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FREE | JULY 22 – 29 / 2021 Volume 55 | Number 2788

VANISHING SELLERS Housing market’s new trend

BUTOH ON THE BEACH Kokoro Dance strips down

INDIGIQUEER PRIDE Two-spirit Squamish Nation councillor Orene Askew, a.k.a. DJ O Show, is one of many LGBT+ Indigenous people reshaping attitudes across Metro Vancouver

QUEER FILMS • LGBT+ BOOKS • LESBIAN DIPLOMAT • JIM CUDDY


NEWS

CONTENTS

Lawyer accuses Canada of “legislated apartheid”

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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

COVER

Some self-identify as Indigiqueer, others (like Orene Askew) prefer two-spirit, but regardless, LGBT+ Indigenous people are transforming attitudes about identity.

by Charlie Smith

Métis lawyer seeking a federal NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre says that Canada’s Constitution is profoundly racist against Indigenous people. In an interview with the Georgia Straight, Breen Ouellette described Section 91(24) of the British North America Act as “legislated apartheid”. Section 91(24) granted the federal government authority over “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians”. “There are multiple remedies, and I am currently investigating them,” Ouellette said. The British North America Act took effect on July 1, 1867, uniting Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with Quebec and Ontario in a new Dominion called Canada. The Constitution Act, 1982, granted Canada the right to amend the Constitution, added a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and recognized and affirmed existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. The consolidation of these two acts, described as the Constitution Acts 1867 to 1982, comprise Canada’s Constitution. According to Ouellette, who lost to Liberal MP Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre in 2019, Section 91(24) of the British North America Act is “the basis for every act of genocide that Canada has committed or continues to commit against Indigenous people”. “And it’s the basis of authority for every crime against humanity that Canada has committed or continues to commit against Indigenous peoples,” Ouellette added. Section 91 defines Parliament’s powers, whereas Section 92 defines various powers of the provincial legislatures. “If you review the list of powers, they deal with classes of property or property relationships—except for subsection 24 of Section 91,” Ouellette noted. “Subsection 24 lists Indians and lands reserved for the Indians as a class of property under the control of the federal government. “It’s a racial distinction in the highest law of Canada and it meets the definition of apartheid, which is one of the crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” Ouellette said it’s a “very disgusting idea” that Indigenous people would be treated in the country’s foundational document as “property to be controlled”. Yet he claimed that this is the only way that Section 91(24) can be interpreted, based on the classes of subjects listed in sections 91 and 92. “It’s currency, it’s the post office, it’s patents, it’s copyright,” Ouellette explained. “These are items of property, or in the case of marriage, that’s a property relationship.” Similarly, he argued that the reason naturalization and aliens were listed in Sec-

July 22-29 / 2021

By Charlie Smith Cover photo by Belle Ancell

20 ARTS

It’s that time of the year when butoh lovers get naked on Wreck Beach, scheduling their performance to match the tides. By Martin Dunphy

24 MOVIES

Out on Screen artistic director Anoushka Ratnarajah takes inclusion seriously, which is reflected in the Vancovuer Queer Film Festival lineup. By Charlie Smith

Former NDP candidate Breen Ouellette hopes to run for his party again in Vancouver Centre.

And it’s the basis…for every crime against humanity that Canada has committed… – Vancouver lawyer Breen Ouellette

tion 91 was because Canada “wants to control the property relationship of foreigners within its borders”. Fifteen Canadian lawyers recently signed a letter to the International Criminal Court in The Hague asking it to open a preliminary examination into Canada’s Indian residential-school system. Ouellette, however, pointed out that the International Criminal Court only prosecutes individuals, not states or departments or organizations or corporations. Therefore, the International Criminal Court cannot address the fundamental problem of Section 91(24), Ouellette said. “To change things systematically, you need something like the International Court of Justice to come in because they deal with states,” he said. The International Court of Justice was established by the United Nations charter in 1945 and is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. “Potentially, they could order Canada to repeal Section 91(24), to repeal the Indian Act, to repeal the Doctrine of Discovery [justifying the seizure of land not inhabited by Christians] and terra nullius [a Latin expression meaning the land belonged to nobody], to repeal the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and…to overrule all Supreme Court decisions that treat Indigenous peoples as a class—a racial class—subject to different rules and laws than other Canadians,” Ouellette said. g

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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EDITOR Charlie Smith GENERAL MANAGER (ACTING) Sandra Oswald SECTION EDITORS Mike Usinger (ESports/Liquor/Music) Steve Newton SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy STAFF WRITERS Carlito Pablo (Real Estate) Craig Takeuchi SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT Jeff Li ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER Janet McDonald

Here’s what people are reading this week on Straight.com.

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Surrey RCMP releases image of suspect after another church burns down. Most new COVID-19 cases are in Fraser and Interior health authorities. Inkaneep Creek wildfire fills skies with smoke over Osoyoos Indian Band land. Hashtag shows support for BCCLA executive director who recently resigned. Richmond condo owner wins $2,000 award after filing noise complaint. @GeorgiaStraight

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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

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HOUSING

Vancouver home sellers suddenly in short supply

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by Carlito Pablo

ome sellers appear to have fled the market as if by collective instinct. This comes in the face of less intense demand and fewer buyers willing to get into bidding wars and make offers over asking prices. Sellers are stepping back to await more auspicious times to list their properties. “Where have all the sellers gone?” Dexter Realty asks. The Vancouver realty company used this question to headline its mid-month report, which it released on July 16. “With this trend likely to continue, we could see total active listings drop below 10,000 to start September for only the

second time in the last 25 years,” states the report prepared by Kevin Skipworth, a partner, managing broker, and chief economist with Dexter Realty. The report noted that from July 1 to July 15, realtors with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) sold 1,692 properties. Meanwhile, only 2,491 new listings came on the market during the same period. “That number of new listings is a stark contrast from where we were at the midpoint of June,” Skipworth wrote. The realty executive noted that as of June 15, there were 2,028 properties sold and 3,405 new listings.

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With fewer buyers interested in getting into bidding wars or making inflated offers, Vancouver realtors have seen the region’s active listings drop to their lowest numbers in a quarter century.

“So, while sales are only down 17% compared to the mid-point of last month, new listings are down 27%, leading to a decrease in the number of active listings in the market,” Skipworth noted. Also, in the mid-point of May 2021, 2,183 properties were sold and 3,758 new listings came on the market. Total active listings as of July 15 are at 10,958, compared to 12,458 on July 15, 2020. Also, the report noted that there were 11,659 total active listings at mid-month in June 2021. Real-estate associations have also flagged the drop in home listings. In a July 12, 2021, report, the B.C. Real Estate Association stated that total active residential listings were down 23.4 percent year over year in June. The BCREA report, by chief economist Brendon Ogmundson, also noted that listings have “continued to fall on a monthly seasonally adjusted basis”. Meanwhile, the REBGV reported on July 5 that there were 5,849 detached, attached, and apartment properties newly listed for sale in June 2021. The board said the number of new listings represents a 17.9 percent decrease compared to May 2021, when 7,125 homes were listed. Also, the total number of homes listed for sale was 10,839, a 5.1 percent decrease compared to June 2020 (11,424) and a 1.2 percent decrease compared to May 2021 (10,970). Also on July 5, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) reported that it received 3,108 new listings in the month of June. Those new listings represent a

This is depleting an already low active listing count. – Kevin Skipworth

10 percent decline compared to last year and a decrease of 21 percent compared to May 2021. The FVREB noted that June 2021 ended with total active inventory of 5,474, a seven percent decrease compared to May and 22.5 percent less than June 2020. Going to the Dexter Realty report, Skipworth wrote that although sales have declined again in July, the “bigger decline is in the number of new listings coming on the market”. “This is depleting an already low active listing count in Metro Vancouver and keeping competition amongst buyers going,” the report noted. Moreover, there are “still buyers looking to take advantage of continued low interest rates”. “All things considered, there is still strong activity in the real estate market but that could be hampered by the lack of listings as we move through the next month and a half,” the report stated. g


REAL ESTATE

Diverse West End remains a pocket of affordability

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by Carlito Pablo

ike everywhere else in Vancouver, housing prices have increased in the West End. But while homes now cost a lot more, realtor Adam Major notes that properties in the neighbourhood are still relatively cheaper than in surrounding areas. “It’s hard to imagine anything affordable in Vancouver, but it is a pocket of affordability compared to everything else around it,” Major, managing broker of Holywell Properties, told the Straight in a phone interview. As he noted, the West End is its “own unique little area right in downtown Vancouver”. As a neighbourhood, the West End prides itself on its diversity. It is the home of the largest LGBT community in Western Canada. People of all ages, ethnicities, and incomes live in this charming locality. The area features a range of housing types, from rentals to co-ops to privately owned homes of different forms, like condos, townhouses, and detached homes. The West End hosts about a third of Vancouver’s purpose-built rental housing units. As for ownership homes, Major cited figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) to demonstrate how housing has become more expensive over the years. In 2005, the median price in the West End was below $300,000. In 2021, the median price has increased to $689,000. Major said that’s 130 percent more than it was 16 years ago. However, this rate of increase is lower compared to all of the markets covered by the REBGV, which does not include Surrey and North Delta.

When compared to neighbourhoods like Yaletown, Downtown, and Coal Harbour, Vancouver’s West End remains a unique area with attractive bargains. Photo by Maxvis/Getty Images.

