinctive aspects of his painting style, as seen in Gentle Snowfall, is the thin, dry-brush application of his medium, by which he weaves passages of bare canvas into the overall composition. Another distinctive element is his startling use of nonnaturalistic colours, such as the matte black that predominates in both the water and foliage of Reflected Forms. Yet another characteristic of his art is his X-ray–vision depiction of trees, their skeletal trunks and branches brightly articulated within the flattened and generalized body of foliage. Parallel to his innovations in oil, Milne also developed an individualistic approach to watercolour, varying from dry brush to wash, sometimes within the same work, such as Bishop’s Pond in Sunlight. Arriving 33 years after the last major Milne retrospective, this exhibition is a fine tribute to the artist, serving to introduce him to a new generation of Canadian viewers as well as to the wider world. As for any snooty, colonialist naysayers lurking

out there, well, open your eyes and are part of the mob at the crime scene. minds. Brilliance resides here. Not that they exhibit any fear of be> ROBIN LAURENCE ing identified as accessories. The face of each woman, gazing with appalling indifference at the camera, has been KERRY JAMES MARSHALL: isolated and foregrounded within COLLECTED WORKS the framing image of a locket. And At the Rennie Museum until November 3 each locket is attached to a chain that echoes the ropes around the necks of During a recent media tour of the two hanged men. Kerry James Marshall: Collected The dominant metaphor here is Works, the acclaimed American artist that the violent crimes and physical spoke about the idea of “embodiment” traumas committed against Africanand how it is essential to his creative Americans, starting with slavery and process. “If you make a thing,” he still manifest today, are “structursaid, “it looks like what it claims to be ally embedded” in American society. about.” Every aspect of an individual They’re a legacy handed down through work of art, whether formal or materi- generations of American whites, just al, must reiterate or “embody” the idea as family heirlooms might be handed behind it. Marshall paused in front of down. This analogy is made all the his 2002 photo triptych Heirlooms and more unsettling by the suggestion of a Accessories, whose white frames he jewellery box conveyed by the rhinemade himself and inlaid with rhine- stone-inlaid frames. stones. “Even if you don’t know what it Born in Birmingham, Alabama, is,” he said, “encoded in the structure raised in South Central Los Angeles, of the thing are enough elements to and based for many years in Chicago, give you a road map to start to figure Marshall has witnessed more than out what’s going on.” his share of protest, violence, and deOne of an impressive range of struction. He is not interested, howworks on view at the Rennie Museum, ever, in registering his own experiincluding paintings, sculptures, ence of contemporary incidents or drawings, prints, and mixed-media occurrences. “I don’t buy this internal installations, Heirlooms and Acces- drive to make work that comes from sories is both deeply reasoned and a personal place,” he said, “because deeply troubling. It is constructed that kind of work is only relevant to around an infamous and widely cir- the person who makes it.” Instead, culated photograph of the lynching he wants to participate in “the long of two black men in Marion, Indiana, historical conversation”. He does this in 1930. The focus here, however, is by re-examining African-American intentionally shifted away from the stories from a measured distance, brutalized black bodies (the photo re- framing them within deconstructed produced in each panel of the triptych elements of the western art-historhas been “ghosted” so that it serves ical canon and, at the same time, as a faint backdrop) to three white marrying them to aspects of Africanwomen, of different generations, who American visual and literary culture.

His 1986 painting Invisible Man, for instance, poses questions about presence, absence, and the challenges of painting blackness within the context of Ralph Ellison’s eponymous 1952 novel. Untitled (La Venus Negra), a painting with collage elements, employs voodoo veves or symbols while examining ideas of African-American beauty. Marshall’s mixed-media installation Untitled (Black Power Stamps) is from an exhibition he created in the late 1990s, speaking to the culture and politics of the 1960s, particularly the American civil rights and black liberation movements. Five block-printed text works on paper read “Black Is Beautiful”, “Black Power”, “We Shall Overcome”, “By Any Means Necessary”, and “Burn Baby Burn”. Read sequentially, these slogans suggest that, in the arena of racial politics, unrealized aspiration inevitably leads to violent revolution. Complementing the prints are an enormous “ink pad” and five greatly oversized “stamps”, sculptures that bear the same words and attach an oddly bureaucratic element of authority to them. Other works in the exhibition, which spans some three decades of Marshall’s career, address the failure of social housing projects in Los Angeles and Chicago, the commercializing of tragic events in African-American history, the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, Afrofuturism, and the co-opting of African tribal sculpture in the quest for an authentic AfricanAmerican art form. Both individually and collectively, they create an experience for the viewer that is rich, deep, and thought-provoking.

and the power of creation. Jun 20-29, 8-9:30 pm, Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour). Tix $15-$25, info www.reborning.ca/.

MUSIC

GALLERIES

2ONGOING MAMMA MIA! The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a feel-good musical featuring the music of ABBA. To Aug 12, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville). Tix from $29, info www.artsclub. com/shows/2017-2018/mamma-mia/.

ar ts/ timeout THEATRE DANCE MUSIC COMEDY LITERARY EVENTS ET CETERA GALLERIES MUSEUMS

THEATRE

BARD ON THE BEACH Annual Shakespeare theatre festival features repertory performances of As You Like It, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, and Lysistrata, To Sep 22, Bard on the Beach (1000 Chestnut). Tix and info www.bardon thebeach.org/.

< < ONCE The Arts Club Theatre Company < presents Enda Walsh’s musical about a < struggling Dublin street musician who < chances upon a girl who challenges him to go for his dream. To Jul 29, Granville < Island Stage (1585 Johnston). Tix from $29, < info www.artsclub.com/. < 2UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS

2OPENINGS CAMERA OBSCURA (HUNGRY GHOSTS) The Queer Arts Festival presents the world premiere of Lesley Ewen’s new multimedia performance. Jun 20-23, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews). Tix from $15, info www.queerartsfestival.com/. KILL ALL POLITICIANS Vagrant Players Theatre Society presents the Canadian premiere of a one-act comedy about the politics of friendship. Jun 20, 8 pm; Jun 21, 8 pm; Jun 22, 8 pm; Jun 23, 2 pm; Jun 23, 5 pm; Jun 23, 8 pm, Pacific Theatre (1440 W. 12th). Tix $20, info www.vagrantplayers.com/. REBORNING Dark comedy by Zayd Dohrn takes an unsettling look at work, latex, loss,

THEATRE UNDER THE STARS Performances on alternating evenings of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and 42nd Street. Jul 4–Aug 18, 8-10:30 pm, Malkin Bowl (610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park). Tix $50-$70, info www.tuts.ca/.

DANCE 2UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS DANCING ON THE EDGE FESTIVAL Canada’s longest running festival of contemporary dance features over 30 performances, with artists from Canada, Belgium, and South Korea performing in full-length and mixed-bill programs, as well as site-specific works. Jul 5-14, Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova). Free to $28, info www.dancingontheedge.org/.

