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SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 | FREE

Volume 53 | Number 2694

RAM DASS

Guru shines in new doc

CANNABIS EDIBLES Legal challenge looms

ROMANTIC LOVE It’s rooted in the brain

Fringe Festival

At this year’s theatre extravaganza, Lili Robinson’s Mx is one of several bold plays exploring mixed-race identity

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SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 3


CONTENTS

September 5 – 12 / 2019

COVER

11

1238

DAVIE ST., VANCOUVER, BC

Adult Toys & Fetish Fantasy, Greeting Cards, Clothing, Lubricants & Massage Oils, Giftware & Novelty Items and Rainbow Gear.

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Our Fringe guide scouts out brave solo shows and bold looks at mixed heritage, plus, early Victoria reviews. By Janet Smith Cover photo by Christache Ross

5

FEATURE

The Kinsey Institute’s Helen Fisher describes how she discovered the neurobiological basis for romantic love. By Charlie Smith

7

NEWS

Chinese journalist and author Alison Zhao shared a deeply personal story about democracy at TaiwanFest. By Charlie Smith

21 MUSIC

Long before marijuana went mainstream, DJ Muggs was on the frontlines pushing the benefits of bud. By MIke Usinger

23 MOVIES

A still vital Ram Dass teaches Becoming Nobody filmmaker Jamie Catto a thing or two about usness. By Adrian Mack

WHAT CONNECTS YOU?

RAISED CENTRE

BOTH SIDES

The City is developing conceptual plans for a new walking, rolling, and cycling path across Granville Bridge.

e Start Here 9 THE BOTTLE 6 CANNABIS 25 CONFESSIONS 8 HOROSCOPES 9 I SAW YOU 22 LOCAL DISCS 23 MOVIE REVIEWS 22 POP EYE 27 SAVAGE LOVE

e Online TOP 5

e Listings 21 ARTS 23 MUSIC

e Services 25 CLASSIFIEDS

Share your input on 6 options that reflect your feedback from phase 1. EAST SIDE

OPEN HOUSES CityLab

Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 53 | Number 2694 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 T: 604.730.7000 F: 604.730.7010 E: gs.info@straight.com straight.com

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Canuck the Crow goes missing from East Van neighbourhood. More Canadians face their own prejudices in APTN’s First Contact. Jagmeet Singh praises brother for response to Islamophobe. Greta Thunberg knows she’s winning when haters attack her looks. B.C. drug-user group wants “heroin buyers clubs” to curb deaths.

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FEATURE

Romantic love starts inside the brain

W

by Charlie Smith

hen Rutgers University biological anthropologist Helen Fisher began investigating the roots of romantic love, nobody imagined it could be linked to the structure of the brain. In those days, the prevailing view was that personality was entirely learned. Fisher, now a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and chief scientific officer of Match.com, was skeptical. Because she was an identical twin, she could observe firsthand how personalities developed in two people with identical DNA. The consensus of behavioural experts did not reflect her experience. “At the time when I started doing this, people thought that romantic love was part of the supernatural,” Fisher said. “I thought to myself, ‘Anger is not part of the supernatural. Fear is not part of the supernatural. Sorrow is not part of the supernatural.’ “Why would love and attachment be part of the supernatural?” she continued. “They’ve got to be housed in the brain.” To prove this, Fisher assembled a team to conduct a brain-scanning study of those who were happily in love. Relying on functional magnetic resonance imaging, the team also studied the brain activity of those who had been rejected in love and those who had been in love over the long term. Through this work, they discovered a specific pathway for intense feelings of romantic love in a small region of the brain called the ventral tegmental area. Also known as the VTA, it resides on the floor of the midbrain in the basal ganglia and is part of the socalled reptilian human brain. “It’s way below the cortex, where you do your thinking, way below the regions in the middle of your head that organize emotions,” Fisher explained. “This little factory, the VTA, lies right next to the factories that orchestrate thirst and hunger.” She’s concluded that romantic love drives people to form long-term pair bonds to ensure their DNA survives into the future. “I do regard romantic love as a survival mechanism as powerful as thirst and hunger.” Those who were very happily in love demonstrated a great deal of activity in the VTA, which produces dopamine and projects this neurotransmitter throughout the brain. According to Fisher, dopamine not only generates optimism, focus, motivation, and energy but is also central to feelings of intense romantic love. “We also found activity in the nearby region, also in the basal ganglia, that is linked with feelings of deep attachment to a partner,” she added. She’s deduced that evolution has led to three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction. One is the sex drive, which leads people to be on the lookout for a range of potential partners. Romantic

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Researcher Helen Fisher has linked pair bonding to basal ganglia in the midbrain.

love enables someone to focus their mating energy on one person. And feelings of attachment cause a couple to remain together long enough to raise a single child through infancy. FISHER POINTED OUT that it’s not possible to use functional magnetic resonance imaging on chimpanzees, ducks, and turtles. “But we do know that this brain circuitry for romantic love is very common in nature,” she said. Scientists refer to it as the “attraction system”. And she said that studies of prairie voles and sheep have demonstrated how it becomes activated. “No bird or mammal will have sex with anything that comes along,” Fisher said. “They have favourites. They focus on some and they refuse to copulate with others.” But few mammals—only three percent—form long-term pair bonds. For rats, the attraction can last only

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that bike with lights? And taking those two wheels for a spin downtown after dark? While dressed in costume? HUB Cycling’s signature night bike ride is the perfect opportunity to do these things. Modelled after Montreal’s popular Tour la Nuit, Vancouver’s Bike the Night is back for its fourth year Saturday (September 7). The cycling event begins with a party at Sunset Beach, with music, bike tuneups, food trucks, games, and giveaways, starting at 6 p.m. Ten kilometres of roadways, including the Burrard Street Bridge, will be cleared of cars. Families and slow riders roll out at 7:45 p.m.; others follow at 8 p.m. The ride ends where it started, at Sunset Beach. Registered participants get a chance to win a $500 gift card from MEC. Tickets are $20. Youths aged 16 and under ride free. For details: bikethenight.ca. g

30 seconds, she said. With elephants, studies have shown that attraction only lasts for about five days. “Cats don’t form a pair bond,” she noted. “Deer don’t form a pair bond.” Other mammals, like gorillas and zebras, form harems, with one male travelling with five females. A male orangutan may have several female partners in his habitat. “Our closest relatives, chimpanzees, hang out in a very large social group of many males and many females,” Fisher said. “When a female comes into estrus, or into heat, she will copulate with a lot of different males. She would not form a pair bond with one of them.” Sometimes a female and male chimp will hook up and travel away from the group for a few weeks. But upon their return, Fisher said, the female chimp raises the baby by herself. Those that do form long-term pair bonds include wolves, foxes, coyotes, dingoes, beavers, and little African antelopes called dik-diks. Gibbons, including the siaming of Southeast Asia, are the only higher primates apart from human beings that form pair bonds. “People will often ask: ‘Why are we so adulterous?’ ” Fisher said. “That’s not really the question. A great many of our primate relatives sleep around. The real question is: why do we bother to pair up at all? “And why did we evolve this brain circuitry for romantic love and deep feelings of attachment—and jealousy—and all kinds of other brain systems that sustain this pair bond?” Perhaps the answer can be found in another group of vertebrates. “Over 90 percent of birds form a long-term pair bond—because they have to,” Fisher pointed out. “Somebody’s got to sit on those eggs. That individual will starve to death unless they form a pair bond and rear the children as a team.” g As part of the UBC Connects speaker series, Helen Fisher will discuss the future of relationships in the digital age on Tuesday (September 10) at the Vancouver Playhouse. A longer version of this article is available at Straight.com.

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CANNABIS Conroy targets THC limits for edibles

O

by Charlie Smith

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ne of Canada’s best-known cannabis lawyers is gearing up to launch a court challenge against incoming new federal rules for edibles, extracts, and topicals. In a phone interview with the Georgia Straight, John Conroy said that the limits of 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per package of edible cannabis, 10 milligrams of THC per unit of cannabis extracts, and one gram per package of cannabis extracts fall far short of what’s required by some medicinal users. The prospective case involves an unnamed mother of a young child who requires high-end extracts to treat multiple seizures. “You’ve got kids with significant medical issues whose parents have got them medically approved for highend concentrate extracts—and they still won’t be able to get them legally,” Conroy said. “So the government is once again failing to prevent the violation of the constitutional rights of medically approved patients.” The regulation pursuant to the Cannabis Act will take effect on

John Conroy’s court wins for cannabis users transformed the legal landscape.