Across the region, the median price of homes increased 173 percent from 2005 to 2021. Roughly, it was from $320,000 to $870,000. For its reporting purposes, the REBGV divides the downtown Vancouver peninsula into four areas. These are the West End, Downtown, Coal Harbour, and Yaletown. The three other downtown neighbourhoods beat the West End (which covers the area west of Burrard Street) in terms of rate of increases in median prices. Major said that the median price in Coal Harbour went up 190 percent from 2005 to 2021; Downtown saw a 198 percent increase; and Yaletown rose 208 percent. Based on 2020 median prices, the West End is the cheapest per square foot.

Major noted that the median price per square foot in the West End last year was $959. Compare this to Downtown at $1,040, $1,145 for Yaletown, and Coal Harbour at $1,238. He also wondered why neighbourhoods right next to each other have such disparity in prices. “I think it has to do with the nature of the buildings in each neighbourhood,” he said in response to his own question. “Yaletown and Coal Harbour were developed more recently, so they have newer buildings and they were marketed to be high-end,” he said. As for the West End, many of the district’s residential buildings were developed much earlier, decades ago. In addition, a number of these homes are leasehold prop-

erties, which generally do not command as much price as freehold properties. One example is unit 1906 at the Surfcrest condo high-rise at 1251 Cardero Street. The one-bedroom, 443-square-foot unit recently sold for $299,900. It’s a leasehold property, and the lease has been prepaid until December 31, 2073. This sale is likely one of the cheapest across Vancouver, and it was tracked by Zealty.ca, a real-estate information site operated by Holywell Properties. Major serves as CEO of Zealty.ca. Another thing that Major noted about the West End is that although it has older homes, they are typically bigger compared to “shoebox apartments” in Downtown. Based on the REBGV’s delineation, Downtown is the area east of Burrard, extending to Main Street. “Back in the 1970s, developers weren’t looking to cram as many units per floor into a building as they do now,” Major said about the West End. The executive noted that the neighbourhood has an average of 600 annual residential sales over the last 16 years. In 2020, Major said, the West End saw 567 homes sold. Although the neighbourhood has maintained a level of affordability, it is also home to some of the most expensive properties in Vancouver. One example is unit 3101 at the Emerald West condo tower at 717 Jervis Street. It was listed on May 19 this year, advertised as the biggest penthouse downtown. The twostorey penthouse measures 9,100 square feet and features five bedrooms and nine baths. The asking price is a cool $14 million. “The West End has something for everybody,” Major said. g

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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

5


PRIDE

Indigiqueer creators put their imprint on Vancouver Some LGBT+ Indigenous people, like Squamish Nation councillor Orene Askew, prefer the term “two-spirit’

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hen Georgia Straight staff writer Craig Takeuchi suggested that we focus our Pride issue on Indigiqueer and twospirit people, it immediately felt right. Indigenous communities are reeling this year from the horror of more than 1,000 unmarked graves being located near former Indian residential schools. It’s been profoundly depressing and shameful to know that Indigenous elders have been sharing stories for generations about children not returning from these church-run schools created as a result of federal government policy, yet the vast majority in the mainstream did not actively listen to these truths. Nor did people respond with the seriousness that these crimes warranted. Mainstream society has also not paid sufficient attention to one of the positive stories in Indigenous communities: the enormous cultural contributions of twospirit or Indigiqueer artists. There’s a long tradition in First Nations communities of two-spirit people performing specific functions. “The term ‘two-spirit’ originated in Winnipeg, Canada in 1990 during the third annual intertribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference,” states the Rainbow Resource Centre. “It comes from the Ojibwa words niizh manitoag (two-spirits).” Plains Cree filmmaker and artist Thirza Cuthand has been credited with coining the term Indigiqueer. This year, it has been made much more famous with Joshua Whitehead’s novel, Jonny Appleseed, winning the Canada Reads competition. Whitehead is a two-spirit Oji-nêhiyaw member of the Peguis First Nation. Metro Vancouver has many Indigiqueer or two-spirit success stories, including Squamish Nation councillor Khelsilem, UBC creative writing prof and author Billy-Ray Belcourt, comedian and artist Raven John, Métis fashion designer Evan Ducharme, Ducharme’s filmmaking brother Justin, and trans writer Arielle Twist, to name a few. In this week’s Georgia Straight, we’re celebrating five artistically inspired souls who define themselves as either Indigiqueer or two-spirit in the hope that this may inspire more young Indigenous LGBT+ people to express themselves through art in the future. ORENE ASKEW (A.K.A. DJ O SHOW)

Squamish Nation councillor Even though the term two-spirit originated with Indigenous people on the Prairies, it had immediate appeal to Orene Askew, a member of the Squamish Nation council. Askew’s mother is Indigenous and her 6

THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

Orene Askew is a Squamish Nation councillor by day, but during Pride season, she gets plenty of gigs as DJ O Show in Vancouver’s LGBT+ community.

I’m a part of the first generation that didn’t go to residential school. – Orene Askew

father is African American, hailing from Gary, Indiana, where his parents lived down the street from the famous Jackson family. “When people ask me about two-spirited, my definition of it makes sense to me,” Askew told the Straight by phone. “I have a masculine and a feminine spirit inside of me.” Askew, also known as DJ O Show, is a pillar of Vancouver’s LGBT+ community, serving on the boards of the Queer Arts Festival, Out on Screen, and Vancouver Pride Society. A passionate motivational speaker and lively DJ, she has won a B.C. Indigenous Business Award, a Stand Out Award from the Vancouver Pride Society, and a 2021 Alumni of Excellence award from Capilano University. But what really energizes her is helping young people. “I’m a part of the first generation that didn’t go to residential school,” Askew said. “I can see the difference in the way the youth of today think.” According to her, they’re not as jaded by trauma as their Indigenous elders, who

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

were forced to attend the church-run residential schools. “They’re so optimistic and they’re incredible,” she continued. “And I want to try to be a good leader for them because I want them to take over and I want them to take care of me when I’m an elder.” More recently, Askew has been learning about the term Indigiqueer from young people in her community, particularly during the Kindred Spirits digital artist residency in May and June. Askew was one of the faculty members offering weekly presentations to two-spirit and Indigiqueer artists, who could sign up for free. An online exhibition at the Queer Arts Festival is described as the “digital culmination” of Kindred Spirits, focusing on how identities and futures can be described through self-portraiture that extends beyond colonial framing. In one Zoom presentation to the young people, Askew played her 30-minute audio documentary, Our Dark Secret, which is about residential-school survivors in her community. She did this just after the leadership of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc revealed that unmarked and undocumented graves of 215 children had been located on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. “I felt it was like the perfect timing to play it for the youth and the other mentors,” Askew recalled. “And people talked about their feelings. It was really healing that day.”

Askew’s mother was a huge fan of Motown songs, which influences the music she makes today. Recently, Askew recorded her first hip-hop track with Vancouver producer Jane Aurora. “I think it’s really good and I can’t wait to release it,” she said. “We’ve applied for a grant to film a music video, so we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if we’ve got it.” As an elected councillor with her First Nation, Askew was on a committee that entered the first float by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh in the Vancouver Pride Parade. She described it as “awesome” to see two-spirited Indigenous people dancing so freely on the float. In addition, the Squamish Nation has created a rainbow sidewalk at the foot of Capilano Road, not far from the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, which is a major community gathering spot. Things are going so well for Askew that she’s been featured in a documentary by Human Biography, which has featured celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon in the past. According to Askew, the film about her will drop next month. But it wasn’t always such a joyous existence. She was raised in a B.C. housing project as a child before she and her mother moved to Ustlawn (a.k.a. the Mission reserve), west of Lonsdale Quay. On occasion, she said, she would be called the n-word, which was very see page 8


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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

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from page 6

confusing. She would think: “Why are they calling me that? That’s my family.” As she grew older, she realized that people who insulted her were probably taught that word. And she tried not to take it so personally. In fact, Askew admitted that on some days, she actually forgets that she’s Black because she’s been so immersed in Indigenous culture for her entire life. “I say it all the time,” she said with a laugh. “I feel like a stork kind of just dropped me off: ‘Here you go; kind of deal with it.’ “That’s the thing: if you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn’t think I was First Nations at all.”

Growing up, I got so lost because I had no idea who I was… – Ilona Verley

by Charlie Smith

ILONA VERLEY

Performer Being on the inaugural season of Canada’s Drag Race went far beyond just working the runways and striking the fiercest poses for one contestant: it meant giving others what this particular individual never had growing up. That person—performer Ilona Verley, who hails from the Nlaka’pamux Nation— spoke by phone with the Georgia Straight from Dallas, Texas, while on a U.S. tour. Verley identifies as a nonbinary trans person who is also two-spirit, uses they/their and she/her pronouns, and was born in Nanaimo but grew up on the Skuppah reserve near Lytton, as well as in Vancouver.

Ilona Verley is trying to make change. Photo by Fernando Cysneiros/@thedragseries on Instagram.

When Lytton was razed by a wildfire on June 30, Verley said, they felt helpless being in the U.S. but assisted with fundraising efforts. Although Skuppah was

spared, Verley is troubled by government responses to the crisis. “It’s really, really disturbing seeing an entire community get wiped out and just kind of the lack of care that officials have given to the communities there,” Verley said. Addressing ongoing inequities that Indigenous people constantly experience is something Verley is intent upon tackling and changing and has already done so, and though their appearance on TV may have been steeped in style, glamour, and entertainment, the roots of their motivation run much deeper. Verley said they feel very “lucky” that they have an accepting family and community, but they also have friends “who have pushed away their Indigeneity because they aren’t accepted in their queerness by their community”, which Verley called “heartbreaking”. (Echoing what many historians have pointed out, Verley notes how European colonialism introduced homophobia and rigid gender roles that didn’t previously exist in many Indigenous societies.)