2

2THIS WEEK

THE COMIC STRIP Comedy show hosted by Kyle Bottom and David Thomas Newham, featuring Simon Kind, Steev Letts, GLOBAL SOUNDSCAPES FESTIVAL and headliner Graham Clark. Jun 23, Seven Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra preTyrants Theatre (1019 Seymour Street). Tix sents a festival of traditional, contemporary, $18, info www.TyrantStudios.com/. and intercultural music from the Middle East and Canada. To Jun 27, Waterfront LITERARY EVENTS Theatre (1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island). Tix $18-$45, info www.vi-co.org/.

2THIS WEEK

YOUNG PEOPLE’S SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 90-member orchestra from the San Francisco Bay Area, led by music director and conductor David Ramadanoff. Jun 22, 7:30-9 pm, Kay Meek Centre (1700 Mathers Ave., West Van); and Jun 23, 7:30-9 pm, Chan Shun Concert Hall (6265 Crescent Rd., Chan Centre at UBC). Tix $15/$10, info www.ypsomusic.org/.

don’t miss out! For up-to-the-minute, searchable Arts Time Out listings, visit

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COMEDY 2ONGOING

2THIS WEEK

105 HIKES BOOK SIGNING Author Stephen Hui signs copies of his new book 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia. Jun 23, 1-3 pm, MEC (212 Brooksbank Ave., North Vancouver). Info www.105hikes.com/2018/06/13/mec-northvancouver-book-signing/.

ET CETERA 2THIS WEEK DOUGLAS COUPLAND’S VORTEX Douglas Coupland’s new radical art installation takes an imaginative journey to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, immersing viewers in the ocean-plastic pollution crisis. To April 30, 2019, Vancouver Aquarium. Info www.vanaqua.org/.

2018 QUEER ARTS FESTIVAL Annual festival—which also commemorates Pride THE COMEDY MIX 1015 Burrard, Century in Art’s 20th year as an artist-led organPlaza Hotel & Spa, 604-684-5050, www. ization—features a boundary-pushing thecomedymix.com/. Comedy club with array of performances that articulate pro-am night Tue at 8:30 pm, showcase the experiences of diverse creators. To Wed at 8:30 pm, and featured headliners Jun 28, Roundhouse Community Arts Thu at 8:30 pm and Fri-Sat at 8 and 10:30 & Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse pm. Cover $8 Tue, $10 Wed, $15 Thu, $18 Fri, Mews). Info www.queerartsfestival.com/. $20 Sat. 2LACHLAN PATTERSON Jun 21-23. THE BLUE CABIN SPEAKER SERIES Artist Jeremy Borsos will give a talk describing YUK YUK’S COMEDY CLUB 2837 Cambie, 604-696-9857, www.yukyuks.com/ the restoration of the small 1920’s building vancouver/. Comedy club with Top Talent known as the Blue Cabin. The talk will focus on possible translations of the cabin’s hisTue at 8 pm, amateur night Wed at 8 pm, tory. Jun 20, 7-10 pm, Grunt Gallery (116–350 and professional headliners Thu-Fri at 8 E. 2nd). Free, info www.grunt.ca/. pm and Sat at 7 and 9:30 pm.

> ROBIN LAURENCE

VANCOUVER ART GALLERY 750 Hornby, 604-662-4719, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/. 2CABIN FEVER (exhibition traces the cabin’s evolution through renderings, artworks and commercial products as well as architectural models, plans, and full-scale installations) to Sep 30 2DAVID MILNE: MODERN PAINTING (first major exhibition of Milne shown in the country in 30 years features close to 90 works in oil and watercolour, never-beforepresented photographs, drawings, and memorabilia) to Sep 9

MUSEUMS MUSEUM OF VANCOUVER 1100 Chestnut Street, 604-736-4431, www. museumofvancouver.ca/. 2HAIDA NOW: A VISUAL FEAST OF INNOVATION AND TRADITION (exhibition guest-curated by Kwiaahwah Jones features more than 450 works by carvers, weavers, photographers, and printmakers, collected as early as the 1890s) to Jun 15 THE MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT UBC 6393 NW Marine Drive, 604-8225087, www.moa.ubc.ca/. 2ARTS OF RESISTANCE: POLITICS AND THE PAST IN LATIN AMERICA  (exhibition illustrates how Latin-American communities use traditional or historic art forms to express contemporary political realities) to Oct 8 2CULTURE AT THE CENTRE (collaboration between six First Nations communities offers insight into the work Indigenous-run cultural centres and museums in B.C. are doing to support their culture) to Oct 8

TIME OUT ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. Submit listings 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.

JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 23


MOVIES

Fred Rogers made nation his neighbourhood RE VIEW S WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? A documentary by Morgan Neville. Rated PG

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is

2 a 90-minute visit to a USA that

might have been. Everything stood for and taught by Fred Rogers, who made his own neighbourhood out of America’s children, is still there, of course, as it is in all other nations. But coming right now, the movie is a profoundly bittersweet experience. Mostly, though, it’s sweet. How could it not be, since it centres so fully on an ordained minister and lifelong Republican who radiated universal love and acceptance to millions of people for five decades? Beautifully assembled by veteran director Morgan Neville, who won an Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom and previously profiled figures as diverse as Keith Richards, Gloria Swanson, and Gore Vidal, the film features copious highlights. And the unlikely star’s family members and former colleagues are onboard to discuss his special bond with wee ones. “Take everything you know about what makes for good television,” one early producer says, “and do the opposite. Now you have Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Indeed, his slow, steady gaze, downmarket props, genteel drawl, and endless supply of soft cardigans and softer songs were anathema in the slam-bang world of postwar entertainment. (He was a masterful but unshowy piano player.) Kids instantly trusted him from the moment the show was launched on Pittsburgh’s WQED exactly 50 years ago, in one of the most polarizing years in human history. The show, which addressed current turmoil in soothing but honest terms, actually predated the launch of PBS by two years. And the movie

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? shows how Fred Rogers (right, with David Newell) created a classic kids’ TV program out of the most unlikely ingredients.

conveys the iron will behind the worn-out sock puppets he used to get his compassionate messages across. We see him unbuttoning a Nixonian senator bent on defunding public TV, and moving Tom Snyder to tears when the snarky late-night interviewer challenged his inherent niceness. Back then, many assumed Rogers was gay, something disputed by lifelong cast member François Clemmons, a black opera singer whose own sexuality was a challenge to his boss until the latter slowly came around to it. Of course, a few things are left out. Before Rogers moved to a Neighborhood with no U in it, he spent three years at CBC in Toronto, shooting Misterogers. In fact, some of his famous set elements were designed there. (When Fred left town, his lieutenant, Ernie Coombs, created Mr. Dressup.) But there’s more than enough to make viewers understand what’s been lost over the years. A sickly child who grew up fat and later became obsessed with

maintaining his weight, Rogers died in 2003, just short of his 75th birthday. His soothing appearances continued until 2001, when he seemed somewhat defeated by the evil outburst of 9/11. If this Jimmy Stewart figure from another age had lived, he would have seen a homeland in which children, instead of being cherished, are ripped from their parents’ arms and sent to, well, the kind of neighbourhoods no one belongs in. Even Mister Rogers’s heart could be broken.