October 17. Conroy maintained that it will “arbitrarily deprive” medicinal cannabis patients of their right to security of the person, which is guaranteed under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To illustrate his point, he cited the example of Shawn Davey, whom Conroy represented in the Allard case in the Federal Court of Canada. Many years ago, Davey suffered a permanent

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brain injury after a motorcycle accident and he has used cannabis since 2002 to relieve pain. According to the 2016 court ruling, Davey was being prescribed 25 grams per day when he and the other plaintiffs won the right to grow their own weed. He required such a heavy dose because he made cannabis butter for his edibles. “So if he was doing [legal] edibles, he would have to buy 2,500 packages a day, which is ludicrous,” Conroy said. “He’ll die from the sugar content in the edibles.” Conroy added that since he successfully argued the landmark Owen Smith case in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015, Canadians have been allowed to possess cannabis in any of its forms for their medical situation. But until edibles and extracts are legal in October, they have nowhere to acquire them other than in the underground market unless they grow their own weed. “Many of them, obviously, can’t make it themselves,” Conroy said. “They’re seriously ill with serious issues.” Moreover, he suggested that the regulation on edibles and extracts won’t meet the legal standard established in the Owen Smith ruling.

So the government is once again failing to prevent the violation of the constitutional rights of medically approved patients. – John Conroy

“So there may—in fact, probably will be—an independent case before October 18 that might be filed in Federal Court on that issue,” Conroy said. The federal government is already aware of Conroy’s concerns because he laid them out in an 18-page submission following the unveiling of the regulation for cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals. “While the risks may be unique, they surely are not greater than alcohol, tobacco, natural health-care products and prescribed drugs, yet those products do not appear to require anywhere near the same restrictions despite their well-known public health and safety risks,” Conroy wrote. “Further, if the objective is to eliminate the underground market, this objective will not succeed if you propose to unreasonably limit the existing market products through continued prohibition.” In the submission, Conroy demanded to know the origin of the 10-milligram THC limit. “While such packages with such low limits should be available for novice and intermittent users to enable them to ‘go slow’,” he stated, “these provisions fail to take into account the requirements of an experienced user, and in particular an experienced chronic user, such as a regular medically approved patient.” Conroy is also planning a second legal challenge in Federal Court to seek a declaration that medical dispensaries—including compassion clubs—should be permitted because they provide “reasonable access” for patients. If this succeeds, he anticipates that growers who have been blocked from obtaining federal producers’ licences might then be permitted to sell cannabis for medical purposes to compassion clubs. g John Conroy will speak at the International Cannabis Business Conference, which takes place on September 15 and 16 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

6 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019


NEWS Chinese scribe shares democracy tale

A

by Charlie Smith

journalist and author from Guangzhou, China, delivered an emotional and insightful presentation on democracy at the recent TaiwanFest in Vancouver. Alison Zhao, a master’s student at Georgetown University, said she was in Taipei as an exchange student when a Taiwanese presidential election was held in 2012. It pitted the then incumbent, Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang, against challenger Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party. The DPP was holding a massive rally in front of the presidential palace, where one of its officials encouraged the crowd to chant for Ma to step down. “I know there are speeches, rallies, criticisms,” Zhao said. “But I never thought you can really, like, shout that the incumbent president should step down in front of the presidential building.” Zhao revealed that she was not amazed. She didn’t admire what she saw. Rather, she was filled with fear because she expected that the crowd was going to rush into the presidential building and occupy it. And she was in the front row after being invited to attend the event. Zhao said that growing up in an authoritarian state, she learned that if people get excited and very critical about an issue in a democracy, it can lead to chaos. “So I was afraid and frightened at that moment because I thought it’s going to be chaos,” she disclosed. “It’s going to be occupation. It’s going to be riots. It’s going to be bloodshed.” But that didn’t happen. The next speaker said his piece, eventually the rally ended, and everyone went home.

Alison Zhao told a TaiwanFest audience that with votes, there’s no need for riots.

Zhao said she reflected on what had happened over the next few days because she found the event to be so

I thought it’s going to be chaos. It’s going to be occupation. It’s going to be riots. – Alison Zhao

puzzling. Then it dawned upon her that if people are allowed to vote against an incumbent president,

then why do they need to shed blood? Why do they need to riot? She pointed out that the people of Hong Kong are fighting for their requests, including universal suffrage, with blood, pain, and violence. “Why?” she asked. “Maybe they are not as lucky as the Taiwanese people that have votes.” Then Zhao declared that if she were asked why democracy is important, she would respond that it’s because with votes, there’s no need for bloodshed. “You don’t need to have riots,” she added. “Every time you just want to get your request passed and get your voice heard, you don’t need to [riot] because you have votes.” She told the audience that as a child, she had exposure to the Hong Kong media because TV signals reached Guangzhou, which is not far away in southern China. “The Hong Kong media loved to report on Taiwan’s presidential election,” Zhao said in an earlier phone interview with the Straight. “So I got the whole idea of democratic elections before I even knew the difference between Hong Kong and China and Taiwan. “I thought I was in a democratic system when I was super young,” she continued. “And I thought, like, freedom of speech or politics or elections is just normal things.” Zhao said she only realized that she was living in an “authoritarian state” when she went to college in China. She applied to go to Georgetown while visiting Taiwan on a fellowship several years later. “I’m not planning to immigrate to the U.S. or Canada or anywhere else,” Zhao emphasized. “I’m actually going back to China after my graduation.” g

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HOROSCOPES

F

by Rose Marcus

ive planets in Virgo continue to make for a busy go. Saturn’s contributions (trine to Mercury on Thursday, to the sun on Friday, and Mars on Sunday) set a productive backdrop for choosing, doing, and maintaining good control. Reward yourself Friday night. Whether that means quiet and cozy, going out, or spending on yourself, satisfaction is on the ready dial-up. Aim for a productive one or rest up; the weekend will be put to good use. Extending from Friday through Sunday, Jupiter and Pluto set a backdrop for getting better in touch with what’s now and what’s next. (The future is the main attraction.) Both planets draw attention to the fact that there’s more to be explored, to be gained, and to be put into play. Sunday through Tuesday, the sun is on a creative spurt with Jupiter and Neptune. What it instigates is a major shift of tides. What it leads to next is uncertain, but that’s no reason to sit out the wave. Life holds no guarantee, but it does hold potential. What is on the build-up is infused with greater-than-average life force. Jupiter/Neptune, a blurred-lines transit, has kept the fragility of circumstances going strong since the beginning of the year. It has continued to take us by stealth in multifaceted ways. It is a signature for the widespread loss and human suffering that continue to be so prevalent. The positive application of this transit is that of a clarion call directed toward saving what’s worth saving (i.e., freedom, rights, the planet, our future) and transcending that which can do us harm (i.e., shortsightedness and hatred in all its forms). We stand poised at the start of so much more to come. Our work has just begun.

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to learn, and to try. Despite the extra work involved or a long to-do list, you should feel you are gaining a better handle on it. Saturn helps you to gain something substantial for your time and effort. Friday through Monday, the going is good. Tuesday onward, go by feel and guard health. Stay alert: something more is on brew.