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THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

Yet despite having a supportive circle, Verley went through struggles in their developing years: they felt alone, without anyone else similar in the entire world. In addition, Verley felt “ashamed” of their Indigenous heritage and thought they had to be “white-passing” to be successful. “Growing up, I got so lost because I had no idea who I was and I knew something was missing,” they explain. It was in Vancouver’s nightlife scene that Verley met Indigenous drag performer Jaylene Tyme, “a beacon of light” who taught Verley about what it means to be two-spirit. “Instantly, that was something I connected with,” Verley said, explaining that this was the “missing thing” that they didn’t know how to identify. In high school, Verley had been into ’90s animé and cosplay, but rather than escaping into a character (including the one named Sailor Moon), Verley began wanting to express their inner self on the outside. “Through my years of doing drag, I learned to come to terms with being someone on the trans spectrum and understanding that wasn’t a character I was creating—it was just myself growing into myself and understanding myself as a person,” Verley explained. “If I was able to turn on the TV and see someone who was proud of their queerness and their Indigeneity, that would’ve helped me find myself so much sooner and saved me from a lot of darkness.” see page 10


JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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from page 8

All of this informs what being chosen for Canada’s Drag Race meant for Verley. “That was a big part of why getting on Drag Race was so important and meaningful, that I was then going to be able to go on TV and be super open about being queer and being Indigenous, to hopefully help out people who had been in a position similar to me where they’re trying to find themselves and don’t know where to look.” Viewers also told Verley they were inspired to research and learn more about Indigenous people after hearing what they had to say on the show. Post–Drag Race, Verley said that being chosen to be featured in Vogue in August 2020 was “such an incredible experience” that it served as an antidote for her selfdoubts and impostor syndrome. “For me, that was really validating. That, like, ‘Okay, yeah, I am using my voice. I am doing that important thing I wanted to do,’ ” she said. “All I’ve ever really wanted to do was make a difference in the world.” Verley said the wave of Indigenous queer people rising to visibility and success across Canada is what they wished they had while growing up. “Seeing all these proud Indigenous queer people in media showing kids that you can be successful and be yourself— however that looks—is just so powerful,” they said. “I thought I had to be a certain way to fit in society when the best way to make it is to just be yourself and to be

loudly and passionately yourself.” And that Verley undoubtedly is.

by Craig Takeuchi

DAYNA DANGER

Visual artist Growing up in Winnipeg, Dayna Danger experienced conflicting identities. With Tio’tia:ke, Métis, and Saulteaux/Anishinaabe heritage, the 34-year-old Montrealbased artist described feeling “really ostracized” by being brought up in an area so heavily influenced by Polish Roman Catholic traditions. Danger, who prefers the pronouns they and them, is also proudly Indigiqueer. And as a photographer, Danger strives to create a world in which people can exist freely without having to conform to gender and sexual norms. “I’m really interested in BDSM culture—and that plays a lot into my work as well,” Danger told the Straight by phone. That’s on display in the beading of leather fetish masks featured in some of Danger’s photographs, as well as in the creation of other tools commonly found in dungeons. Danger’s art blends sexuality and Indigeneity in ways that startle and challenge viewers. One example on her website shows a naked Indigenous woman holding giant moose antlers over her genitals. There are other images of women with what appear to be long horse tails protruding from between their legs or their butts. Danger noted that their art has been

In this self-portrait, artist Dayna Danger dabbles in BDSM culture. Photo by Dayna Danger.

inf luenced by how pornography manipulates bodies through the lens for pleasure. In addition, Danger is drawn to “performance photography”, in this regard having been inspired by Winnipeg artist Lori Blondeau. “I say that she did the fur bikini before Kim Kardashian did,” Danger quipped, referring to Blondeau’s Lonely Surfer Squaw. “And she’s Métis too.”

Danger enjoys building items for many of their photographs so as to “have sovereignty over the narrative of being an Indigenous person”. Sometimes, Danger’s photographs incorporate the type of bold and surprising imagery one might expect in Vancouver Indigenous artist Dana Claxton’s juxtaposition of the modern with the traditional. Danger augments this with high-fashion, over-the-top sexuality that might remind some of the work of the Felliniesque U.S. photographer David LaChapelle. Then there are elaborate symbols and cues placed in many photographs, along with different shades of lighting, to create a narrative. One photo on Danger’s website shows a woman on the edge of a bed, dressed in sexually provocative lingerie but with a fake beard on her face. Her disinterested male partner is far off to the side, ignoring her, sending a message that he’s likely far less heterosexual than people might initially think. This year’s Vancouver Queer Arts Festival will feature Danger in its online Kindred Spirits community art showcase from this Saturday (July 24) to August 13. Danger was one of the faculty members for the Kindred Spirits digital artist residency in May and June, which offered online mentorship to young, Indigiqueer artists. According to Danger, Kindred Spirits reflected the huge need to mentor two-spirit and Indigiqueer young people who want to

Love is Love.

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HAPPY PRIDE!

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JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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express themselves through their art. “It became this really great support where we were able to talk about the different topics that come up and are concerning in our communities.” At the interview’s close, when asked if there were any final points they would like to mention, Danger responded by emphasizing the importance of making space for Indigiqueer and two-spirit people to make art together to benefit the rest of the community. “I feel it can become an inclusive thing where it’s not just about us having our own space but making space for all of us to exist together in safety,” Danger stated. “I would really love to see more support, especially from Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, to advocate for that to happen.” by Charlie Smith

JAYE SIMPSON

Writer and poet On the Nightwood Editions website, nonbinary writer jaye simpson is described as “a Two-Spirit Oji-Cree person of the Buffalo Clan with roots in Sapotaweyak and Skownan Cree Nation”. But simpson, who prefers using the pronouns they and them, also loves the term Indigiqueer. “Indigiqueer allows folks to be Indigenous and queer without this expectation that there has to be some sort of ceremonial mysticism to it,” simpson told the Straight by phone. It’s been a remarkable year for the 26-year-old Vancouver author of the poetry

Writer jaye simpson has become a role model for Indigiqueer kids in government care after overcoming a difficult upbringing to become an award-winning poet. Photo by Divya Nanray.

collection it was never going to be okay, which was a 2021 finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers. Jury members Daniel Allen Cox, Eva Crocker, and Danny Ramadan described simpson’s poetry as “masterful, unpredictable, and artistically undeniable”. “You witness plenty of rage, yet bask in their care and celebrate their joy,” the jurors declared. “The love simpson’s poetry offers to their trans Indigenous kin is definite. They are a vital part of Canada’s literary future: when simpson speaks, you listen.” In addition, simpson won the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for published

poetry in English and was shortlisted for a 2021 ReLit Award. These are impressive achievements, given that simpson grew up in foster care, living in five different homes in B.C., mostly in the Lower Mainland, and attending four high schools. As a child, simpson loved to read and write, telling people on several occasions that they wanted to become an author. In those days, simpson came to believe that bad things happen for a reason—and this meant that they were destined for greatness. “But then I quickly realized that, no, it doesn’t just get handed to you. It doesn’t fall

onto you like some karmic, cosmic energy,” simpson said. “So I decided I wanted to take it and I wanted it to be mine.” Success has come through hard work, forging ahead even while couch-surfing and, at times in the past, surviving financially by working in the sex trade. And simpson’s writing often illuminates what it was like being Indigenous and queer in the child-welfare system. According to simpson, it wasn’t easy, because officials deemed their queerness to be a “liability”, according to their case file. “They had consulted with some lawyers about it when I was a young child,” simpson revealed. “I had a very restricted childhood when it came to seeing other people. I couldn’t go to sleepovers. I was kept from a lot of spaces for fear of my queerness.” In addition, simpson couldn’t engage in cultural activities. Plus, they had to sort through trauma from two earlier homes while living in a final foster home. “There was a lot of space given, and it was just something we didn’t talk about,” simpson said. “But we have a really good relationship now. We’ve had really beautiful conversations about that. It wasn’t particularly easy, and I am always wanting more space for queer Indigenous youth in care, because there are quite a few.” For a while, simpson stopped making journal entries after foster parents in one home read them without consent. In university, simpson’s interest in writing was see next page

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rekindled when a friend encouraged them to take a poetry class. “There was a spoken-word unit,” simpson recalled. “I found it really powerful. So I explored it and I actually came across a video of Jillian Christmas, who won the Dayne Ogilvie [award] this year.” Since then, simpson’s work has been performed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. In addition, simpson was named the Vancouver champion for the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Indigiqueer and two-spirit local writers like Billy-Ray Belcourt, Emily Riddle, Brandi Bird, and Arielle Twist inspire simpson, who sees writing as a way of “breaking the silence” and telling their side of the story. “I am working…on a second collection of poetry,” simpson said. “I’m working on a memoir. I’m working on a children’s book. And I just want to…create more literature so other folks can come across it and realize that they too can create.” Besides, simpson added, there aren’t many Indigiqueer or two-spirit children’s books in circulation to inspire the next generation. by Charlie Smith

MARY GALLOWAY

Writer, director, actor Screen talent Mary Galloway is helping to fill a void, one that made her feel invisible growing up.