> KEN EISNER

METAMORPHOSIS Featuring Sue Halpern. In English and Spanish, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

The citizens of Easter Island were

2 entirely dependent on trade related to their abundance of sandalwood trees—until there was no abundance. So what did they do? They cut down the last fucking sandalwood trees and

then had to give up the island entirely. Obviously, having a big head doesn’t make you smart. And events of the past two years have proved that the instantaneous spread of information only makes a lot of people even dumber. Pollution, rising seas, and catastrophic weather events are already claiming lives everywhere, but who wants to hear downer talk from a bunch of liberal eggheads who are getting rich from elitist hoaxes anyway? A passionately lyrical new film from B.C. veterans Velcrow Ripper and Nova Ami (who worked together on Occupy Love), Metamorphosis is not aimed at nihilists hoping to get raptured up when the volcano blows. This richly episodic doc, which comes in at just under 90 minutes, is a celebration of what we still have and of people who are fighting to keep it. That fight isn’t always on the legal/ political front, as most of their subjects are using art, science, and plain old hand power to get across messages of both change and conservation. (Remember when “conservative” had that connotation? Yeah, me neither.) The movie’s varied participants face the camera at times but do all their talking off-screen, and are only identified during the end-credit sequence. There’s a kind of through-line established early on, through the writing of Sue Halpern, whose book Four Wings and a Prayer follows the life cycle of monarch butterflies, now under threat because of accelerated seasonal changes. Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor is another standout—literally, as he makes humanoid figures to be placed underwater, where they commingle with fish and other forces of nature. Elsewhere, Garbage Warrior Mike Reynolds builds self-sustaining houses out of common refuse, Mexican poet Homero Aridjis uses beautiful words as weapons, and inner-city residents find new purpose pursuing alternative energy in working-class

neighbourhoods. Spectacular aerial footage alternates with tight closeups for a globetrotting yet intimately panoramic—if sometimes overly hypnotic—view of our lonely island. The filmmakers will be on hand for the doc’s opening night at the Vancity Theatre on Tuesday (June 26).

> KEN EISNER

PAPER YEAR Starring Eve Hewson. Rated 18A

Young people are often at sea

2 in an early marriage, and that

goes double for first-time filmmakers who traffic in autobiography. In both cases, there can be an untested assumption that all your concerns will be shared when, in fact, you’re not even sure what the hell they are yet. Making her directorial debut with Paper Year is Rebecca Addelman, a Canadian best known for scripting The New Girl and generically titled but cleverly written Netflix series Love, which this resembles in several particulars. That Judd Apatow–produced show has ever-shifting locations and topics, plus the resourceful Gillian Jacobs to sell its low-key zingers. Eve Hewson (a.k.a. Bono’s daughter) is no Jacobs, but she displays some comic charm as Franny Winters, a wannabe writer who impulsively marries handsome newbie actor Dan (Vancouver’s talented, multiethnic Avan Jogia), much to the consternation of her skeptical parents (Andie MacDowell and Montrealer Michael Gordin Shore, who only appear at the far ends of the CBC–backed movie). The tale here is mostly concerned with their growing pains and it’s more dark-hued than you’d expect from the rom-com setup. Unfortunately, their problems are numbingly generic, while the couple’s SoCal setting and career aspirations add nothing of special significance to this tale of see next page

Coming Soon!

The Bridge

GEORGE ORR, CANADA, 2018, 52 MIN.

SUN 12:30PM

24 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018


MOVIES

Taiwanese film fest casts light on tradition The program of the 12th annual event finds uplift in tumultuous times with stories about ancient art forms, rural life, and renewed cultures > B Y A DRIA N MACK

T

he Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival returns to the Vancity Theatre on Friday (June 22) for its 12th year. Here are three features we liked a lot.

FATHER What an amazing opener. Octogenarian Chen Hsi-huang is the last master of a traditional form of glove puppetry called budaixi, an art passed down to him by his father. This incredibly rich doc manages to encapsulate the tempestuous political history of the dying art form (performed in the once-outlawed Taiwanese language and frequently seized for propaganda use) while getting inside the story of a son haunted by his father’s cruelty. Chen’s ability to animate his dolls with physicality and emotion is breathtaking, while his serenity and passion for budaixi make him intensely sympathetic.

Paper Year

from previous page

wandering eyes and untested convictions. Little attention is paid to what constitutes Franny’s first real writing job, on a numbskull game show called Goosed!. But that’s where she meets her principal distraction, a head writer named Noah (Fargo’s wire-haired Hamish Linklater). He comes on all standard-issue asshole, but Franny goes out for drinks, dinner, and more with him just days after starting. Her arm-punching girlfriends raise a few concerns about her marriage, but aren’t notably concerned about the risks of dating her brand-new boss. Meanwhile, Dan appears buddyless and we learn nothing about his acting goals. Well, he vaguely knows one pro, a soft-core star (Daniela Barbosa) who hires him to watch her dogs and swanky home while she’s shooting in Europe. This allows Addelman’s camera to roam a larger, tonier space and, perhaps, underline the immaturity of our foreground marrieds. But that’s a lot of empty contrivance if the main point was for Dan to discover the actor’s diary and, dishonourably, to share it with others. Even there, her essence remains carnal, not aspirational, for this alleged thespian. In the end, this Year’s biggest sin isn’t narrative, moral, or architectural, even if the scenes do tend to drag and peter out. The problem, especially for a story by a writer and about one, is that no one has anything remotely interesting to say. It’s believable for tentative young people, even creative types, to go inarticulate when it matters. But there’s no excuse for a filmmaker to be left dumbfounded.