F

VIRGO

G

LIBRA

H

SCORPIO

August 23–September 23

With five planets in Virgo to boost you, you probably don’t need to load up on the caffeine or energy drinks! Incentive is in ample supply. Sharpened instincts and good timing are on your side, especially through Sunday. It won’t take much to get yourself up and running. The going and the getting can go smoother and easier than you anticipate. September 23–October 23

Spend the time to get yourself better sorted out. Once you have the schedule down or the prep worked out, the rest will fall into place quite naturally. By Sunday, you should feel you have accomplished or surpassed plenty. Monday to Wednesday, there’s something fresh to try or to address. Keep open-ended and pay close attention to intuition and first impressions. October 23–November 22

Emails, errands, and catch-up work can keep you especially busy. Even so, with Saturn in the mix and operating at optimum, you should find that you manage quite well, that most activities, conversations, and intentions hit a smooth and straightforward run. With Pluto also in the mix, you’ll ARIES have a great knack for taking full March 20–April 20 advantage of the opportunities at The stars continue to keep hand. you busy. Even so, you’ll keep a good SAGITTARIUS handle on decision-making and exeNovember 22–December 21 cution. Saturn in good shape with Thursday through Sunday, Mercury, sun, and Mars keeps you well-spoken, well planned, and tim- the stars keep you on the move, ing it right. Pluto sharpens your going full swing and, for the most radar and enriches the experience. part, hitting a good groove. MonNeptune’s influence stimulates in- day through Wednesday, somespiration, creativity, and flow. Sunday thing fresh or new claims you. You could produce a big shift. Monday could hit a great creative or romantic spurt. On the other hand, as the onward, stay open-ended. week wears on, a full moon builds. TAURUS Don’t ignore hints, clues, or inkApril 20–May 21 lings. Safeguard your health. Want to make an improveCAPRICORN ment or an impact? Set your intenDecember 21–January 20 tion and go! A dynamic lineup of Aiming to get it under betVirgo and Earth planets gives you something tangible to work on and ter control? Saturn, your ruler, forms toward. Even the smallest under- a great working relationship to the taking can set you up for significant dynamic group of Virgo planets gain. If you falter or fumble, just through Sunday. Take full advandust yourself off and go again. tage of time and opportunity while Moments of depletion or confusion the getting is good. Get it in writing. Tuesday onward, what’s meant to be will prove fleeting. will reveal itself; what isn’t will disGEMINI integrate or disappear.

I

B

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May 21–June 21

It’s clear-your-clutter time! While Virgo stars dominate the play, an elimination process is the best way to get a fix on what is most worthy or lucrative. Family and home-related matters can keep you especially busy, but you should find that most things follow a natural progression and that you can sort out what’s necessary in a relatively straightforward manner, especially through Monday.

D

CANCER

June 21–July 22

Don’t give up; keep going. Keep in research mode; give benefit of the doubt. Feel it out; talk it out more. Come clean and get it off your chest; take the discussion further. Seek the advice of a specialist, sign up for additional training, or look for a better job. Effort directed to improving your health and toward positive thinking also does you plenty good.

E

LEO

July 22–August 23

There’s more to do, to out,

K

AQUARIUS

L

PISCES

January 20–February 18

So far, so good. All things considered, by the end of the weekend you should feel that you have done good/done right and that you have something more substantial to work with. Monday onward could get you going on something unexpected. It is easy to get carried away. Stay hopeful, stay inspired, but don’t bank on a promise. February 18–March 20

No doubt you have been on a busy roll! In review, you could be surprised at how much you have faced and accomplished. Monday through Wednesday, the stars steer you onto something fresh and/ or unplanned. Let intuition—not fear—be your guide. Next Thursday/ Friday, the Pisces full moon dishes up the unexpected. g

Book a reading or sign up for Rose’s free monthly newsletter at rosemarcus.com/.


DRINK Local wine events rev up in September

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: SEPTEMBER 2, 2019 WHERE: West Georgia & Burrard #357 Bus. Labor Day We sat together when you got on from Park Royal. I was coming from the Sunshine Coast, we chatted about the PNE, you were thinking about going to the beach with friends. You're stunning and nice !! I wanted to give you my card with my number but didn't have time as my stop was here... Where was I going and earlier that day you dropped your sister off, she was going where ??

GORGEOUS BLONDE WOMAN WITH LONSDALE ASIAN RESTAURANT TIPS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 WHERE: 1400 Block Lonsdale, North Vancouver You stopped at the Thai restaurant on Lonsdale when you saw me trying to decide whether to dine there. You were kind enough to give me a good report of their Pad Thai and to rell me what you thought about the Malaysian Restaurant across the street. I feel privileged to have met you albeit so briefly. I was struck by both your charming manner and your beauty. Would you like meet again’please and this time I’ll promise not to be so shy?

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every bite. While the menu is available for walk-in guests, it is limited each evening and reservations are recommended. (Visit wildebeest.ca./) Finally, for those with an instinct to hit the books this time of year and elevate their wine knowledge, the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (1505 West 2nd Avenue) is offering the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses for the Level 1 award in wines, as either a one-day intensive

ONE PER DINING EXPERIENCE

ot only is September one of my favourite months of the year in Vancouver—for the weather and days still on the longish side—but it’s also the month when local wine events really start revving up. Those wanting to get a jump on things just after this edition of the Straight hits the streets will want to visit Marquis Wine Cellars (1034 Davie Street) this Thursday (September 5) at 5:30 p.m. That’s when winemaker Ross Wise from Oliver’s Black Hills Estate Winery will be on hand, pouring samples of the fresh 2017 vintage of the winery’s iconic Nota Bene Bordeaux-inspired red blend alongside the 2016 edition, so attendees can compare recent vintages. The 2017 version is an opulent blend of 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 41 percent Merlot, and 14 percent Cabernet Franc that spent 18 months in 30-percent-new French oak, and it is likely to be as coveted as each edition has been since the inaugural 1999 vintage. Although that tasting is certainly worth the (free!) admission alone, Wise will also be pouring an armload of their latest releases, including 2018 Viognier, 2018 Alibi, 2018 rosé, and 2016 Syrah. (Pop over to www. marquis-wines.com/ to RSVP.) Tuesday (September 10) sees Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards proprietor David Goudge holding court at Provence Marinaside (1177 Marinaside Crescent) for a five-course dinner by Provence chef/co-owner Jean-Francis Quaglia. The main wines of Sea Star, composed of fruit grown on Saturna and Pender islands, are breezy, aromatic odes to the West Coast. From the Sea Star 2018 Ortega’s grapefruit and jasmine notes washing down Fanny Bay oysters at the reception to the course pairing Goudge’s 2018 Blanc de Noir sparkling with Quaglia’s spiced-lamb-stuffed heirloom tomato and beyond, there will be no sign whatsoever of summer ending anytime soon. The whole feast, including the wine pairings assembled by wine director Joshua Carlson, is $155 (with tickets available at www.provencemarinaside.ca/). On September 29, the crew from Mount Pleasant’s Tocador (2610 Main Street) are putting together a naturalwine pairing dinner. I highly recommend nabbing your spots before they realize that five courses paired with five four-ounce wine pours from a quintet of well-lauded Old World wineries for $109 all-in is pretty much giving it away. They’re keeping their pairings for the evening close to their chest, but with wines from luminaries like Italy’s Elisabetta Foradori, Austria’s Claus Preisinger, and Laurence and Rémi Dufaitre out of Beaujolais—at the Cuba-inspired hot spot known for dishes like caramelized pork cheeks with citrusand-cayenne caramel—you really can’t go wrong. (Tickets are at www. tocador.ca/). Of course, another great thing about this time of year is it being harvest season, when farmers markets and local restaurants are filled to the brim with our local bounty. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Ian McHale, executive chef at Wildebeest (120 West Hastings Street). To celebrate the season, a five-course family-style Farmer’s Harvest Tasting Menu is being offered from September 5 through 19 for $60 per head, with optional wine pairings throughout by wine director Christina Hartigan for an additional $32. Think fodder such as Charentais melon with guanciale, hay-toasted water-buffalo ricotta, hazelnuts, and sweet cicely, with a refreshing glass of the Okanagan Valley’s Rigour & Whimsy’s Pinot Blanc 2017 echoing those melon notes. Also offered: sweet-corn agnolotti in corn-husk velouté with blackened sweet corn, etorki cheese, and paprika complemented by a Laventura Viura 2017 from Rioja to liven the palate after

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 27, 2019 WHERE: Hillcrest Community Centre At a community centre event, I worked on your portable CD player. You showed me the book you were reading, talked about lining up to buy Billy Idol tickets, travelling to Winnipeg, and somehow brought up the Fisher Price video camera. I looked for you afterwards, but you had left. I’d like to chat with you some more; we covered a lot of ground! And I want to find out...did the radio still work?!!