“I had absolutely nothing to turn to and watch and see myself represented,” the writer-director-actor told the Georgia Straight by phone. “Not seeing positive role models in the media of Indigenous queer women, or Indigenous women in general, I think made me feel like I was being erased and that side of me didn’t matter and was shameful a bit.” Galloway, who identifies as a cisgender Indigiqueer woman of mixed Cowichan and settler heritage, was born on Vancouver Island and now lives on Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba. In overcoming internalized homophobia and racism that she had absorbed over the years, she said it took a lot of “self-work and intentional connection to my community to embrace that side of me”. What was fortunate was that her family was supportive, embracing, and loving after she came out a few years ago. Furthermore, within the film industry she found Indigenous female role models such as actor and producer Jennifer Podemski (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and screenwriter and producer Marilyn Thomas (“Shi-shi-etko”), as well as Indigiqueer mentors like filmmaker Adam Garnet Jones. She credits Jones’s queer male love story in Fire Song, in which she acted, with being a “life changing” experience for her. Now Galloway is bringing images and stories to screens that are making a difference in the lives of viewers. She’s currently in Toronto filming her latest project, a short coming-of-age

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With the Indigiqueer romance web series Querencia, writer-director-actor Mary Galloway is bringing a story to screens that she wished she could have seen when she was growing up.

romance-dramedy called “Better at Texting”, about a rebellious, feminist Indigenous girl and a Black Mormon queer girl who are paired up on a school assignment and have to figure out how to work together—as they fall for one another. What’s more, her web series Querencia, consisting of eight 10-minute episodes, launched on APTN lumi on June 1. In this Vancouver-filmed show, Galloway stars as Abe, an urban young woman who remains disconnected from her Indigenous heritage and very guarded after being burned by former flames too many times. Kaitlyn Yott (Charmed), portrays her polar opposite: the open-hearted and culturally connected Daka, who has moved to Vancouver to become a professional dancer. When the closeted and inexperienced Daka is matched up with the out and self-assured Abe, they find themselves drawn to one another despite (or perhaps because of) their contrasting yet complementary differences. Galloway explained that she wrote the story during a tough period in her life when she was heartbroken, had lost her job, and felt alone. When a friend convinced her to focus on something she felt passionate about, she decided to create what she wished she could have seen when she was younger. Interestingly, both Abe and Daka are based upon Galloway’s own experiences: she said she drew upon what she underwent moving from a small town to Vancouver and being “shell-shocked by the big-city life” (until she moved to L.A. and realized what a true big city is like). Galloway has great praise and appreciation for Yott, with whom she felt “an

automatic kinship”, and she said that Yott’s generous presence and collaborative approach enabled her to easily transition from director to actor and “just be in the scene with her”. She said that although they are in talks for Season 2, to make Querencia “bigger and better”, she also has lots of ideas she still wants to explore, so she thinks it will last for a few more seasons. Although she has seen some homophobic comments about the show on social media, she says “it’s all a part of the game” and that she believes the show is helping to “open up their minds”. When it comes to mainstream Indigenous representation, she said she believes that we’re only at the “tip of the iceberg” and that there’s still a lot of “growing pains” to undergo. “The world and country is waking up to the really sad and brutal, harsh truth of the treatment of Indigenous people in this country,” she said. “The Indigenous community is still in a lot of pain and is still going through a lot of trauma and simultaneously having to mourn and grieve, especially with all of our children that were taken away from us…and having to simultaneously…also teach and explain to people what it is that we’re going through and try to educate and bring people in as allies.” Although she said she thinks that there’s lots of work and learning still to do, she noted that “it is happening” and she does see light ahead: “I can see it slowly morphing into a world where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can coexist in harmony.” by Craig Takeuchi


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JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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PRIDE

A rainbow of food and drinks for Vancouver Pride

P

by Craig Takeuchi

ride comes in various forms, and that’s particularly true this year. Whether partying at home or in public, there’s a prismatic array of food and drinks to enjoy in Vancouver.

that contains food items with a total value exceeding $75, with all proceeds going to Vancouver’s Dr. Peter Centre Among the products are items from Chobani, Righteous Gelato, Green Beaver, Wholly Veggie, Mate Libre, Aisle, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Hornby Organic, and more. These bags can be ordered online (www.eventbrite.ca/e/ pride-bag-sales-at-whole-foods-marketmetro-vancouver-tickets-161666357427/ ) and picked up at select Whole Foods locations on August 1 and 2.

COOL COLOURS Need to beat the heat? Notch8 Restaurant at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 West Georgia Street) is serving a shortbread-cookie ice cream sandwich ($7), with $2 of each sale going to the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS). This colourful frozen dessert is made with housemade shortbread cookies and ice cream. TROPICAL TREATS Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts baking and pastry chef and instructor Julien Salomoni has created a rainbow-topped coconut dacquoise sponge cake ($7), with pineapple confit, pineapple marinated in vanilla and honey, and a white-chocolate mousse infused with Malibu coconut rum. It’s available from Thursday (July 22) until August 1 at Blue Hat Bakery-Café (101–1505 West 2nd Avenue). SPILL THE HIGH TEA Working the (airport) runways, a special afternoon tea service at Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s Globe@

During Pride, this coconut dacquoise sponge cake is available at the Blue Hat Bakery-Café.

YVR (3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond) lands from July 30 to August 1. At $69 per person ($35 for children) with an assortment of tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets. While tea is being spilled, the other type of tea can be sipped—guests can choose from Lot 35 loose leaf teas and tea cocktails, such as the Hibiscus Mule ($14, with $1 from each sale going to the VPS). A SPECTRUM OF GROCERIES Whole Foods Market is offering a Pride bag for $15

LIBATION LIBERATION The new pop-up patio at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place), called Oakridge at Pac Rim Patio, is serving the Pride-themed Strawberry Youth ($20), a gin-based strawberry-rhubarb–infused cocktail incorporating chamomile, citrus, and Champagne. Plus, there are also Pride-themed beers from Strathcona Beer Company ($11 each) such as Beautiful Mosaic Pale Ale, Big Sexy Funk Hazy IPA, and Love Buzz Strawberry Guava Sour. PRIDE PICNIC PICKS This year’s parade may be virtual, but Pride supporters can converge in person at several official Vancouver Pride picnics, all held at Jonathan

Rogers Park (110 West 7th Avenue) in Mount Pleasant. The Beyond the Binary Picnic—for anyone who is trans, genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, or nonbinary, as well as allies and friends—will run from noon to 2 p.m. on July 30. Attendees can bring their own food while enjoying entertainment. The following day (July 31), from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., is the Teddy Bears Family Picnic for families and children, with entertainment by improv troupe QueerProv and drag performer Karmella Barr. Then on Pride Day (August 1), the Pride Picnic will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Attendees can bring their own food or purchase items from food trucks amid live entertainment. Registration for all of these limited-capacity events is free at the VPS website (vancouverpride.ca/ ). BRUNCH BOUNCEBACK After Pride is over, partygoers can rebound (or ricochet, as the case may be) with the Pride Recovery Brunch ($59 per person, with $5 from each sale going to Vancouver Pride) on August 2 at ARC Restaurant (900 Canada Place). Drag queen extraordinaire Kendall Gender will preside over the bottomless brunch, along with drag performers Carlotta Gurl and Jaylene Tyme keeping up with Kendall. g

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PRIDE

Vodka has a long history as Pride’s go-to spirit

I

by Mike Usinger

t’s one thing to proclaim you’ve got no shortage of Pride and quite another to step up and proudly fly the rainbow flag. When it comes to liquor nerdom, one spirit trumps all others on social accountability. You know that spirit as the essential ingredient in the favourite drinks of LGBTQ+ giants ranging from legendary author Truman Capote to Canuck comedy breakout king Dan Levy to Orange Is the New Black trailblazer Laverne Cox. Stumped? Let’s make things simple: the answer is vodka. Beating whisky, tequila, gin, rum, and brandy to the party, vodka has entrenched itself over the last decade as the go-to spirit for Pride. Sweden’s famously forward-thinking Absolut was one of the first brands to show unconditional love and support for the international LGBTQ+ community, including launching a Pride-themed bottle back in 2008. That year saw the iconic rainbow flag turn 30 years old, and to celebrate Absolut did a collaboration with its creator—artist, activist, and Harvey Milk bestie Gilbert Baker. A decade later, 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of the rainbow flag. Looking to pay tribute to Baker, who died in 2017, and to leave zero doubts about its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, Absolut made its rainbow bottle a permanent member of the brand’s family. That was only fitting given the company’s long history of being socially and politically progressive. Absolut was a ground-floor sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards and RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has donated over US$40 million to initiatives like the film-focused OUTFEST and the meal-progam God’s Love We Deliver. The brand has also gone to admirable lengths to raise awareness and address the importance of tolerance at the time when the world has never seemed more intolerant. In 2019 Absolut released a limited-edition vodka titled Drop, where labels were

Absolut Vodka has a rich history supporting the LGBTQ+ community, with initiatives ranging from rainbow bottles paying tribute to Gilbert Baker to sponsoring the GLAAD Media Awards.

created by incorporating ink samples collected from hate signs and placards around the world. The company’s official message, besides turning disgustingly negative messages into a positive one, was the importance of “spreading love through action”. Absolut isn’t the only vodka company that’s embraced members of LGBTQ+ nation. In 2018, Stolichnaya came out with a limited-edition Harvey Milk bottle adorned with the face of one of America’s first openly gay politicians. That same year on his birthday, Stoli also unveiled a commissioned mural of Milk in the Castro neighbourhood where he lived. That was preceded by a decade of Stolichnaya initiatives that included

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product support and donations to groups and events across the States, including the high-profile LGBTQ+ bartending competition Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic. To get a handle on the importance of such contributions from the Russia-spawned company, Google “LGBT rights in Russia”. And then remember that change only takes place when people commit to making the world a better place—backlash be damned. Russia-rooted Smirnoff stepped up in 2017 with a campaign known as Love Wins featuring LGBTQ+ bottle packaging. No two rainbow-adorned labels were identical, and each featured images of real love and real people. Smirnoff donated a buck from each of the 260,000 bottles sold to the Human Rights Campaign, the U.S. organization working to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality. America’s Skyy vodka made history in 2001 with an ad known as “The Proposal”. Turning a spotlight on lesbian marriage long before it was on the radar of many North Americans, the campaign had one woman proposing to another, with a giant diamond engagement as the prize at the bottom of a SKYY bottle. Later ads have included two men in a hurry to push the “Stop” button in an elevator, the message being that, universally, sometimes it’s exciting to get things started in a place where there’s a delicious danger of being caught.