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> KEN EISNER

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picture of the sun setting on old ways. Too if it leaves no cinematic cliché unturned on much to capture in a short review. Just see its way to an improbable, if crowd-pleasing, it. Filmmaker Yang Li-chou will be in atten- finale. June 23 (3:30 p.m.) dance. June 22 (6:30 p.m.) PAKERIRAN Young student Futing returns to TURN AROUND Bathed in pale summer light his coastal hometown from Taipei and is told and conveyed on the gentle rhythms of the by Mom to partake in the village sea festival, rural township life it depicts, Turn Around fo- immersing him in Aboriginal language and cuses on a young teacher, Wang Cheng-Chung customs he has otherwise managed to ignore. (a soulful Jay Shih), reluctantly sent to Nantou A scene in which a bunch of elders mercilessly County, where he wins over an unruly class heckle the hapless lad while he tries to serve of teens and pushes them to excel. If there’s a them wine (there are rules involved here) is hard centre to it, the film is also full of drunk, kinda funny but mostly painful, stinging anybroken fathers and an ambient sense of modest one who might feel divorced from their own dreams dashed. Things to be reckoned with, tradition. (A sliding scale, but that’s pretty for sure, but then the 1999 earthquake hits and much all of us.) An equally at-sea newcomer In Pakeriran, a student rediscovers Aboriginal we’re handed nightmarishly effective scenes of provides Futing with the time-honoured mocustoms when he returns to his coastal home. its aftermath. By the time Wang’s class recon- tivation he needs to hang in there: impressing But there’s so much going on beneath, in venes in a makeshift new school, half the kids a girl. It’s a concession to conventional storyhis struggles with protégés—and, brief ly are missing. Don’t fret; Turn Around wants to telling, but the gentle Pakeriran succeeds in all mentioned, his own son—and in the larger ultimately lift the viewer, which it does, even of its modest intentions. June 24 (7:15 p.m.) -

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Directed by Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper “Poetic, reasoned . . . inspiring.” – The Globe and Mail

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JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 25


MOVIES

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Metamorphosis reveals climate solutions > BY ADRIAN MACK

I

n March 2015, the most powerful cyclone in Vanuatu’s history touched down on the tiny South Pacific island nation, destroying the homes of 70 percent of its population, uprooting ancient banyan trees, and killing at least 15 people. Almost immediately afterward, Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper showed up with their newborn son, Phoenix. He travelled with them for the next year and a half as the filmmakers worked on Metamorphosis, making their way to other parts of the globe stricken by extreme-weather events. “It was an incredible challenge,” Ripper admits, joining Ami in a call to the Georgia Straight from Toronto. “But there were advantages, too. If you’re gonna do an epic feature documentary with a baby, do it early. We didn’t have to miss a moment of him growing up.” The presence of Phoenix behind the scenes of Metamorphosis (opening at the Vancity Theatre on Tuesday [June 26] ) adds a grace note to an intensely poetic film. We’ve seen plenty of movies about climate change; Ripper and Ami have instead crafted a seductive invitation to consider the transformative possibilities—perhaps that should be necessities—offered by the environmental emergency we face. Hair-raising footage of California’s record-breaking 2017 wildfires or the (now actually) sinking city of Venice is thus juxtaposed with the visionary work of artists like “underwater sculptor” Jason deCaires Taylor or the architect Gianandrea Barreca—whose bosco verticale (“vertical forests”) decorate the skyline of Milan with treefestooned, CO2-consuming residential high-rise buildings. Ultimately, it amounts to a catalogue of ingenious and often very simple adaptations to a postcarbon future, from near magically self-sustaining “garden pools” in droughtblighted Arizona to the super-efficient mini ecosystems of New Mexico’s “Earthships”, designed, as Ripper points out, to be “low-tech and made from our own trash”. As the filmmakers note: viewers are “burned out” on the bad news (a condition dubbed “psychic numbing” in the film by venerable psychohistorian Robert Jay Lifton). Metamorphosis wants to inspire, or “move beyond the crisis phase”, as Ami puts it. The arrival of the couple’s first child naturally raised the stakes. “Making the film with our son, it really brought up these questions every day,” says Ami, a B.C. native, like Ripper, who was “changed” by her encounter with the California wildfires and the community resilience she witnessed in the aftermath. “What’s our role in terms of protecting him and preparing him for what’s gonna happen next? How do we do that? What’s our purpose here? How can we teach him?” Asks Ripper: “If that isn’t a moral responsibility, what is?” Echoing the argument made by his friend Daniel Pinchbeck in the fine 2017 book How Soon Is Now—it makes a good companion to Metamorphosis—Ripper adds that there is one almighty salve for the profound and often crippling grief we feel over an ailing biosphere. “I want to say that meaning is an important aspect of our soul’s journey,” he says. “I believe behind every cynic is a broken heart. What helps us to avoid having our hearts broken is finding a way to be part of the solution. Find what you can do and what you can do well. Put that into service and you will find a great sense of meaning in your life.” -


JAZZ FESTIVAL

Shabaka Hutchings and his band Sons of Kemet have made it their mission to infuse improvisational jazz with everything from Jamaican reggae and Brazilian samba to Detroit club music. Pierrick Guido photo.

Breaking down the borders

“Kemet is the name of the landmass that now, in terms of borders, is called Egypt,” Hutchings tells the Straight in a phone conversation from his London home. “It means, literally, ‘the black lands’. And my name, Shabaka, I’m named after the last Nubian ruler of Egypt, in the time when it was For Shabaka Hutchings and the mighty Sons of Kemet, being referred to as Kemet. King Shabaka was the person there are no rules when it comes to American jazz who transcribed a lot of philoIt’s telling, perhaps, that the first time sophical and spiritual teachings at the time; he wrote I heard about Shabaka Hutchings it wasn’t through them onto a massive stone that they call the Shabaka BY ALEX ANDER VAR T Y the jazz underground, but from Hieroglyphic Be- Stone, in hieroglyphics. It’s one of the artifacts that ing. The Chicago house producer—who was in the scholars since then have gone back and studied, that middle of a run of gigs with the English saxophon- formed the basis of what they call Hermeticism.” ist—waxed effusive about his gifts as a musician Knowing that helps make sense of Sons of Kemand, more importantly, as a collaborator. Flash et’s sound. The interracial quartet, which also inforward a few months, and Hutchings was on the cludes drummers Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick cover of cutting-edge music journal Wire, his cloth- and tuba player Theon Cross, is recognizably jazz, capped visage staring confidently out from news- in that it’s harmonically sophisticated and leans tostands the world over. And now he’s bringing his ward extended improvisational forms. Its massive primary band, Sons of Kemet, to the TD Vancouver rhythmic presence, however, can call to mind proInternational Jazz Festival, for a show that many in- cessional music from Nigeria, the languid reggae siders think is going to be a festival highlight. pulse of Jamaica, hot samba music from Brazil, and The cover caption for Hutchings’s Wire story the latest club mix from Detroit. For Hutchings, it read simply “Outward bound”. Music obsessives represents an embracing of the whole of his Afriwill recognize this as an allusion to one of the ca- can heritage—and a conscious move away from an nonical albums of modern jazz, Eric Dolphy’s 1960 American template of what jazz can be. debut as a bandleader, but it’s also an apt metaphor “There was a definite effort on my part at a for Hutchings’s thirst for exploration and growth— certain stage in my musical development where I triggered by his recognition that while he’s British tried to look at the way that America had formed by birth and trained in an American art form, he the basis of my thinking up until that point,” the is above all else a product of the African diaspora. 34-year-old musician explains. “It was about tryThat’s easy to hear in Sons of Kemet’s music, ing to imagine, I guess, the imperfection that hapand we’ll get to that. But first the band’s name pened in the melting pot of New Orleans…and needs explanation. seeing that as a part of the trajectory of African