KITS BEACH DRESSED IN BLACK

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 29, 2019 WHERE: Kits Beach You, gorgeous asian dressed in black tights and black top, walking along the beach path in front of the boathouse restaurant at kits and stopped at the drinking fountain, i was sitting at bench waiting for my friend, we had some nice eye contact. Hope you see this

DIRTBIKE HANGING OFF YOUR TAILGATE ON POWELL STREET

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 29, 2019 WHERE: Powell Street near Clark Drive 11:30am Red Honda Dirtbike hanging off rearend of small Pickup Truck along Powell Street near Clark. I was riding a black with orange tank offroad bike the other way with a guitar on my back. We looked at each other as we passed and that’s when I saw your flowing hair & bike hanging from your tailgate.

BABY LEO BY TROUT LAKE!

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 25, 2019 WHERE: Marshall street yard sale Me: helping my friend sell his stuff at a yard sale, holding an adorable baby. You: 3 lovely people plus an adorable baby of your own. After you left with your purchases I wished I’d gotten your number! Let me know if you want an extra baby/mama friend to visit at the park :)

SAVE ON FOODS NORTH VAN

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FERRY FROM VICTORIA

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 25, 2019 WHERE: Ferry/bus/skytrain I saw you at the ferry terminal, on the ferry, on the bus and then we rode the same skytrain carriage back to Vancouver. You got off at Olympic Village. I don’t think I’ve been so stunned to the point of feeling awkward even looking in someone’s direction. You have striking features and are utterly beautiful. Dress remarkably well, too.

PLATFORM 7 FEELS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: JULY 3, 2019 WHERE: Platform 7

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Early July. You J me L. You came into the coffee shop on Hastings and Nanaimo with your young, blond toddler. We made eye contact and you shyly waved goodbye as you left. I met you again, minutes later, at the grocery store across the street and laughed nervously. We made small talk in the lineup about swimming at Templeton pool. You said you hoped to see me again but our paths haven’t crossed since and I’m impatient. I don’t know what your situation is but I want to tell you anyway that I feel something nice when I reflect on our encounter, and I’m not afraid of single dads if you are one.

NEW “CANE-FRIEND”

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 24, 2019 WHERE: On The Drive On Commercial, good food, a few drinks, absolutely captivating conversation...

CUTIE RIDING THE ALL-CITY

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 24, 2019 WHERE: Save on foods, Marine Drive, North Vancouver

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 19, 2019 WHERE: 10th Avenue

I can't believe I am actually posting this. Yet here I am ... If you remember going for the baskets, trying to chat in line and our actual conversation a few minutes later hit me up. I'd love to connect. S.

I caught up to you at Fraser, you caught up to me at Kingsway and flashed me a big smile. I was in pink, you in all black. Wanted to say something but we got separated at the next light. Want to go for a ride some time?

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Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 9


September eptember 113—29, 2019 FEATURING NG SPAIN’S

MANUEL MA ANUEL LIÑÁN UPCOMING VMO 2019/20 SEASON OPENING CONCERT Sun Sep 15, 2:00pm

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Presented by the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra Maestro Ken Hsieh, pianist Henri-Paul Sicsic, and composer-in-residence Trevor Hoffman join for a celebratory program.

ENCHANTED MUSIC OF GRACE JONG EUN LEE Sat Sep 21, 3:00pm

Presented by the Canada Korea Cultural Exchange Entertainment Society The 22nd anniversary of the music of acclaimed composer and kayagum virtuoso Grace Jong Eun Lee.

MARGARET ATWOOD IN CONVERSATION Thu Sep 26, 7:30pm

Presented by the Vancouver Writers Fest Bestselling Canadian author Margaret Atwood discusses her forthcoming title, The Testaments. SOLD OUT.

ROSANNE CASH

Sat Sep 28, 8:00pm Presented by the Chan Centre Beloved singer-songwriter and roots icon Rosanne Cash kicks off the 2019/20 Chan Centre Presents series with songs from her latest album, She Remembers Everything.

UBC SYMPHONIC WIND ENSEMBLE AND CONCERT WINDS Fri Oct 4, 7:30pm

Presented by the UBC School of Music The talented UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble perform a program of varied repertoire for wind and percussion.

MARI BOINE

Sat Oct 5, 8:00pm Presented by the Chan Centre Indigenous Sámi vocalist Mari Boine draws influence for her trailblazing music from Norwegian folksong, sounds of the natural world, and shamanic beats.

DAKHABRAKHA

Sat Oct 19, 8:00pm Presented by the Chan Centre Ukrainian band DakhaBakha performs their distinct blend of “ethno chaos”, combining rural folk music and worldly percussion with energetic grooves.

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10 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019

FOR TICKETS & INFORMATION: VANCOUVERFLAMENCOFESTIVAL.ORG OR CALL: 604.428.2990


fringe fest

Mixed-heritage artists find their place

Whether using comedy, clowning, or poetry, Fringe stars question identity and the drive to belong by Janet Smith

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Left to right, Emily Jane King, Lili Robinson, and Alisha Davidson play with interracial ideas in Mx (photo by Christache Ross); and Nyla Carpentier balances both sides of herself in Dissection of a...Mixed Heritage Woman.

ixed-race identity is so complex we often try to quantify it, reducing it to simple fractions. Actor-playwright Monica Ogden talks about it in her Monica vs. the Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior, one of a wave of bold and often funny shows that tackle the subject at this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. People usually push the Filipino Canadian, who also has Polynesian and British ancestry, to define her identity in terms of quarters and halves. “I really tear apart that system,” she explains to the Straight from her home in Victoria, before bringing her solo production here. “For mixed-race people, it’s really wholes of our identity. A lot of people also assume you’re European and ‘other’.” Three artists at this year’s fest untangle that complexity and the feeling of being “in between”. And not surprisingly, when the topic’s mixed heritage, they’re combining a range of forms to do it—from storytelling to clowning, comedy, video, and poetry. Along the way, they’ve found a space to finally call their own. As Lili Robinson says of her play Mx: “When I started writing this show, I felt very uncertain what community I belong to. I was not sure where I fit in.” Biracial and light-skinned, she was raised in a white Vancouver family with no contact with her African-American father’s side. She describes viewing her own blackness at a distance until her late teens. That’s when news reports about police shootings of unarmed black men in the U.S. sparked a desire to stand up and reclaim that part of her identity. Graduating from the theatre program at Studio 58 last spring, Robinson had already been questioning what it meant to be a performer and a person of colour. At the same time, she was trying to find a place in the queer community as a person who identifies as bisexual. “So I was feeling a bit in-between, and at the start of writing about that, I felt very anxious,” says the actor-playwright, who gained extra motivation by earning the Fringe New Play Prize last year. “Working through things, writing has always been how I process emotions. I feel a lot more confident

coming out of this. I am what I am.” Mx, which plays at the Revue Stage, is a three-person show featuring Mz. Nancy, a character that draws on bouffon-style clowning and the half-spider, half-human Anansi figure from African folklore. The story centres on Max, “a young gender-questioning mixed-race person searching for their identity”, Robinson says. “And then there’s this third character, Samantha, who is sort of an opposing force to that.” The use of humour and folklore allows Robinson to tackle some dark subject matter, such as slavery, and dig into pressing personal questions—like how much ancestry plays into identity when a person’s upbringing didn’t embrace one of the cultures in her bloodline. “Clowning allows me to be able to directly speak to this dynamic of being observed as a person of colour onstage,” she adds. “We’re seeing more and more diversity on-stage in Vancouver, but the tricky thing is speaking to the dynamic in the room—which is the reality that the audience is mostly white and will have preconceptions of what’s happening on-stage. For me, the clown was a way to speak to that in every moment. I see you seeing me and we’re in direct contact.” Building Mx, Robinson has brought together a team with a strong contingent of African-Canadian women (including Ontario director Donna-Michelle St. Bernard) and LGBT artists. And in so doing, she’s finally found the right fit. “You create community by creating a show,” she says. “It’s rewarding finding other people at those intersections. Because of politics right now, it’s very polarized, and it’s important to ask ‘Is there a middle ground that can be found?’ ” FOR THEATRE ARTIST Nyla Carpentier, the big moment when she started questioning where she belonged came 10 years ago, at a surreal audition for a part in the Wolf Pack in the Twilight fi lm series. At the cattle call, “some were Indigenous, some were like me, some were trying to look like what they think an Indigenous person is, all in this massive line,” recalls Carpentier, who traces her heritage back to Tahltan First Nation, Kaska First Nation,

Monica Ogden’s Monica vs. the Internet is based on racism she saw as a YouTuber.