In 2018—a time when the MAGA hordes were steering America into the dark—SKYY looked into the light with a Home of the Brave campaign focused on diversity. RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Trixie Mattel and Dusty Ray Bottoms were joined by the likes of out-Olympian freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, the message being that America is at its best when everyone is invited to the party. And the funny thing about liquor’s major spirits is that everyone doesn’t seem to be welcome at the table. Google “LGBTQ+ and tequila”, and the only brand that seems determined to make a commitment to the cause is Identity. And even there, there’s something about that commitment that smells like a marketing ploy—hop on the website of the self-described millennial brand, and you’ll find this: “Identity was created to celebrate not only the LGBT community but to all who enjoy the fine craft of Tequila.” But whatever—at least its makers are trying. The main hit of “LGBTQ+ and bourbon”, meanwhile, is a story where Hollis Bulleit, the lesbian daughter of Bulleit Bourbon founder Tom Bulleit, alleges she was jettisoned from the company for being attracted to other women. Gin fairs a little better, but results nonetheless suggest that vodka is—not surprisingly, tops on the list when it comes to having a long relationship with the LGBTQ+ community. No surprise there considering that the love not only seems to go both ways, but also appears to be genuine. Why vodka? A major reason might be this: of all the main spirits, it’s the one that’s the most welcoming—playing well with almost everything: cranberry, orange, and pineapple juices, sodas of all flavours, coconut cream, on the rocks, or buried in a milky Paralyzer. It’s so adaptable that liquor.com posted 11 different recipes a few weeks back about how you can use vodka as the base for drinks from a vast rainbow of colours: Black Manhattan, Blue Hawaiian, Green Mojito, and Orange Aperol Spritz to name a few. Let’s not forget the Cosmopolitan— the pink-hued favourite of Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, and Orange Is the New Black’s Cox. Here’s the original recipe, dating back to the mid-’70s. COSMOPOLITAN

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JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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PRIDE

From puppies to poetry, readers can celebrate

I

by Nicole Magas

t’s time to break out your rainbows and celebrate—Pride is here again! Whether you’re out and proud, cheering from the sidelines as an ally, or living anywhere in between, Pride is the time to reaffirm the value and wonderful diversity of the LGBTQ2+ community. As part of our celebration, we’ve compiled a list of LGBTQ2+friendly books from B.C. publishers and authors, curated for all ages and interests, so that our readers can celebrate Pride along with us.

FOR THE KIDS

Explore themes of inclusion and diversity with these nuanced, kidfriendly books that introduce children to the celebration of Pride, gender diversity, and more. Ages 3-5: Pride Puppy! by Robin Stevenson (Orca Book Publishers) Ages 6–8: Riley Can’t Stop Crying by Stéphanie Boulay (Orca Book Publishers) Age 10: Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words edited by Dr. Lindsay Herriot, Kate

Fry (Orca Book Publishers) Ages 9–12: Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle by Robin Stevenson (Orca Book Publishers) FOR THE YOUNG ADULTS

Diving into stories of struggle, acceptance and resistance, these young-adult titles address some of the biggest issues facing LGBTQ2+ youth today and provide an often much-needed reassurance that they are not alone. Green Glass Ghosts by Rae Spoon (Arsenal Pulp Press) Am I Safe Here?: LGBTQ Teens and Bullying in Schools By Donn Short (UBC Press) Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose (Arsenal Pulp Press) FOR THE ESSAYISTS

Sometimes what is needed is a deep dive into a short essay. Pulling from a range of topics and diverse voices, these essays

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explore intersecting LGBTQ2+ experiences and provide pivotal dissections and critiques of mainstream culture. Radiant Voices: 21 Feminist Essays for Rising Up Inspired by EMMA Talks compiled by Carla Bergman (TouchWood Editions) Breaking Boundaries: LGBTQ2 Writers On Coming Out and Into Canada edited by Lori Shywdky (Rebel Mountain Press) A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships edited by Bruce Gillespie (TouchWood Editions) FOR LOVERS OF MEMOIR

Nothing beats a good life story to understand the nuances of different lived experiences. These memoirs unpack the sometimes difficult, sometimes triumphant journey of self-discovery within queer and trans identities. Out of the Woods: Nature,

Sexuality, and Faith in the Forest by Luke Turner (Greystone Books) This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life As a Man by Lorimer Shenher (Greystone Books) Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family by Jane Byers (Caitlin Press & Dagger Editions) FOR THE ARTS CROWD

From theatre to poetry to lovely prose fiction, LGBTQ2+ stories abound in the arts. Why not try one of these reads this month and dip into the beauty, the glamour, and the pathos of LGBTQ2+ arts? How to Fail As a Popstar by Vivek Shraya (Arsenal Pulp Press) it was never going to be okay by jaye simpson (Nightwood Editions) The Fifth: A Love(s) Story by MP Boisvert (Caitlin Press & Dagger Editions) g This article originally appeared on ReadLocalBC.ca, which was launched in 2015 by the Association of Book Publishers of B.C.

Canada is a world leader in accepting sexual diversity

C

by Carlito Pablo

anada prides itself as the most LGBT-friendly country in the world. A statistical portrait provides a look into the country’s sexually and gender-diverse communities. Most notable is that the LGBT population is about one million strong. A recent report by Statistics Canada states that this community accounts for four percent of the total population aged 15 and older in 2018. The federal agency used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2015 and 2018 to draw a portrait. Bisexual women number the most, with 332,000. Gay men follow, with 255,100. Bisexual men come next, with 161,200. (This means that bisexual women outnumber bisexual men two to one.) Women who are “gay or lesbian” number 150,600. Citing the 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, Statistics Canada reported that there are approximately 75,000 Canadians who are transgender or nonbinary. Moreover, transgender or nonbinary persons represent 0.24 percent of the Canadian population aged 15 and

older. Furthermore, youth aged 15 to 24 comprised about a third (30 percent) of the LGBT population in 2018, compared with 14 percent of the non-LGBT population. At the other end of the population spectrum, seven percent of LGBT Canadians were aged 65 or older, compared with 21 percent of non-LGBT Canadians. Statistics Canada also reported that the number of same-sex couples in Canada has grown considerably since 2001. The agency noted that this category increased by 60.7 percent during the decade from 2006 to 2016. It stated that, by comparison, the number of opposite-sex couples increased by 9.6 percent during the same time period. “This increase may be reflective, at least in part, of growing awareness and acceptance of sexual diversity in Canada,” Statistics Canada reported. Overall, the agency reported, there were 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada in 2016. Statistics Canada also noted that about one in eight same-sex couples, or about 12 percent, had children living with them in 2016. Among opposite-sex couples, half had children living with them. g


PRIDE

Vancouver-based diplomat savours U.K. apology

W

by Charlie Smith

hen Nicole Davison joined the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1988, she knew that she had to keep her sexual orientation a secret. That’s because back then, being a lesbian was a firing offence. But she was only 19 years old, single, wanted to experience life overseas, and liked the idea of representing her country. “I took a bit of a gamble, knowing that if it was found out that I could easily lose my job, ” Davison, now Britain’s consul general in Vancouver, told the Straight in a recent phone interview. “As it happened, about four years after I joined, the ban was lifted. But it still took an awful long time for things to normalize.” In fact, she said, gay and lesbian employees in Britain’s foreign services had large yellow tags attached to their paper personnel files until the late 1990s. This indicated that they were still deemed to be a security risk. “I used to work in personnel,” Davison recalled. “What used to happen is when you would get a file on your desk and it had a yellow tag on, you would just automatically look through to see why.” This occurred even though Britain had

British consul general Nicole Davison hid her sexuality when she joined the foreign service.

legalized homosexuality in 1967. According to Davison, the trepidation about gay and lesbian foreign-service employees was a holdover from the Cambridge Spy Ring. Its five members passed intelligence to the Soviet Union before and during the Second World War and during the Cold War, inspiring John Le Carré spy novels. The government feared that LGBT+ employees could be susceptible to blackmail.