music from the African continent towards the spaces of the diaspora. If you look at it from that perspective, you get to see how jazz was formed in America, but also how the same aesthetics maybe caused different music to be formed in Brazil that comes from the same roots. It made me look at the music of jazz coming from America in a different light—from a different emphasis, I guess. A different emphasis on what’s important in the music.” For Hutchings, that meant stepping back from the glossy perfection that has come to dominate mainstream forms of jazz, and moving back to its roots in communal celebration. As a younger musician, he says, he strove to “practise as much as [John] Coltrane practised, or be as technically rigorous as, say, Charlie Parker”. Now, he sees himself as an educator as well as a performer—the nine tracks on Sons of Kemet’s fierce and funky Your Queen Is a Reptile are each dedicated to a different black female activist or revolutionary role model, from 19thcentury abolitionist Harriet Tubman to apartheid fighter Albertina Sisulu. Hutchings hopes that his listeners will take the time to research the lives of these alternative queens, but he knows that there are other ways to raise consciousness—including playing music that creates a sense of release. “That’s exactly it,” he explains. “One of the purest ways that music can actually influence society or have a role in society is for it to open up that space.…When you have a concert that’s so engaging that it takes you out of the world and clears your mind—almost, like, blows it apart—it creates the actual mental space to focus on what the future could look like. For me, that’s when music has to be fulfilling a deep role.” Sons of Kemet play the Imperial on Tuesday (June 26), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

JAZZ FEST SERVES SMOR G AS BO RD O F S TU DIE D CO O L >>> Session stories are like fishing

2 stories: sometimes the best tales

are about the ones that got away. Did you know, for instance, that guitarists Kevin Breit and Bill Frisell recorded an entire album of jazz standards with Norah Jones that, so far, has never seen the light of day? When the suits at Blue Note heard it, Breit reports from a Montreal hotel, “They said, ‘Sounds like a barmitzvah band.’ Now, I don’t know how they got that. I can’t imagine that with me and Bill… A bar mitzvah? I could not figure that one out.” He’s laughing, though. And he laughs again when he relates how Mark Knopfler shut him out of a Ruth Moody session, or at least kiboshed an elaborate guitar orchestration the Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist had arranged for the Dire Straits star to solo over. But at least he got something out of that date: a new musical persona, Johnny Goldtooth. Knopfler had already taken one pass at the track, but Moody and producer David Travers-Smith wanted something with more edge, a quality Breit has to spare. “I just wanted to make it the opposite,” Breit says, “so I thought of this guy—this guy wearing a bullfighter outfit, you know.

He’s got the gold tooth, he’s a chain smoker, he pinches women’s asses, married five, six times—a weird, old, tough motherfucker who just plays what he plays. Like Link Wray—that kind of deal.” The production team loved it. Knopfler didn’t. And a few weeks later Breit made a discovery that solidified Goldtooth’s character in his mind. “I’d inherited our photo albums that my father and my mother kept,” he explains. “And I was showing my children my parents—they’d never met my parents; they were long gone before they were born, right? And it had been years since I’d gone through these photo albums, and I see the red one—it’s tattered, the cover’s off it—and there it is. There’s my father, dressed up in a bullfighter outfit, playing a Beltone bass, and he looks beautiful. And he is the character that I had in my head. I couldn’t believe it. I took the photo out, put it up in my music room along with pictures of matadors, and I got really into this character. Who is this guy? And I got so into it I became him when I played.” Breit eventually turned his vision into a hilarious YouTube mockumentary and an album, Johnny

ticularly, the singers that her father had favoured ever since he was a boy, growing up in Singapore. “Exposure to vocal jazz came very early in my life,” Au tells the Straight, > ALEXANDER VARTY in a telephone conversation from her Toronto home. “My dad had a very Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy wide variety of music in his record Casanovas play a free Downtown and CD collection when I was a child, Jazz concert at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday and he just happened to have a lot (June 23), as part of the TD Vancouver more vocal representation in his colInternational Jazz Festival. Kevin Breit lection. So that was what I first heard. will also perform with Shaun Verreault He had some instrumentalists, too, at Prestige Guitars (1332 Main Street, just not as much. I think he really North Vancouver) at 7 p.m. on Thurs- loved Nat King Cole while he was day (June 21), and at the Cottage growing up, and people like Sarah Bistro on Friday (June 22). Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald as well. “I think I was maybe 6 when I first heard Ella Fitzgerald,” she continues. “What drew me to it was just the energy and the rhythmic playfulness.…It was just something that was It’s not difficult, listening to Al- completely captivating. I would listen lison Au’s music, to determine to Ella’s version of ‘Mack the Knife’ on that melody is her main concern. Repeat, ’cause I loved it. She imitates She’s one of those saxophonists who these instruments… I don’t know. It sing through their horn; rather than was just so engaging to me, as a kid. run flashy but emotionally vacant I’m not sure if I’ve deliberately tried arpeggios, she always seems to be de- to emulate it in my own music, but veloping some sort of narrative idea. it’s worked its way in—although of So it’s not entirely surprising to find course in a more modern context.” out that her earliest musical influPlayfulness is evident in Au’s ences were singers—and, more parsee next page

More like his creator, in other words? “Well,” says the guitarist, “sometimes it’s nice to walk into a room and not be yourself.”

Kevin Breit is sometimes known by the name Johnny Goldtooth.

Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas. The latter’s a bold, swaggering effort, and even if it sounds like it could have been made 50 years ago—it’s full of sly references to guitar pioneers Wray, Mickey Baker, and George Barnes—it’s also animated by Breit’s very postmodern sense of genre play. And fun. Lots of fun. “It’s a wagging-tail-on-a-dog record,” says Breit, explaining that as the record evolved, Goldtooth became less of a hard-ass and more of a lovable eccentric.

Au balances the playful with beautifully bittersweet

2

JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 27


Allison Au

from previous page

work, but it’s paired with a certain bittersweet quality, something she ascribes to her mother’s side of the family. On her debut CD, The Sky Was Pale Blue, Then Grey, she dedicates a song to her maternal grandmother, who survived the Holocaust before immigrating to this country after the Second World War. “She used to love to sing when we were little,” Au explains, “so it’s kind of a melancholy bit of nostalgia from my childhood. I have some other music inspired by my grandfather, so there are family-related stories that inspire the music, and they come from somewhat sad places. But I’ve tried to ref lect on my gratitude to them, while also acknowledging what they went through to come to Canada.” Au adds that her music is often inspired by nature, and this listener thought that might have been the case with “They Say We Are Not Here”, the final track on 2016’s Juno Award–winning Forest Grove. The piece sounds like Au is looking at an autumnal scene from behind plate glass, before putting on her boots to go dance in the fallen leaves—an interpretation that pleases the saxophonist, even if she gently says it’s all wrong. Instead, her source material was a New York Times video documentary on the late Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato. “It was a very moving video essay, and at the end they kind of commemorate his life, because he was murdered after it was filmed,” she says. “He was talking about all the political stress that he’d been going through in order to advocate for equal rights in his country, and he said, ‘The government, they say we are not here. They don’t want to acknowledge us.’ That was particularly poignant for me. So, yeah, I draw from many kinds of inspiration. “But that’s what’s wonderful about music and the arts,” she con-

tinues. “Everyone hears something different, regardless of the source.”

the band matures. Weiss’s compositions will remain at the forefront, but all five players are master improvisers, and that’s been written into the plan. “Right now, the blend is probably 50-50,” Weiss says, “but the more we play, the more we get off the page and we improvise.”