In the show I address head-on the things I’ve been asked about my heritage.” – Nyla Carpentier

France, and Scotland, speaking to the Straight over the phone from her Vancouver home. “I had all these thoughts. I was wearing my gothic, long red coat and this reporter who was covering it came over and said, ‘You could be one of the vampires.’ ” That spurred Carpentier to start writing what would eventually be Dissection of a…Mixed Heritage Woman, which hits the Revue Stage at this year’s Fringe. And it led her to look back on her life as a mixed-race Indigenous person and see where she started feeling out of place. She recalls early happy years, living in Ottawa and taking part in powwows as a dancer from the time she was just two years old. Things changed when she went to a predominantly white elementary school, where kids sometimes struggled to understand just who or what she was. “I did my fi rst powwow show at school when I was in Grade 6 at French-immersion class in Ottawa,

and I remember being asked if I was a ‘real Indian’,” she recalls. “In the show I address head-on the things I’ve been asked about my heritage. One section that’s survived the last 10 years of rewrites is the things people used to ask me—things they would say in my 20s that they’d never say today. And the way I would try to make a joke about it, trying to make it funny.” In her show, Carpentier takes a hard look at labels she’s struggled with over the years—loaded words like status, half-breed, full-blood, and Métis. Along the way, the artist ends up blending different performance styles from her background. There are elements of formal theatre, which she studied at Studio 58 before switching to Full Circle: First Nations Performance about a decade ago. “Full Circle was less about fitting in a box of what a traditional actor should be,” she says. “It was more freedom to work with who I was.” The solo play also integrates Indigenous practices and ceremony, poetry, and song. “I’m using all the things I learned on this journey,” Carpentier says. “It’s not about me fitting in now, but about finding space so others of mixed heritage can actually take centre stage too.” WHEN OGDEN LAUNCHED a web video series called “Fistful of Feminism”, it was to carve out her own identity online. “I started making YouTube videos because there wasn’t a place for me as a mixed-race Asian person,” says the gender-studies grad, speaking to

the Straight from Victoria. “And then I found there wasn’t any place for me on the Internet.” What Ogden wasn’t prepared for was the hate spewed at her by online trolls. Ogden has taken those racist slurs, which her channel still attracts, and turned them into theatre. The result is Monica vs. the Internet, a solo show that mixes storytelling, video elements, and comedy. “The inception was to take real Internet comments and make a show about them,” she says. “There were just ridiculous racist comments, and part of it is to let me prove to you that white supremacy is still an issue. People still believe that it doesn’t exist. This is an assertion of ‘Yes it does.’ ” One putdown a hater threw at her, as viewers will see in her show, was to call Ogden a “discount albino Margaret Cho”. “I thought, ‘Wow, they went out of their way to hurt me but they have flattered me!’ ” Ogden says with a laugh. But the candid monologue— which plays the Nest venue, and won a Pick of the Fringe: Bravest Show award at the Victoria Fringe Festival in 2017—is just as much about Ogden’s own identity search and the women in her family who have faced their battles with racism and kept her strong. “The heart is really about my mom and my lilang,” she says, using the Ilocano word for “grandma”. “I bring my history back to my grandma’s immigration. All the answers are in our ancestors. It isn’t just about me, it’s about my mom, my lilang, and me, and intergenerational trauma.” Though Ogden, like Robinson and Carpentier, navigates some sensitive subject matter in her exploration of what it means to be of mixed race in Canada today, she, too, fi nds the humour in it. “My comedy and laughter can’t be separated from my performance, just like my Filipino-ness cannot be separated from my Polynesian-ness and British-ness,” she says, laughing. “Oh my gosh, it’s the only way to do a show like this!” g The Vancouver Fringe Festival runs at venues on Granville Island and around town from Thursday (September 5) to September 15.

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 11


Waterfront Theatre

What Lab

Waterfront Theatre

9 5 - 15

Every show at the Fringe Festival is selected by lottery or on a first come, first served basis. Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect at this year’s Festival. For a full list of dates and times, pick up a program guide at Blenz Coffee locations or at VancouverFringe.com! Tickets for these, and all shows in the Festival, are available at VancouverFringe.com.

d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Friendly

The Cultch Historic

Red

God Machine

Blake Valletta Vancouver, Canada Playwright: John Logan

Play Together Productions Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Tyler Bielman

Under the gaze of his young assistant Ken, Mark Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: a series of murals for New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Play, Red is a raw and provocative portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

What if you could have all the answers? What questions would you ask? A politically incorrect, philosophical journey into an afterlife where two characters learn everything they ever wanted to know. And some things they only *thought* they wanted to know.

Intense / In Your Face / Intellectual / 14+ / Coarse Language

Waterfront Theatre

Crazy For Dick Tricks: A Dirk Darrow Investigation Tim Motley North Adelaide, Australia Playwright: Tim Motley dirkdarrow.com

Help everyone’s favourite psychic detective solve a murder in a 1930s asylum as he interrogates the hilarious and colourful new characters trapped inside. All new from Tim Motley... Winner of 12 Fringe Festival Awards! “Incredible.” —Edmonton Journal Magic / Funny / Intellectual / 14+ / Coarse Language

My Name is SUMIKO

Pieces of Eight

Life & Depth Gibsons, Canada Playwright: Aaron Malkin aaronmalkin.com

New(to)Town Collective Vancouver, Canada Playwright: June Fukumura newtotowncollective.com/sumiko

Publius Productions Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Nathan Narusis PubliusProductions.com

With jaw-dropping physicality, spot-on comedic timing, and live science experiments, Malkin dives into the boundless imagination of his five-year-old child.

June Fukumura is a JapaneseCanadian theatre maker based in Vancouver. By day she is a polite, well-mannered theatre artist and by night she is her dark humoured, hyper kawaii, raunchy clown alterMalkin is a Canadian Comedy ego, Sumiko. Sumiko dices, slices, Award winner, Off Broadway and blends up Japanese stereotypes performer, and 20-time Best-of-Fest and serves up a zany, East-meetswinner for his British Comedies in West comedy about life, death, the popular comedy duo James & and love. Jamesy.

Housing costs or commuting blues got you down? Can Vancouverites team up to make our own solution? Romulus thought so and his friends rallied behind him. But can eight singles buy a 5,000 sq. ft. Kitsilano house without losing their sanity? And will the Mayor stop them before they find out? Don’t give up on Vancouver before seeing Pieces of Eight.

for 2 for Tea —CBC & Winnipeg Free Press

Low Vision Friendly

The Cultch Lab

Dandelion

Funny / Weird / Intellectual / 18+ / Coarse Language / Sexual Content

Revue Stage

Funny / Warm and Fuzzy / Intimate / All Ages

The Cultch Historic

Ludwig and The Hammerklavier Boondogglers Theater Co. Everett, USA Playwright: James W. Jordan boondogglerstheater.com

Told through family and personal stories, dance, and song, one woman tries to find who she is and where her mixed heritage is pulling her. Unravelling and weaving together experiences to find how to fit within society and not set it on fire. Warm and Fuzzy / Tear-Jerker / Poetic / Multicultural / 14+ / Coarse Language

12 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019

The Cultch Lab

Guards at the Taj SACHA (Vancouver) Burnaby, Canada Playwright: Rajiv Joseph

A flourishing empire, an architectural marvel, one of the 1818! Join the cranky-but-friendly, cruelest acts in (perhaps fabricated) history, intense drama, and at the idealistic-but-... tired?... Beethoven centre of it all... a weird bromance? in his flat for drinks, a chat, and some piano. In a “raptus,” he takes Adele Noronha and Andeep Kalirai measure of his life by scribbling star in playwright Rajiv Joseph’s measures for a new sonata, sharply written story of two the Hammerklavier—a work Imperial Guards who stand on duty (celebrating its bicentennial) that at the famed Taj Mahal in India in pulls him from a rut and heralds 1648. his “Late Period” (and his final years...).