Over the course of her career, Davison rose through the ranks, serving in South Africa, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and China before being appointed as Britain’s consul general in Vancouver in 2016. Earlier this month, two decades after she cofounded the Foreign Office Lesbian and Gay Group (FLAGG), Davison and other LGBT+ employees of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office [“Development” was added in 2020] finally received a formal public apology from their employer. Davison said that hearing the apology “felt massive…because it just finally addressed the wrongs that colleagues had experienced”. She was particularly pleased that the

government didn’t try to justify its discriminatory policy. “It felt almost like the end of that particular chapter because we had the ban; the ban was lifted. We had the tags; the tags were removed. We’ve had increasingly supportive policies for officers who are working overseas with same-sex partners,” Davison said. “But no one had ever said this was wrong.” She emphasized that Britain’s foreign office has worked exceptionally hard to become an inclusive employer in recent years. “The organization that I work for now is a very, very different place,” Davison said. “In our international work, for example, we advocate for LGBTQ equality across the world.” g

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ARTS

Nude butoh draws crowds even at Wreck Beach

F

by Martin Dunphy

ew people would be surprised by an encounter with naked people after descending one of the long, steep cliff trails to Wreck Beach, Vancouver’s famous clothing-optional hangout below the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. But even beach regulars might be startled by the sight of a dozen or more nude, white-painted dancers executing dance moves on the sand like a choreographed coven of skyclad Wiccans. That’s because even though this surreal spectacle has taken place every summer for 26 years running, it only happens for about an hour on two days of the year, sometimes early in the morning. “We have to do it when there is a beach, so we have to figure out the tides,” Barbara Bourget, artistic director of Kokoro Dance Theatre, tells the Straight by phone. “Wreck Beach has a fairly narrow beach, depending on what part you want to dance on. “If we start it at the right time, we have enough sand, but sometimes you might be standing in water near the end.” Bourget—who has been choreographing, teaching, and performing Kokoro’s unique brand of contemporary dance theatre with her life and dance partner, Jay Hirabayashi, since 1986—thinks the sight of her company’s workshop participants is more bewitching than bizarre. “You see these beautiful white bodies in the beautiful environment: the cliffs, the sand, the ocean,” she says. “Sometimes we’ll have seals pop their heads up like they’re saying, ‘What is going on?’ ” The two-day culmination of the 27th edition of Kokoro’s two-week intensive butoh workshop will be taking place this Saturday and Sunday (July 24 and 25) at noon and 12:45 p.m., respectively, at the bottom of the 360-odd steps that compose Wreck

This year marks the 27th summer in a row that Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi (centre) have brought their butoh-workshop performance to Wreck Beach. Photo by Chris Randle.

Sometimes we’ll have seals pop their heads up like they’re saying, ‘What is going on?’ – Barbara Bourget

Beach’s Trail 4. (“It’s okay going down, but it’s a bit steep going back up if you’re tired,” Bourget admits.) Bourget said spectators are welcome on the weekend, but pictures and videos are not allowed. Butoh is a form of contemporary Japanese dance theatre that was borne out of that country’s postwar experience in the late 1950s. Its then-controversial style was a reaction against traditional, formalized theatre and western dance influences,

but the spread of butoh companies outside Japan decades later introduced audiences to different versions of the relatively new art form, with many of them retaining the original performers’ nudity, white-painted bodies, and shaved heads. Kokoro’s workshops, though open to all those capable of strenuous rehearsals and a couple of cliff climbs, are not for triflers. “We do a two-week workshop: nine days of rehearsals, two days of performances, and one day for what we call an ‘undress rehearsal’,” Bourget explains. “We do have professional dancers, but we also have students, we have actors…Kind of a big mix. We’ve even had retired professors, just a wide range of people who are attracted to the freedom of it. Lots of people have done it quite a few times. “Once you’ve danced at the beach, you just want to dance at the beach,” Bourget adds. “It’s just a beautiful experience, and

I think that people just love it. It’s always different, and that’s one of the things that’s attractive about it. And the beach always looks different.” Kokoro’s version of butoh, although choreographed, still reserves space for spontaneity, according to Bourget. “There’s lots of improv but within a certain structure…there’s freedom within it, too. It’s not fascistic; it has its own freedom. “We have developed our own ways of doing it,” she says of her and Hirabayashi’s more than three decades of collaboration. “It’s very connected to the environment, and it’s very earthy, in its way. “Together, we have blended our aesthetics.” Bourget says that Kokoro’s sometimes slow movements are actually reflective of interior imagery and energy, not a sedate mindset. “No, butoh is actually very energetic, even if you move slowly,” she says. “It all takes a lot of energy…it’s very challenging and disciplined. In butoh, you can express almost anything with even a small amount of movement.” Bourget doesn’t shy away from being asked about dancing naked at an age when many would be thinking of retirement and relaxation. “I’m 70, and I’ve been dancing for 64 years,” she says without a pause. “I just had a knee replacement, and it’s been a rough recovery. Jay’s had two knee replacements, and he recovered quickly. “We’ll keep dancing as long as an audience comes to see us—and even if they don’t,” she says, laughing. “I think retiring, for Jay and I, is out of the question.” Asked what might change her mind about continuing to dance, she responds, again without hesitation, “I think death.” g

Solid ensemble relationships yield powerful results by Alina Blackett

DANCE

ORIGINS/ HOW DO WE CO-EXIST? PAM

Presented by Immigrant Lessons and CAMP. Commissioned and presented by Dancing on the Edge at the Firehall Arts Centre on July 16. No remaining performances

d ON THE SECOND-to-last night of the 2021 Dancing on the Edge Festival, jovial dance enthusiasts gathered in the Firehall Arts Centre’s charming courtyard for a double bill of two exciting collectives: Immigrant Lessons and CAMP. 20

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JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

Immigrant Lessons, made up of artists Sophia Gamboa, Sevrin Emnacen-Boyd, Simran Sachar, Tegvaran Singh, Hayden Pereira, and Joshua Cameron, started the evening off with a powerful excerpt from its full-length dance film ORIGINS/How Do We Co-exist?, which premiered at the Firehall earlier in the festival. The connection between cast members was evident as soon as they entered the courtyard, chatting and laughing amongst themselves while gathering around on creamcoloured living room furniture. Besides the chairs, loveseat, side tables, and wooden dining set, the other items on the scene were a guitar and a cajon. Creative Director Kevin Fraser uses storytelling as a foundation for this work. The laughing evolves into a deeper sharing, and movement sneaks in to express the inexpressible.

Gamboa, a strong performer, set this tone by speaking first and was superseded by Emnacen-Boyd, whose own story is seemingly evoked by Gamboa’s words. The stories weave between each other and take on different forms along the way, ranging from narrative to poetry to song. At one point Sachar asked, “What about the irony of someone telling you to go back home to be famous?” What followed was a sort of jam session as the group burst energetically into dance and song, creating the rhythm by clapping, tapping the furniture, and taking turns on the cajon. At that point it was hard to tell whether the audience or the performers were having more fun. For that live segment, the artist’s voices are the soundscape for the most part. At times, it was difficult to hear every word, a reminder that ORIGINS/How Do We Co-exist? see page 22


Nine things to do!

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Browse Japanese goods and crafts from our Japan Market

Learn at least

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visit the origami daruma installation in Oppenheimer Park (July 31st & August 1st)

Pre-order menu items from our Community Food Booths by July 24

Paueru Mashup dance move

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in-person event (Pick-up Depot counts!)

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Take a photo of your

forty-fifth

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#powellstfest @powellstfest JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

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from page 20

was created originally for film and is perhaps best suited for that medium. There was a particularly effective section where Amine Bouzaher and Jordan Lemoine’s music composition appeared as a suspenseful pulse that created an increasing darkness and tension as the cast journeys through difficult memories and stories of generations past. Andie Lloyd’s lighting design supported this scene by deepening in colour and casting the characters’ silhouettes behind them, suggesting that even as we live and exist in the present, we still carry shadows of our past behind us. The strength of ORIGINS/How Do We Co-exist?, and the collective, was beautifully demonstrated in a final impactful scene, when the group gathered around the guitar and began to sing “Stand By Me”. It was touching to be a part of an audience that was moved enough to laugh, clap, and sing along as the ensemble danced and

played with each other on-stage. It was as if the audience, outside under the Edison bulb lights, was invited in as an honoured guest to this warm moment in the collective’s living room. An incredible sense of trust and courage emanated from the ensemble as each member embarked on a journey of personal experiences, challenges, questions, and recollections. The dancers’ skilled movements were at once used as an elevation, an expansion, and a response. The choreography allowed the artists’ individual styles to shine through, with satisfying accents of synchronicity sprinkled in. This Vancouver-based multidisciplinary arts collective is creating important work and valuable opportunities for marginalized communities and youth with artistic integrity, ingenuity, and excellence. After the intermission, Ted Littlemore, Isak Enquist, Sarah Formosa, Brenna Metzmeier, and Eowynn Enquist of CAMP entered the stage dressed in blue-and-black

The dance troupe Immigrant Lessons emanated an incredible sense of trust and courage in one of its recent performances at the Dancing on the Edge festival. Photo by Vanessa Yuen.

27th Annual Wreck Beach Butoh Performances Saturday, July 24th at 12:00pm Sunday, July 25th at 12:45pm

By donation Clothing optional beach Foot of the #4 Trail below the UBC Museum of Anthropology No photography/video allowed

Photo by Peter Eastwood

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JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

activewear. The piece, PAM, started off in stillness, the company’s members standing together, breathing, gazing out past the audience as the lights brightened. Intrigue flickered through the audience as the stillness lasted longer than what most were probably expecting. Changes finally appeared in the dancers, almost as if they had begun to get restless from standing still for so long, the movement beginning in their eyes before travelling slowly through their bodies. As momentum and repetition started to ripple through the group, one performer’s specific movement would be revisited later in some shape or form by another dancer. The choreography is stylized, sustained, and specific all at once, and it began to create a sense of something building. The sound design, composed by Enquist and Littlemore, added to this atmosphere with static, spaceshiplike sounds. The group moved as if in molasses toward the back, with Formosa the first to break apart, dancing free among the ensemble. The tension increased, the volume revved up, and the audience heard “PAM!” loud and clear over the speakers. This launched the dancers into a series of dynamic duets and powerhouse solos where they showcased their technical chops. A heavy club beat throbbed through the courtyard, and coloured lights added to this effect. The company’s athleticism was impressive as it moved through sharp, fabulous, and fun choreo. The young collective, which has no specific leader or choreographer, mixes different styles in its piece,