> ALEXANDER VARTY

The Allison Au Quartet plays a free Performance Works concert at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday (June 23), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

> ALEXANDER VARTY

Long-gestating Starebaby more than worth the wait

Dan Weiss Starebaby plays the Ironworks on Sunday (June 24), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Dan Weiss’s new band, Stare-

2 baby, isn’t quite as new as it

might seem: the idea has been percolating in the drummer’s mind for “12, 13 years”, he tells the Straight in a telephone call from his New York City home. And he even had fourfifths of the lineup in place from the beginning, starting with himself, keyboardist Craig Taborn, guitarist Ben Monder, and bassist Trevor Dunn. Meeting keyboardist Matt Mitchell in 2009, he adds, cemented the notion of doing “something that drew on the heavier inf luences that we’d all had”. But it wasn’t until late 2016—when he finagled a grant from the Shifting Foundation arts agency—that he had time to sit down and write a body of work for the quintet. It’s been worth the wait. But then, you’d expect nothing less from this combination of musicians. Trained in jazz and South Asian percussion styles, Weiss is an explosive performer. Monder—who played on David Bowie’s final recording, Blackstar—is a fluent and expressive guitarist who’s as much at home with fuzztones and looping pedals as he is with more traditional jazz sonorities. Dunn is one of the most muscular bassists in any form of music, whether he’s playing electric or acoustic. Meanwhile, Taborn and Mitchell have distinct but complementary styles that balance splashy expression with razor-sharp focus; both can play free with abandon, and both can bring a compositional sensibility to bear on structures that reflect the pulse-driven, modular nature of con-

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.

Spectre of the Band looms large in life of Julian Lage At a very young age Allison Au often listened to jazz great Ella Fitzgerald.

temporary electronic music. Starebaby is as close to a supergroup as it is possible to get in a world that largely resists the spotlight, and the band’s self-titled debut is nothing less than a trip—which is mostly due to Weiss’s intricate, demanding charts. The album’s eight tunes, a couple of which break the 10-minute mark, transport the listener into a place that’s fascinatingly vivid, mind-bendingly complex, and often also undeniably scary. Track 4, “Badalamenti”, offers a clue to what Weiss hopes to achieve with his writing. “The vibe of the record was really influenced by a lot of music I’m into,” he says, citing technical metal as a particular inspiration. “But it was especially influenced by Twin Peaks. I was watching Season 3 when I was composing this, so that made its way into a lot of the material—just the vibe of the show. ‘Badalamenti’ is obviously for [David Lynch’s in-house soundtrack composer] Angelo Badalamenti, so his world was really intriguing for me as I was writing. It put me in this kind of zone where there’s a lot of pretty stuff on the outside and then there’s this undercurrent of a lot of dark stuff. That made its way into the music.” What remains to be seen is what else makes its way into the music as

It’s mostly sunny, although without moments of offkilter abstraction, and mostly warm, but there are points on Julian Lage’s new trio record, Modern Lore, where there’s a hint of a ghost in the background—and for me, that ghost is the voice of the Band’s tragic singer, Richard Manuel. Now, this might seem odd. Lage’s music is entirely instrumental, and mostly self-composed, and he’s a West Coast kid whose early education encompassed tabla lessons at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in San Rafael, California, and then a degree in guitar from Berklee College in Boston. You wouldn’t think the well-educated Lage would have much in common with the self-taught Manuel, a freakishly sad and gifted hick from the southern Ontario sticks. But the connection is there, starting with Modern Lore’s jaunty yet ever-so-slightly twisted opening track, “The Ramble”. Which, yes, is named after the legendary barn jams hosted by Manuel’s long-time Band-mate Levon Helm. “‘The Ramble’ is totally for Levon,” says Lage, reached by phone during a break in the action at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, where his trio is playing. “I don’t even know why. But living in New York, it’s not that far from where he would hold those. I didn’t ever go to any of them, nor did

2 not

I know him, but I have the deepest and utmost respect for him and the Band. “In the way that Indian music is kind of inextricable from the development of melodic music—it’s ancient, it’s epic, it’s all those things—so is the Band,” the 30-year-old performer continues. “Not as old, but it’s equally as influential in terms of orchestration, or understanding what you want from a drummer in relation to a guitar player, a bass player, and a singer. Although we don’t have a singer, but that’s kind of the guitar’s role.” Lage’s vocal-inflected approach to melody is another hint that, despite his harmonic sophistication, he’s attracted to players and singers that are storytellers first and theorists second. “I am fascinated by that,” he says. “The players I respond to typically have a version of that going on. It’s more common in the blues guitar tradition than the jazz guitar tradition, as far as just outwardly emoting in this way where you’re like, ‘Someone’s singing me a song, or telling me a story.’ I’ve always loved that quality, and the electric guitar especially lends itself well to that. But my biggest reference point would probably be steel-guitar players. I don’t play any pedal steel, but I’m fascinated by [pedal-steel pioneer] Alvino Rey, and Hawaiian guitar, and even Roy Smeck. They used that vocal quality almost like a vaudevillian bit— making it sound like a voice, or whatever. But I think that’s so cool, and it’s part of the electric guitar’s history.” Add the Band to the limber melodies of Indian music, historical steelguitar sounds, and the evergreen jazz eccentricities of Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, and you’ll have the building blocks of Lage’s style— not that he’s going to take too much credit for their assembly. “I’d like to say it’s super deliberate, and it is, to a certain degree,” he says. “But it’s also kind of all I know.” > ALEXANDER VARTY

The Julian Lage Trio plays Performance Works on Tuesday (June 26), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

Snail Mail on a fast track > B Y M IK E U S ING E R

Scan to confess I hate fake eyelashes (there, I said it) Why do women wear these? You need to glue shit onto your face to feel acceptable? You can’t leave the house without your face wigs?? I look over beside me in the lineup and a woman has these 1” long falsies. It looks phony, it’s beyond obvious and it’s some adherence (pun intended) to a look that I just don’t get. Seriously, go natural and lose the glue. You will look so much better, and will be free of this artificial garbage.

TransLink Distance pricing is punishment for those that can’t afford to live in Vancouver but still work there. Thanks .

Not a hot hiker How do all these girls on instagram manage to take selfies of themselves mid-hike where they look flawless and modellike? I always feel and look so disgusting during a hike that the last thing I want is for my photo to be taken...plus I’d rather focus on the scenery, not myself.