Funny / Intellectual / Intimate / All Ages / Coarse Language

Revue Stage

Dissection of a Indian The Russian Play Aboriginal First Nation Lovecat Theatre Vancouver, Canada Indigenous Native Playwright: Hannah Moscovitch Full-Blood Status Love is beautiful. Girl meets Boy. Non-Status Halfbreed Boy digs graves. Girl sells flowers. Métis Rez Urban Mixed Love is shit. Heritage Woman “…Heart is very strong organ. You Nyla Carpentier North Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Nyla Carpentier

Funny / Weird / Naughty / Multicultural / 18+ / Coarse Language / Violent Content / Sexual Content

can rip it out and put it back in again and it still work okay. So what is big problem?”

“It’s the rarest of all theatrical experiments: a clever satire with a beating heart.” —Kamal Al-Solaylee, The Globe and Mail

Funny / Poetic / Intimate / 14+ / Coarse Language / Sexual Content

Weird / Intense / Poetic / Multicultural / 14+ / Coarse Language / Violent Content

False Creek Gym

Fabrizio and Cabriolet In: Water, Dirt, Breeze, Fire! Duo Doppio Portland, USA Playwrights: Summer Olsson & Ari Rapkin

Their accents are from somewhere in Europe. Their clothes are from somewhere in the ‘70s. Their follies are universal. In this hilarious show, full of physical comedy and idiotic foibles, two egotistical vaudevillians—Fabrizio and Cabriolet—try to pull off a spectacular homage to the four elements.

Funny / Silly / Weird / All Ages / Smoke / Fog

Funny / Intense / Intellectual / 18+ / Coarse Language / Sexual Content

Arts Umbrella

The Devil’s Daughter: a story of an almost murder Crooked Teeth Theatre Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Melody Owen crookedteeththeatre.com

If you knew the Devil, would you kill him? The true story of a young girl’s journey from mischievous imp to rebellious teenager to the Devil’s daughter and an almost murderer. Farm life is isolating but the farm animals are a great audience for young Melody’s misadventures and heartbreaks. When the adults in your life are dangerous, how does one survive? Intense / Tear-Jerker / Intimate / 14+ / Coarse Language / Violent Content / Sexual Content

What Lab

tadpole.: the last episode THEATRECORPS. Richmond, Canada Playwright: Eddy van Wyk theatrecorps.ca

A prophet in the hospital. A psycho in the village. The Age of the Medicated. What’s going on? Is stigma blinding us? Are we sick? Is this part of the evolution of consciousness? Is this a dramatic collective nervous breakdown? Meds, drugs, doctors, healers, remission, recovery, numbing, awakening, and sensation...

Intense / Poetic / Intimate / Multicultural / 18+ / Coarse Language / Nudity


FRINGE FEST

Artists brave the spotlight solo at Fringe

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t takes guts to step into the spotlight alone and bare your soul. But done right, solo shows are some of the most rewarding, unforgettable, and intimate experiences you’ll have at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. The Straight talked to a few of the brave performers going it alone to make you laugh, cry, and connect in the dark at this year’s fest. Here are their stories. AFTER THE BEEP

Pamela Bethel

After the Beep’s Pamela Bethel shares tapes of her teen self; Kazu Kusano’s Pretty Beast copes via laughter.

Bethel manoeuvre through a big shift in her adult life: becoming a parent. “I think that’s why I went back to the material,” she reflects. “That weird transition state [parenthood] is very similar to being an adolescent. The idea that we only mature once is so misguided.” Reviewing the tapes and writing her show, which projects surtitles when the messages are too scratchy to hear, she also got new insights into the way technology affects our lives. She was amazed at how much information her friends and family could fit into the 30-second time limit of her old answering machine. “The message machine was like early social media,” she observes. “All my friends knew I had my own and it was very uncensored.” Rejection, heartbreak, high-education anxiety, and more play out on the cassettes. And Bethel doesn’t hold back on the more embarrassing moments—including a tape where an old boyfriend is a little too affectionate. “I still blush every time I do the show and I still feel it—like I’m blushing right now just talking about it!” she says. There’s also an outgoing message where she does her own customized version of “Stayin’ Alive”—“Stayin’ on the Phone”. As she puts it: “Now that the seal is broken on this stuff, I love the cringe-y stuff!”

PRETTY BEAST Kazu Kusano

by Mike Usinger

DIDN’T HURT

Rodney DeCroo

d RODNEY DeCROO KNOWS that Didn’t Hurt is not for everyone. Having performed it some 40 times now—at festivals in Orlando, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and

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DJ Shanique

Buckman Coe

d MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH has always come easy for Kazu Kusano, which wasn’t always appreciated in her home country, Japan. Reflecting on her childhood, the comedian, actor, and playwright remembers her sense of humour making her popular with her friends, but not with tradition-bound authority figures, including her teachers. Being funny wasn’t considered a job for a girl. “I was the class clown as a kid—everyone would say ‘She’s the funniest kid in school,’” Kusano says, on the line from her adopted home of Los Angeles. “But I’d also get people going ‘She’s so weird.’ And ‘Shut up, you’re a girl.’ That’s one of the first things that I experienced as a kid.” Today, the multiple threat is still making people laugh, something she’s done professionally since moving to America and then launching a standup career. But that’s not the only goal of her one-woman show Pretty Beast, in which she pulls back the curtain on a childhood that was decidedly less than charmed. “I want to make people think and feel as well as laugh,” she says. Pretty Beast gets dark, at times. The comedian was raised by an abusive mother who suffered by Janet Smith from schizophrenia, and an alcoholic father

Rae Spoon

d MOST OF US can look back at our awkward teenage selves through photographs, but few are able to actually listen to themselves and their friends navigate that most painful and embarrassing period. Playwright and theatre artist Pamela Bethel was able to do just that, thanks to analogue answering-machine recordings (remember those?) she kept on tape. Yes, in the 1990s, the generally unsupervised Bethel had been granted a then almost unheard-of luxury: her own phone line, “mostly because my dad was on the phone all the time and didn’t want to share it with me”, she reveals to the Straight with a laugh, speaking from Victoria, where she lives. And as time went on, she just stopped erasing them, storing them as she moved around in her life. “It’s like you have your old diary but can’t quite face it,” says Bethel, who grew up in Vancouver. “I had been simultaneously saving them and avoiding them.” In the new solo show After the Beep, she presses Play, integrating the tapes—most of the time in stories told through other people who left messages, though her own, young voice does appear on outgoing greetings over the years. “It’s a bit more of a forced document—there were a few things I misremembered and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of different than what I thought,’ ” says Bethel, who calls After the Beep a “memorabilia play” rather than a “memory play”. Reexperiencing herself navigating the life changes between grades 9 and 12 also helped

whose job in the shipping industry required him to be away for long stretches. Today she realizes there was a reason she began playing the role of comedian at an early age. Part of it was looking for a sense of acceptance that she was not getting at home. But there was also something more. “When I was out I made people laugh—it was almost like having a different life,” she says. “Then I’d go home, and things would be really bad. So making people laugh was a form of escape. But even though I’m still polishing my show, the process has made me realize that it wasn’t only about escape. It was also that I felt powerful when I was funny.” That eventually helped her cope with her home life. “My mom did horrible things to me and my siblings,” Kusano recounts. “Right after bad things would happen we’d start making fun of it. That’s how we got through the misery.” Kusano began working on Pretty Beast right around the time she began doing standup a decade ago. “My goal was to create a good show that touches people so maybe people cry,” Kusano says. “But right after they cry I want to make them laugh. Because that’s what I did when I was a kid.” And if, between the laughs, Pretty Beast gets heavy, that’s exactly what she’s after. “Making this piece was really therapeutic for me, but I want the show to be therapeutic to my audience as well—not just to me,” Kusano says. “People come up after the show to talk about things that happened to them, and their trauma can be overwhelming. But that tells me that the show is really doing something. I’m still dealing with my childhood, but it’s really helping.”