The world premiere of PAM was a delicious exploration of form…

with influences of Bob Fosse and oldschool jazz shining through. Another notable relief in the tension was when, following a guitar riff, the group danced in repetition as viewers found out who this Pam person really was. Chuckles came from audience members as they were let in on a little secret. The climax of the piece came when the ambient beats gave way to an old-timey jazz tune and the dancers gave it their all in a final synchronized routine bursting with energy and sass. The audience, released from the subtle suspense, audibly revelled in the change of pace. It was a sexy and entertaining payoff, and it earned the standing ovation that followed. The world premiere of PAM was a delicious exploration of form, with parts of the piece moving so fast that, seemingly, split seconds were packed with intricate choreography. The ensemble’s dancers worked well with each other, the space, and the audience. Promising new company CAMP has a strong command of style, bold choreography, and a great sense of humour. g


MUSIC

Jim Cuddy loves making music with his two sons by Steve Newton

too, which is great. And you ever hear of Jimmy LaFave? He’d be just about my age, but he died at 61, and he just does this most amazing cover of ‘Walk Away Renée’. I was listening to some new Jackson Browne and then all of a sudden that stopped and he came on and I was like, ‘Whoa, who is this guy?’ He slows that song down and does a soulful version of it, and it’s heartbreaking.” Speaking of touching tunes, Cuddy recently released a video for an uplifting ballad called “Good News” that will be included on his solo record. “I was very moved by all the kindness and consideration that people were showing each other [during the pandemic],” he explains. “It’s not normal when we’re all shut down and people are all of a sudden inquiring about how everybody is and trying to do things for people that maybe are shut in or scared. Then all the Black Lives Matter protests. I just thought it was really inspiring to see people go out of their way for others.” “Good News” may make the set list when Cuddy and his sons play the online Mission Folk Music Festival on a “Fathers and Sons” bill with Barney Bentall and his son Dustin Bentall. Expect to hear some original compositions from his boys as well.

Jim Cuddy (above) is proud of the musical paths that his sons Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley (not photographed) have taken. They’ll perform at the online Mission Folk Music Festival.

N

20

21

ONLINE FREE JULY 23 TO 25 WWW.MISSIONFOLKMUSICFESTIVAL.CA

Barney & Dustin Bentall

Leela Gilday

Irish Mythen

Talisk

blues base and “a lot of Randy Newman in him”. Both offspring gravitated toward music at an early age, but not, according to Cuddy, in a predictable way. “The first people that Devin liked were Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton,” he says. “It was stuff I didn’t know a whole bunch about. So he really tried to move as far away from me as he could. He went to jazz school at York for four years and then sorta came around to roots. “Sam’s a little bit more like me—played guitar and wrote songs and covered the Skydiggers and things like that. So a little bit more closely inclined to my path. But they both did it entirely on their own. You know, their mother and I, we didn’t even know they wrote songs until we saw them on-stage. They were living in the same house, but somehow they kept it from us.” Though he’s been keeping himself busy during the pandemic, performing a lot of online gigs and working on Blue Rodeo and solo albums, Cuddy always keeps his ears open to other artists. When asked what he’s been listening to in his spare time, he doesn’t hesitate. “What I really like is Rose Cousins’s new record,” he replies. “She won a Juno for that,

Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy, and Sam Polley perform at the Mission Folk Music Festival, as part of the Fathers and Sons concert, which also includes Barney Bentall and Dustin Bentall. The online festival runs from July 23 to 25.

Moskitto Bar

ormally, when you think about Canadian roots musician Jim Cuddy you envision him onstage with the legendary Blue Rodeo, standing alongside co-songwriter and guitarist Greg Keelor while the band blasts out killer tunes like “Diamond Mine” or “Til I Am Myself Again”. Or you might picture him doing a solo concert, performing a heartfelt number from one of his five solo albums. But more recently, Cuddy has been performing with his two sons, 34-year-old Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley, 29. For him, that’s one of the best things ever. “It is, absolutely,” Cuddy says on the phone from his home in “steamy” Toronto. “You know, I love collaboration in general, to just step out of your own career path and just play music. And I’m so admiring of my sons, that they have developed their own careers, their own original music, and that they’ve become good professionals. They understand that when they get on a stage, they have to perform well, and it takes some discipline.” Cuddy says that the music his kids play could be described as roots but that guitar player Sam makes is a bit more quirky and poppy while pianist Devin has more of a

“I encourage them to do originals,” Cuddy says, “so they’ll probably do an original each and then a cover each, and I’ll do a couple of originals, and then we’ll do something together. Barney and Dustin and Devin and Sam and myself, we’ve done a lot of playing in bars, so we have quite a repertoire. I guess we can’t play together because the Zoom doesn’t allow you to play in time with somebody else, but we’ve got lots of encores and inspirational tunes. It’s great stuff.” Cuddy officially became a senior in December, but turning 65 hasn’t caused him to look back on his career and ponder how things could have been. “Oh, I don’t think I’d change anything,” he says. “You know, so much of a music career is just what leads you along. So I don’t think I could look back and say, ‘I wish we’d done this; I wish we’d done that.’ I think we’ve been very fortunate, obviously, and it’s not a thing that I look back on without gratitude.” g

FEATURING Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley (Ont) Barney and Dustin Bentall (BC) | Talisk (Scotland) Moskitto Bar (Ont) | Taylor Ashton & Rachael Price (NY) Irish Mythen (PEI) | Shari Ulrich Quartet (BC) Zal Sissokho Kora Flamenca (Mali/Que) | Leela Gilday (NWT) Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys (PEI)

Jim Cuddy, Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley

BC GROWN! Shred Kelly | Liam Docherty | West My Friend Kara-Kata AfroBeat Group | The Oot n’ Oots

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

23


MOVIES

Validation comes in many forms at Queer film fest

U

by Charlie Smith

nlike many children of South Asian immigrants, Anoushka Ratnarajah did not spend vast amounts of time in childhood watching Bollywood or South Indian cinema. That’s because her Tamil father—born to Sri Lankan parents in Malaysia—was far more enamoured with classic Hollywood films. One of her dad’s favourites that left a lasting impression on Ratnarajah was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn. It marked the first time that Ratnarajah had seen an interracial relationship on-screen, and it paralleled her father’s interracial relationship with her white mother. “Even though Sidney Poitier and my father don’t have the same experience, I still felt like I saw some semblance of what my family life and my reality looked like on-screen,” she recalled. “I remember that being a really impactful moment for me because I had never really seen anything like that before as a kid growing up in the ’80s and ’90s in a pretty small white town in Ladner, B.C., in Tsawwassen territories.” As the artistic director of Out on Screen, which produces the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Ratnarajah takes the responsibility of showing the queer community’s diversity extremely seriously. She noted that when she began as artistic director in 2017, some asked why there weren’t any transmasculine stories. “It took me until 2021 to really find the kind of content that was made with intention and ethics and integrity, because I don’t want to show films that are going to contribute toward stereotyping particular members of our community,” Ratnarajah said. “And I also really look for films that are filmed through an experiential lens, so the

…I don’t want to show films that are going to contribute toward stereotyping particular members of our community. – Out on Screen artistic director Anoushka Ratnarajah

Anoushka Ratnarajah knew what it felt like not to see herself reflected back on screens as a child in the 1980s. Photo by K. Ho.

folks behind the camera have similar life experiences to the folks who are being portrayed on-screen, because I think we’ve seen such a rise of tokenism in the arts.” This year, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival will present a feature film and a diverse program of four short films featuring transmasculine protagonists and transmasculine people behind the camera. The feature, Adam, is inspired by the life of Adam Kashmiry, an Egyptianborn drag artist who found asylum in the U.K. and struggled to gain access to gender-affirming medical care.

In addition, several films at this year’s festival explore the role of kink and leather culture in queer activism and queer history. According to Ratnarajah, these are timely given public debates about folks showing up at Pride parades in their leather and kink gear. “One is called Rebel Dykes,” Ratnarajah said. “It’s set in 1980s London and it follows a group of leather feminists, performance artists, activists, and dykes who were really active in the social-justice scene.” By presenting films like Caer (Caught), about trans Latina sex workers, and the documentary Raw! Uncut! Video!, about kink moviemakers in the 1980s, Ratnarajah feels that she’s giving viewers across the gender and sexuality spectrum a chance to feel validated. “I think those small moments where you see a fraction of yourself represented—like I did with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner—sort of cements how important representation is for folks to feel connected to the world around them and feel like you’re a real person,” Ratnarajah said. “And your experience can be shared with other people.” g The Vancouver Queer Film Festival runs from August 12 to 22.

Snake Eyes keeps it real in stunt and fight scenes

A

by Maggie McPhee

fter lukewarm responses to the too-stupid G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and the not-stupid-enough G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Paramount and MGM have pivoted with Snake Eyes, a soft reboot of the franchise in theatres July 23. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the man who fought to make The Matrix and bought the rights to Harry Potter, couldn’t be a wiser choice to produce the rebranding. The film follows Snake Eyes (Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding), a loner driven by the singular desire to avenge his father’s death as he’s recruited into the Arashikage ninja clan. Focusing on the origin story of one of the most popular characters in the G.I. Joe series “opened up a new way of telling a G.I. Joe story so it’s part of the universe but stands alone”, Bonaventura told the Georgia Straight during a prepandemic visit to the aptly named Mammoth Studios in Burnaby. Snake Eyes is equal parts action movie and character study, and the film’s eponymous protagonist advances through a series of physical and mental tests to determine his spiritual oneness and official adoption into the Arashikage clan—“all

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Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding plays Snake Eyes‘ titular hero, a loner driven by the desire to avenge his father’s death—meaning plenty of kung-fu fights and expertly wielded katanas.

the great kung-fu mumbo-jumbo stuff”, as Bonaventura put it, including ancient albino anacondas that can sniff out true ninja masters and annihilate imposters. In the backdrop, an uber-conflict plays out between the Joes (the good guys) and the Cobras (the bad guys) that throws Snake Eyes into the ultimate trial between his ego and his ascension. The film’s denouement, presumably, reveals the reasons behind the vow of silence that sets him apart in the universe.