Try to be a good person It’s easy being an asshole. It takes some effort being a decent and caring person

Celebrate bravery It is right to celebrate the bravery of soldiers who fought in battles especially in the World Wars. We should also celebrate the bravery of ordinary civilians who lived through these wars and survived, especially in occupied countries.

Visit

to post a Confession

28 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 – 28 / 2018

S

ometimes life catches you by surprise, as was the case for Lindsey Jordan when she was a Baltimore high-school student with only a vague idea what her future might hold. “I had a college picked out that I really wanted to go to—I wanted to study English and literature,” the 19-year-old singer-songwriter says, on her cell from a Pittsburgh-bound tour van. “I didn’t really have a career path—I wanted to take English with some sort of minor in music. I wanted to be a writer. And it’s cool now because that’s what I am now—a writer.” Cool is indeed a good word for where Jordan finds herself today, as she tours for her just-released debut album, Lush. Having studied music right from childhood—including years of jazz guitar—she began writing songs on her own in her early teens. It didn’t take Jordan long to strike serious gold under the name Snail Mail. The beautifully slackeresque “Thinning” lit up the blogosphere big-time in late 2016, winning the singer equal amounts of praise for her dream-hazed guitar work and vocals that were an improbable mix of bored-by-everything and thrilled-to-be-alive. The resulting spotlight led to a flurry of label attention, the singer eventually signing with Matador, the long-running indie heavyweight that has helped bring the world everyone from Cat Power to Pavement. Before Jordan knew it, she found herself having to rethink what she’d be doing postgraduation. “It was right when I was about to commit to college that I had to make a decision, because things were starting to get insane,” she says. “That was right around the end of senior year. But still, I didn’t really anticipate going from a buzz band with one good song to this becoming my day job

Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan thought she’d become a writer but instead blossomed into a much-buzzed-about indie-rock sensation. Michael Lavine photo.

and it becoming my whole life.” So, while most of her classmates were thinking about college, Jordan went all-in on a life in rock ’n’ roll. Having the world wait for a follow-up to “Thinning” would eventually end up being megastressful. Jordan wrote that song—and the subsequent EP, Habit, it appeared on—as a teenager in her bedroom, not thinking anyone other than her friends would hear it. She went into the writing and recording of Lush knowing plenty of folks were paying attention, which led to pressure that at times became overwhelming. “Obviously, the attention sort of seeped into everything, but my biggest concern was just making a record that mattered to me,” she says. “It took me a lot of time to figure out what that meant. I really had to separate myself from the industry businesspeople— that’s not who I wanted to please.” What Jordan—who’s been vocal about her love of guitar-hero acts like Alvvays, Kurt Vile, and Mary Timony—eventually locked on to was a sound that mixes synapse-frying distortion (“Heat Wave”) with a serious

determination to push indie rock in new directions. (Swoon to the morphined horns in “Deep Sea” and the soft-focus strings in “Pristine”.) On the storytelling side of things, there’s plenty to suggest that, even as she was becoming an indie-nation It Girl, the singer was navigating some turbulent emotional waters. Her great skill is that lyrics like “In the end you could waste your whole life anyways/ And I want better for you,” from “Anytime”, are sharp enough to resonate with anyone who’s ever sat in tears wondering what happened with a relationship, yet vague enough to leave things open to interpretation. “I wanted the songs to be contextualized in any way that the listener wants,” Jordan says. “I find the songwriting process to be really personal, and all these songs are really personal, so, to be honest, I didn’t picture people assigning the songs so many different meanings. The songs are, in many ways, about what you want them to be about.” Snail Mail plays the Biltmore Cabaret on Sunday (June 24).


6 pm, show 7 pm, Pacific Coliseum (Hastings Park, 100 N. Renfrew). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $59.50/49.50/39.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

ICEAGE AND BLACK LIPS Indie-punk bands play a coheadlining show, with guests Surfbort. Nov 5, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. Tix on sale Jun 22, $30 (plus service charge) at www.ticketweb.ca/.

music/ timeout

REUBEN AND THE DARK Indie-folk band from Calgary. Nov 8, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $15 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

2JUST ANNOUNCED

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS British new-wave/power-pop legend leads his current band. Dec 4, 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, from $48.50 to $128.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

THE SHEEPDOGS Guitar-rock band from Saskatoon, with guest Terra Lightfoot. Sep 1, 7:30 pm, Malkin Bowl (Stanley Park). Tix on sale Jun 22, $42 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

JMSN R&B/soul singer-songwriter and record producer from Detroit. Dec 4, 9 pm, Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $20 (plus service charge) at www.ticketweb.ca/.

PHOENIX Indie-pop band from Versailles, France. Sep 3, 7:30 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre (650 Hamilton). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $55.49.50/39.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS Indierockers from Philadelphia, with guest Jessica Pratt. Dec 16, 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $36 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketmaster.ca/.

CONCERTS

THE GROWLERS Rock band from California perform on their Beach Goth Tour 2018. Sep 9, 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Jun 22, $35 (plus service charge) at www.ticketmaster.ca/.

2THIS WEEK

TD VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Coastal Jazz presents its annual musical celebration in Vancouver, BLITZEN TRAPPER Alt-country band featuring performances by Robert Plant from Portland, Oregon. Sep 15, 7:45 pm, & the Sensational Shape Shifters, Macy Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Jun 22, Gray, Kamasi Washington, Dirty Projectors, 10 am, $25 (plus service charges and fees) Spanish Harlem Orchestra, St. Paul and at www.livenation.com/. the Broken Bones, the Jerry Douglas Band, Cherry Glazerr, Deerhoof, Sons of Kemet, MIGUEL American R&B singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer, with guest dvsn. Knower, Gogo Penguin, Morgan James, Jerry Granelli, Mary Margaret O’Hara & Sep 27, 8 pm, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Peggy Lee, and Pugs & Crows. Jun 22–July Sports Centre (UBC). Tix on sale Jun 22, 10 1, various Vancouver venues. Tix and info am, $95/69.50/59.50/45 (plus service charwww.coastaljazz.ca/. ges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. NORTH SHORE JAZZ SERIES Featuring CLUTCH Hard-rock band from Frederick, legendary guitar duo David Hidalgo & Maryland, with guests Sevendust and Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown. Oct 8, 8 pm, Marc Ribot, Grammy-nominated vocalist Jamison Ross, and roots/blues sensaCommodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix tion Eilen Jewell. In partnership with the on sale Jun 22, 10 am, $46.25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Jun 22 to Jul 1, 8 pm, BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts (2055 Purcell MONSTER MAGNET Hard-rock band Way). Tix at www.capilanou.ca/centre/. from Red Bank, New Jersey, with guests Electric Citizen and Dark Sky Choir. Oct 9, doors 8 pm, show 9:30 pm, Commodore TIME OUT MUSIC LISTINGS Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Jun are a public service provided free of charge, based 22, 10 am, $32.50 (plus service charges on available space and editorial discretion. Submit and fees) at www.livenation.com/. listings online using the event-submission form at 88RISING Performances by Rich Brian, Joji, straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear Keith Ape, Higher Brothers, KOHN, NIKI, on the website. AUGUST 08, and Don Krez. Oct 26, doors