Fringe Bar Free live music every night of the Festival!

Andrew Judah

9 Common People DJs

September 5-15, 2019

Sleepy Gonzales

Mohamed Assani

Alison Moen and Kilbirnie Station

Mon - Fri — 6:00pm till late Sat & Sun — 1:00pm till late Ocean Art Works 1531 Johnston Street Granville Island

And Many More! Robin Layne & the Rhythm Makers

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 13


fringe fest

Sweet soul and silliness head to Vancouver

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by Andrea Warner

e travelled to the Victoria Fringe Festival to check out some of the shows coming over here for Vancouver’s edition, which runs from Thursday (September 5) to September 15 at venues on Granville Island and around town. Here’s what we found, including a few all-out raves. JOSEPHINE This is one of the best Fringe shows I’ve ever seen. Cocreated by Tymisha Harris, Michael Marinaccio, and Tod Kimbro, this onewoman show stars Harris as the groundbreaking African-American entertainer Josephine Baker. Harris is a revelation: a powerful vocalist, an adept comedian, a beautiful dancer, and a thoroughly charming and engaging stage presence. This isn’t just a biographical show outlining Baker’s triumphs and hardships, plotting out highs and lows along a time line of her life. It delivers those details while managing to be both beautifully written and beautifully acted. Josephine and Harris capture Baker’s essence, giving voice to the rich interiors of Baker’s lived experiences as an AfricanAmerican woman surviving extreme racism, violence, and sexual exploitation, fighting segregation, cultivating joy and freedom by claiming agency over her body and her pleasure, and ultimately rising up on the frontlines of the civil-rights movement. Harris’s performance is smart, sexy, soulful, and inspiring. At the Cultch Historic Theatre on September 5 (7:15 p.m.), 7 (7:50 p.m.), 11 (5 p.m.), 12 (10 p.m.), 13 (6:45 p.m.), and 15 (12:30 p.m.) FOOL MUUN KOMMING! Sam Kru-

ger’s one-man show is like the human embodiment of an hourlong lightning storm: electric, vivid, dangerous, entertaining, and kind of exhausting. The general premise of the show is that an alien arrives, but does so inside a mass hallucination. And maybe the world is going to end—but maybe not? The real magic is Kruger. The elasticity of his body and his face, and the near-constant jerky movement of both, recall Steve Martin’s Jerk, Robin Williams’s

kind of confidence and artistry that usually only come with decades of experience on-stage. They bring their puppets to life with beautifully deliberate movements, and they’re often working in close collaboration with each other, a visual coding of the importance of community, which the play relies on during its final moments. As The Robber Bridegroom takes on darker and more twisted turns, the music and the staging heighten the tension and it’s genuinely horrifying to watch what unfolds. I won’t spoil the incredible climax, but I’m fascinated to see how different audiences affect the high-stakes ending. At the Waterfront Theatre on September 6 (5 p.m.), 8 (4 p.m.), 9 (8:50 p.m.), 10 (9 p.m.), 13 (8:30 p.m.), and 14 (2:30 p.m.) THE TROPHY HUNT Written by Trina

Josephine (with Tymisha Harris, left) and Fool Muun Komming! (with Sam Kruger) offer very different Fringe delights.

Mork, Jim Carrey’s Mask, and Andy Kaufman’s… well, Andy Kaufman, mixed with the Mummenschanz on fast-forward. This is all to say that it’s hard to know exactly what transpires in this show, but Kruger commits to creating a wild, weird world and does it with heart and humour. Kruger is also a deeply charming performer, and when all of the wackiness finally dies down for a very quiet and lovely last five minutes, it feels earned, not tacked on. At the Waterfront Theatre on September 7 (6:35 p.m.), 9 (10:35 p.m.), 10 (7:15 p.m.), 12 (5 p.m.), 14 (12:45 p.m.), and 15 (8 p.m.) DIAGNOSE THIS! TALES OF A MEDICAL ACTOR Donna Kay Yarborough

has been an improv comedian for 25 years and she’s a commanding presence. Taking audiences inside the American health-care system from such a specific perspective—her day job is playing patients for med students in Portland—is brilliant. Some of the jokes and wordplay in the first half of the show—“You’ll feel a little prick”—are too easy, but Yarborough has this Jane Lynch quality to

her delivery that makes them more tolerable. What’s infinitely more interesting is Yarborough’s observations about what she and other standardized patients really do: they teach the med students to “speak human again.” This is a show about compassion, humanity, and dignity, and how extreme capitalism is killing people. It’s a timely message for all of us, no matter what our field of practice, and Yarborough does a great job of pivoting from hilarious to heartfelt in the space of a few simple words. At the False Creek Gym on September 7 (1 p.m.), 8 (9:15 p.m.), 9 (8:45 p.m.), 12 (6:45 p.m.), 14 (5:35 p.m.), and 15 (2:45 p.m.) INGENUE: DEANNA DURBIN, JUDY GARLAND AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD Playwright and ac-

tor Melanie Gall’s operatic training and compelling voice help make her one-woman show a successful musical trip back in time to the 1930s and ’40s. According to Ingenue, Deanna Durbin was a huge star in Hollywood in the 1930s, but at the age of 27 she gave it all up to go live in relative anonymity in France. Gall’s research skills turn

up plenty of interesting biographical details about Durbin—affairs, pregnancies outside marriage, star power— and Gall smartly contextualizes the actor’s life by contrasting it with that of her purported frenemy, Judy Garland. Gall does a good job weaving together songs and story, but Ingenue’s framework—Durbin is being interviewed about her life following Garland’s death—feels tired, and in some moments, so does the writing. What never falters is the power of Gall’s voice. Her singing is the heart and soul of Ingenue. At the Firehall Arts Centre on September 6 (6:30 p.m.), 8 (6:30 p.m.), 9 (5 p.m.), 13 (11 p.m.), 14 (2:15 p.m.), and 15 (5:30 p.m.) THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM: A GRIMM FAIRY TALE This innovative

marvel of a show is creepy, creative, and a wonderfully subversive undoing of the Brothers Grimm classic about a poor man who wants to give his daughter a better life by arranging her marriage to a wealthy stranger hiding a very dark secret. The four young artists who star in this show combine physical theatre and puppeteering with the

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Edmonton—DeCroo has come to realize that the solo piece hits some viewers a little too close to home; as a result, he has taken to telling audiences that he won’t judge them if they need to step out of the theatre. In the autobiographical 75-minute show, the Vancouver-based writer and performer lays bare his own demons. Raised in western Pennsylvania and later in remote northern B.C. by an abusive alcoholic who had seen his own share of horror in the Vietnam War, DeCroo grew up with a world-view shaped by trauma, poverty, addiction, and toxic masculinity. He tells the Straight that, although the tone of Didn’t Hurt has lightened significantly since he started performing it, there are nights when one part or another will affect him profoundly in an unexpected way. Take, for instance, his story about playing with his brothers in the clearing around the family cabin while their father watched from a distance—through the scope of his hunting rifle. “One night I did that line, and I felt genuinely scared,” DeCroo admits. “I was surprised that it came back that hard. Different things hit me all the time. Some nights when I talk about my dad beating me up, it hits really hard, and on other nights it’s just part of the story I’m telling. On one night I was talking about my jujitsu coach, and how that helped me, and then all of a sudden, bam, I got really emotional over that. So it changes every single night. Some nights I’m laughing in places where I’ve cried. It’s like a roller coaster. I just get on it, I don’t know what the ride’s going to be.” Those who caught his previous Fringe production, Allegheny, BC (Stupid Boy in an Ugly Town), will recall that it traversed similar thematic terrain, but DeCroo notes that there was a “huge

Rodney DeCroo (left) lays bare his demons in the achingly autobiographical Didn’t Hurt, while Rod Peter Jr. plays part-time substitute teacher and full-time Canadian superspy in the zany Chase Breyer.

fictional element” to that 2013 show. When DeCroo was creating Didn’t Hurt, director and dramaturge TJ Dawe suggested he do so without incorporating any of the songs or poems that have always been the artist’s stock-in-trade. “There’s something about performing those things onstage that allows me some distance from the content,” DeCroo says. “TJ went, ‘I don’t want poetry or music. I want you to just speak simply from the heart of those experiences.’ So it requires a degree of vulnerability and directness and closeness to the subject matter that is very different.” The result is an experience that is just as emotionally resonant for the audience as it is for its creator. “I have so many people who cry openly during the show and they thank me afterwards and say that this has touched on their experiences, or those of somebody they love, and they feel like there’s hope,” DeCroo says. “And ultimately, for me, what I want people to walk away from this show with is hope.”