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

Under Bonaventura’s direction, the franchise has traded in supersized allAmerican military propaganda for a character-driven story with minimal CGI stunts, six weeks shooting in Japan, and an international cast. The lead actors hail from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Britain, and Ghana, with a notable absence of any Americans. These changes amount to “serious risks”, Bonaventura’s assistant said while watching Golding pre-

tend to rappel into a snake pit. Risks artistic and literal. Golding and his costars trained extensively to perform many of their own stunts. The highway-chase sequences involve real cars, real motorcycles, and real people. Legendary action figure Iko Uwais (The Raid) plays the Hard Master, and Japan’s heavyweight stunt coordinator, Kenji Tanigaki, choreographed all the combat scenes. “We have a lot of firepower going on here,” Bonaventura said, though actual explosives will take a back seat to kung-fu fights and deftly wielded katanas. The fact of the impossibility of translating months of hard work, skill, and fight-scene choreography into a three-minute action scene only intensified when the production team led a visitor down into the belly of the Mammoth, a studio large enough to contain multiple city blocks and a Goodyear blimp. The artistry involved in constructing the immaculate sets will whiz by on the silver screen, effectively unnoticed. Much like the kung-fu “mumbo jumbo” at the heart of Snake Eyes, the labour behind the scenes demands herculean feats of mind and body—and no glory. g


AVAILABLE ONLINE ACROSS CANADA

www.fantasiafestival.com

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL · 25 th EDITION

5-25 AUGUST 2021

“Fantasia is the most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent” —Quentin Tarantino

“One of Canada’s hottest film events” —Variety

“Fantasia is a shrine”

—Guillermo Del Toro

Illustration : Donald Caron

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT

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SAVAGE LOVE

Unwilling-cuckold tale smells suspiciously fictitious by Dan Savage

b MY WIFE GOT drunk at a vacation house we rented with a bunch of friends and cheated on me with my best friend in the hot tub. They didn’t have sex but they did other things. I wasn’t there but there were eight other people in the hot tub and the jets were on so no one else saw what was going on “under the water”. My wife told me about it afterward and I was hurt but also kind of excited. She proposed we “even the score” by asking my friend and his wife to have a foursome. They agreed, but the experience was miserable. My wife and my friend were very into each other and my friend’s wife was willing but I was having a hard time enjoying myself with a woman I had no interest in while my wife did things for my best friend that she would never do for me. She let him come in her mouth, which is something she never lets me do, and she did it right in front of me. Now she says she will do that for me but only if she can keep doing it for him. This seems deeply unfair. We have kids and I don’t want to get divorced but I’m concerned that I’m going to keep getting hurt if I stay. What can I do? I need… - Help Overcoming Terrible Worries About This Entire Relationship

Hmm. I’m not convinced events went down as described, HOTWATER, or that your wife went down as described—hell, I’m not convinced your wife exists. There are just too many “unwilling cuckold fantasy” tropes in your letter, HOTWATER, from your wife cheating on you in the most humiliating way possible (with your best friend and in front of other friends) to your wife doing things for another man that she won’t do for you (and doing those things in front of you) to the sexual blackmail your wife is now subjecting you to (she’ll allow you to come in her mouth on the condition that your best friend gets to keep coming in her mouth). And the presence of an inert-bordering-on-houseplant best friend (did he have nothing to say to you?) and the equally inert wife (did she have no reaction to being rejected by you?) don’t make your question seem any more credible. But on the off, off, off chance there is a wife, there was a vacation house, and something happened in a hot tub… If you can’t make a credible threat of divorce, HOTWATER, then you’re fucked. Your wife wants to dictate terms and set conditions—conditions like you’ll only get X from her (X = coming in her mouth) if she gets to do X with someone else—and if her behaviour at that vacation house is any indication, ENRAGE, she’s gonna X around with other guys whether you like it not. You can tell her she’s not allowed to do anything like that ever again—you can insist on strict monogamy—but having seen what she’s capable of, under and over the water, will you ever feel comfortable letting your wife out of your sight again? Will you ever be able to leave her alone with your best friend Groot again?

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turns out your ex dated someone else that he really, really liked while he was in his home country, would you want him to tell you that?

What happens in the hot tub between couples at a vacation home stays in the hot tub—unless someone tells. At which point, one starts asking big questions. Photo by Macniak/Getty Images.

If the thought of your wife cheating turned you on, HOTWATER, you might be able to make this work. And perhaps it does turn you on. You said you were excited when your wife first confessed what she’d done in that hot tub with your best friend, but things went south during the foursome you had to “even the score”. Maybe you don’t want the score to be even? If the thought of a “deeply unfair” one-sided open relationship turns you on—if the thought of getting to come in your wife’s mouth, say, one time for every 10 times your best friend gets to come in her mouth—then you should think about sharing that information with your wife. It could be the start of something big—it could be the start of an invigorating sexual adventure— or it could be the beginning of the end. But seeing as the end seems inevitable anyway, why not go down swinging? b I SPENT TWO years with a man I thought I would marry. Then he lost his job in Italy, where we lived, and COVID-19 made it impossible for him to find another job, so he returned to his home country. I would have done the same if I were in his place. I spent the last five years getting my degree, and I’m a woman who is working in my field, and I wouldn’t give that up to follow a man to another country. But his decision to go nevertheless broke my heart. Two months later, he changed his mind and wants a future with me in Italy. We decided to meet in August to discuss our future, and in the last three weeks we have exchanged so many messages of love. Then, classically, I met someone else. I explained my situation to him—that I’m going on holiday with my ex and that we are talking about getting back together—and he appreciated my honesty and said that enjoying the moment is more important to him than thinking about the future. A week later, we slept together.

JULY 22 – 29 / 2021

The problem is that I’m still in love with my ex and I want him to return to Italy and be my boyfriend again. But I can’t erase my feelings for this new man. This is a difficult situation and it’s hard to talk about it, even with my friends. Do you have any suggestions? - Messy Emotions, Sensitive Situation

You and your ex-boyfriend are still exes, which means you’re free to do whatever/ whoever you like. Same for your ex, MESS, and for all you know he has dated and/or fucked another girl or girls and those experiences helped him realize you were the one he wanted. If he’s the one you want—and if you, like most people, are only allowed to have one—then you’ll have to end things with Mr. Enjoying the Moment when your ex returns or isn’t your ex anymore, MESS, whichever come first. That’s assuming Mr. Moment is still in your life at that point. Mr. Moment could wind up exiting your life just as quickly as he entered it: e.g., he could ghost on you tomorrow, or you could discover something about him next week that dries you up. But even if you ultimately have to end things with Mr. Moment because you’re getting back together with your ex—if you have to end things with Mr. Moment for that reason and no other—you don’t have to erase your feelings. You can be sad about that ending and happy about pickings things back up with your ex at the same time. And just a little heads-up: “Have you been seeing anyone else?” is a question exes often ask each other when they’re thinking about getting back together. You can and should answer that question truthfully, of course, but you don’t have to go into detail. “I briefly dated someone” is an honest answer and enough of an answer. Omitting the part about how you crushed hard on the other guy isn’t dishonest, MESS, it’s considerate. I mean, if it

b I’M A STRAIGHT cis man in his late twenties and recently met a hot kinky woman my age on a kink/hookup app. We’ve had two meals together and six awesome fucks, all at my place. We’re on the same page about this being casual. She’s never mentioned anything about being married, but I’m pretty sure she’s either married or recently separated. Instagram and Facebook make it clear that until at least two months ago there was a husband in her life. I don’t care if she’s single or married or separated, but I wonder if I should mention to her that I’m aware her life is a little more complicated than she’s let on. If there’s a chance she’s stressing about the (possible) deception, I could save her the stress. Do I tell her what I know? - Knowing Me, Knowing You

That hot kinky woman could be cheating on her

husband or recently divorced or recently widowed. Whatever’s going on, KMKY, she’s had lots of opportunities to open up to you about her life—six amazingly awesome fucks, two hopefully delicious meals—and she’s chosen not to. Sharing details about your life might inspire her to open up about hers, KMKY, but telling her you’ve been lurking on her social media—particularly if she didn’t share her handles with you—could piss her off. That said, I don’t blame you for checking out her Instagram or Facebook accounts. It’s natural to be curious about the people you’re fucking, and it’s weird when people post things to public social-media accounts and then get upset when someone they’re fucking—technically a member of the public— sees those posts. But the willingness of a new sex partner to demonstrate that they respect our privacy, maybe even a little more than we respect our own, can go a long way toward establishing trust. And not bringing up what you may have seen on the social-media accounts of someone you’ve only recently met or started fucking demonstrates tact. And finally, KMKY, kink might have something to do with why this woman hasn’t opened up to you about other parts of her life. Some kinky people prefer play partners who don’t know the mundane details of their everyday lives—for some, being known only as a Dom or a sub or an AB or an LG or a norecip oral-cum-dump latex gimp makes it easier to step into their fantasy role. If that’s the case with this woman, KMKY, knowing you know what you know about her—and learning how you came to know it—might wind up disqualifying you as a friend and ruining you as a play partner. g

Email: mail@savagelove.net. Follow Dan on Twitter @ FakeDanSavage. Website: www.savagelovecast.com.


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