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savage love I am a 24-year-old straight guy

who recently broke up with my girlfriend of more than four years. One of the reasons we broke up was a general lack of sexual compatibility. She had a particular aversion to oral sex— both giving and receiving. I didn’t get a blowjob the whole time we were together. Which brings me to why I am writing: one of my closest friends, “Sam”, is a gay guy. Shortly after breaking up with my girlfriend, I was discussing my lack of oral sex with Sam and he said he’d be willing to “help me out”. I agreed, and Sam gave me an earth-shattering blowjob. I was glad to get some and had no hang-ups about a guy sucking me. Since then, Sam has blown me three more times. My problem is I am starting to feel guilty and worry I am using Sam. He’s a very good buddy, and I’m concerned this lopsided sexual arrangement might be bad for our friendship. Sam knows I am not into guys and I’m never going to reciprocate, and I feel like this is probably not really fair to him. But these are literally the only blowjobs I’ve received since I was a teenager. What should I do? > TOTALLY HAVE RESERVATIONS OVER ADVANTAGE TAKING

Only one person knows how Sam feels about this “lopsided sexual arrangement”, THROAT, and it isn’t me—it’s Sam. Zooming out for a second: people constantly ask me how the person they’re fucking or fisting or flogging feels about all the fucking or fisting or flogging they’re doing. Guys ask me why a woman ghosted them, and

women ask me if their boyfriend is secretly gay. And while I’m perfectly happy to speculate, I’m not a mind reader. Which means I have no way of knowing for sure why that woman ghosted you or if your boyfriend is gay—or in your case, THROAT, how Sam feels about the four no-recip blowjobs he’s given you. Only Sam knows. And that’s why I wrote you back, THROAT, and asked you for Sam’s contact information. Since you were clearly too afraid to ask Sam yourself (most likely for fear the blowjobs would stop), I offered to ask Sam on your behalf. I wasn’t serious—it was my way of saying, “You should really ask Sam.” But you sent me Sam’s contact info, and a few minutes later I was chatting with Sam. “Yes, I have been sucking my straight friend’s cock,” Sam said to me. “And I am flattered he told you I was good at it. That’s an ego booster!” Sam, like THROAT, is 24 years old. He grew up on the East Coast and met THROAT early in his first year at college. Sam came out at the end of his freshman year, to THROAT and his other friends, and he now lives in a big city where he works in marketing when he isn’t sucking off THROAT. My first question for Sam: is he one of those gay guys who get off on “servicing” straight guys? “I’ve never done anything with a straight guy before this,” said Sam. “So, no, I’m not someone who is ‘into servicing straight guys’. I have only ever dated and hooked up with gay guys before!”

> BY DAN SAVAGE So why offer to blow THROAT? “I didn’t know until after he broke up with his girlfriend that he hadn’t gotten a blowjob the whole time they were together—four years!” Sam said. “When I told him I’d be happy to help him out, I was joking. I swear I wasn’t making a pass at my straight friend! But there was this long pause, and then he got serious and said he’d be into it. I wondered for a minute if it would be weird for me to blow my friend, and there was definitely a bit of convincing each other that we were serious. When he started taking his clothes off, I thought, ‘So this is going to happen.’ It was not awkward after. We even started joking about it right away. I have sucked him off four more times since then.” For those of you keeping score at home: either THROAT lost count of the number of times Sam has blown him—THROAT said Sam has blown him three more times after that first blowjob—or THROAT got a fifth blowjob in the short amount of time that elapsed between sending me his letter and putting me in touch with Sam. So does this lopsided sexual arrangement—blowing a straight boy who’s never going to blow him— bother Sam? “I suppose it is a ‘lopsided sexual arrangement’,” said Sam. “But I don’t mind. I really like sucking dick and I’m really enjoying sucking his dick. He has a really nice dick! And from my perspective, we’re both having fun. And, yes, I’ve jacked off thinking about it after each time I sucked him. I know—now—that he thinks it

is a bit unfair to me. But I don’t feel that way at all.” So there is something in it for Sam. You get the blowjobs, THROAT, and Sam gets the spank-bankable memories. And Sam assumes that at some point, memories are all he’ll have. “He will eventually get into a relationship with a woman again, and our arrangement will end,” said Sam. “I only hope nothing is weird between us in the future because of what has happened in the past few weeks.” I had one last question: Sam is really good at sucking cock—he gives “earth-shattering” blowjobs— but is THROAT any good at getting his cock sucked? As all experienced cocksuckers know, a person can suck at getting their cock sucked: they can just lay/stand/sit there, giving you no feedback, or be too pushy or not pushy enough, et cetera. “That’s a really good question,” Sam said. “I have to say, he is very good at it. He really gets into it, he moans, he talks about how good it feels, and he lasts a long time. That’s part of what makes sucking his cock so much fun.”

I’m a straight guy in an LTR with

a bi woman. We recently had a threesome with a bi male acquaintance. We made it clear that I’m not into guys and that she was going to be the centre of attention. He said he was fine with this. A little bit into us hooking up, he said he wanted to suck my dick. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but my girlfriend encouraged it because she thought it was hot. I ended up saying yes, but I stated that I didn’t want to reciprocate.

A bit later, while my girlfriend was sucking his dick, he said he wanted me to join her. I said no, he kept badgering me to do it, I kept saying no, and then he physically tried to shove my head down toward his crotch. My girlfriend and I both got pissed and said he had to leave. Now he’s bitching to our mutual friends about how I had an insecure straight-boy freak-out; he didn’t get to come after we both got ours; we’re shitty, selfish fetishists; and so on. I’m concerned about what our friends think of me, but even more so, I’m concerned that I did a shitty thing. I get that maybe he was hoping I’d change my mind, especially after I changed my mind about him sucking my dick. But I don’t think it’s fair for him to be angry that I didn’t. Is oral reciprocation so necessary that it doesn’t matter that we agreed in advance that I would not be blowing him? > NOT ONE TO BE INCONSIDERATE

You did nothing wrong. And if after hearing your side of the story, NOTBI, your mutual friends side with a person who pressured you to do something you were clear about not wanting to do and then, after you restated your opposition to performing said act, pressured you to perform the act—by physically forcing your head down to his cock—you can solve the “mutual friends” problem by cutting these so-called friends out of your life. On the Lovecast, what makes a kinkster a kinkster?: savagelovecast.com. Email: mail@savagelove.net. Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage . ITMFA.org.

............................................................................................................................................................... CLASSIFIEDS

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32 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT JUNE 21 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 28 / 2018

The Georgia Straight - Jazz Festival - June 21, 2018  

Issue #2632

The Georgia Straight - Jazz Festival - June 21, 2018  

Issue #2632