16 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019

CHASE BREYER Rod Peter Jr.

d “PART-TIME SUBSTITUTE teacher, fulltime Canadian super spy.” The premise is right there in the subtitle of SNAFU’s zany new play, Chase Breyer. The one-man show starring Rod Peter Jr. is set during the 2015 Canadian election. Chase Breyer tells the story of a lovable but obnoxiously macho superspy who learns that his fellow agent, Céline Dion, has gone missing while trying to uncover a secret plot by Stephen Harper to skew the election. While attempting to rescue her, Chase learns that Harper has been developing a Canadian Death Star powered by the word sorry, leading him on a mission that involves battling robot spiders, evading laser beams, and befriending Gord Downie as Chewbacby John Lucas ca—all while taking his students on a field

Davies, The Trophy Hunt is at all five Fringes across Canada, where the play is making its “rolling world premiere”, but the casts are city-specific. In Victoria, where I saw it performed, the actors were impressive, but their three monologues felt less connected than one would expect in a cohesive show. It was also a physically uncomfortable show, with upside-down buckets and cushions as seats, and just a couple of rickety chairs for those who couldn’t manage the buckets. The three monologues showcase vastly different viewpoints on a safari-style hunt, but while the play is unfolding, the performances seem to blend together. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being talked at, rather than engaged, that makes The Trophy Hunt feel less effective than I had hoped. At Ron Basford Park on September 5 to 8 at 6:45 p.m. and September 10 to 15 at 6:30 p.m. SCAREDY CAT Carlyn Rhamey’s one-woman show about being afraid of, well, being afraid is a fun framework in which to explore anxiety and fraught family mechanics, particularly the relationship between daughters and their mothers. Rhamey’s paralyzing fear of all things scary flies in the face of

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trip to Victoria’s Goldstream Park. As you can see, there’s a lot going on here. Peter explains that he wanted his show to be a send-up of the ridiculous action movies that he watched as a child. Reflecting on them now, he sees that these films actually have not only a lot of nonsensical elements—“Why do you have to skydive into a place? Why can’t you just go there?”—but also a lot of problematic ones. “As an adult, you realize that [in action films] there’s a lot of, like, ‘I’m a white guy doing all these things, I’m saving the world and everyone loves me because of who I am,’ and there’s all these different categories of people that are not being represented at all,” he says. “I don’t want to hit it over the head with a hammer, but it’s why I have a character called Miss Unnecessarily Sexualized Last Name.” Peter might be parodying action films and injecting them with a strong dose of Cancon, but he’s also hoping that Chase Breyer can bring something more action-packed to the Fringe. “What I’m interested in doing is trying to create a movie aspect on-stage to the average person that doesn’t necessarily go see theatre,” he says. “I want to engage young people. I love having nine-year-olds and 12-year-olds in the show and getting them involved in something where they go, ‘Oh, it’s like watching a movie.’ ” Extending the movie metaphor further, Peter jokes that since all of SNAFU’s plays have overlapping characters, they exist within the “SNAFU Universe”. And if the Victoria-based multidisciplinary company’s previous plays were of varying degrees of silliness, he says this one is their Thor: Ragnarok. “It’s just super crazy,” he says. “Everything’s very different, but it’s all very much connected [to the other plays].” by Joshua Azizi


It’s Theatrically Delicious!

9 5 - 15

Every show at the Fringe Festival is selected by lottery or on a first come, first served basis. Here’s just a sampling of what you can expect at this year’s Festival. For a full list of dates and times, pick up a program guide at Blenz Coffee locations or at VancouverFringe.com! Tickets for these, and all shows in the Festival, are available at VancouverFringe.com. Low Vision Friendly d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Friendly

False Creek Gym

Woodward’s Atrium

Studio 16

Borderline A**hole

Workin’

Those Who Can’t

Julie Gieseke, Solo Performer San Francisco, USA Playwright: Julie Gieseke juliegieseke.com

Theatre Terrific Vancouver, Canada Playwrights: Susanna Uchatius & Mary Jane Paquette theatreterrific.ca

Jill Lockley Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Jill Lockley

After years of falling for totally unavailable women, Julie has just found her ideal girlfriend. Everything is perfect except they can’t agree on one thing: That Julie is the problem. Is Julie an Asshole or a Borderline? Julie can’t tell. The Saturday, September 14 performance will be interperted into ASL for patrons who are d/ Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Funny / Intense / Tear-Jerker / LGBTQ+ / 18+

The Cultch Lab

Workin’ addresses the personal and public value of work, the hierarchical status of different types of work, who works where, and why. What defines “something” as work and “something else” as not work? “I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” —Helen Keller Funny / Musical / Poetic / LGBTQ+ / Multicultural / All Ages

Performance Works

Two Modern Noh Plays Becoming Magic Mike: by Yukio Mishima An Action Adventure Midtwenties Theatre Society Comedy Vancouver, Canada Playwright: Yukio Mishima mtstheatre.com

Upon a successful run last year, Midtwenties Theatre is proud to be back to premiere Two Modern Noh Plays By Yukio Mishima for the 2019 Dramatic Works Series. A 20-year-old poet falls in love with a 90-year-old woman and a young girl waits for a longforgotten lover in this double-bill of two Noh plays by famous Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima. Poetic / Intellectual / Intimate / LGBTQ+ / Multicultural / All Ages

DK Reinemer Portland, USA Playwright: DK Reinemer dkreinemer.com

Comedian DK Reinemer (Help! I’m American) returns to the Vancouver Fringe with a brand new, smokin’ hot, action adventure comedy about a detective thrust deep undercover in the unfamiliar world of male stripping. He’s undercover, underdressed, and over the top. Can he pull it off? Bring your dollar bills ya’ll ‘cause it’s raining comedy. Funny / Naughty / In Your Face / 18+ / Coarse Language / Violent Content / Sexual Content / Gunshots

There are some classrooms that can’t be tamed: this is one of them. Principal Penny is desperate to find a substitute teacher for a group of sixth-grade students who are determined to torment every teacher who steps through the door. If you’ve ever taught a classroom or been in a classroom, this show was written for you.

Funny / Silly / Weird / 14+ / Coarse Language

The Nest

Old Bridge Indoor Parkade

Where the Quiet Queers Are Amplify Choral Theatre Vancouver, Canada Playwrights: Laura Fukumoto with Sara Jellicoe & Elyse Kantonen

Musical / Poetic / Intimate / LGBTQ+ / All Ages / Coarse Language

Weird / Poetic / Intellectual / LGBTQ+ / Multicultural / 14+ / Sexual Content / Gunshots

False Creek Gym

Rage Sweater Theatre Productions Victoria, Canada Playwright: Monica Ogden

Chimera Theatre Kamloops, Canada Playwrights: The Brothers Grimm, adapted by Andrew G. Cooper chimeratheatre.com

“Monica Ogden is the worst looking asian I ever saw. Filipinas are supposed to be hot, not feminist.” —Nice white man online Funny / Tear-Jerker / LGBTQ+ / Multicultural / 14+ / Coarse Language

Dusty Foot Productions Vancouver, Canada Written & Directed by Patricia Trinh facebook.com/dustyfootproductions

Abstract Sci-Fi dramedy. An interdimensional science experiment! A woman involuntarily takes an all inclusive internal trip after falling into a deep depression. A scientist is hired to navigate her neurological pathways from inside her mind– tackling the fact that humans cannot physically re-experience somatosensory sensation, like pain. What if that were the case for traumatic emotional pain? A creepy little girl is heard running by. What happens next?

The Robber Bridegroom: A Grimm Fairy Tale

Pick of the Fringe: Bravest Show, Victoria Fringe.

Red Glimmer

She said, “How many of us build our families from our friends?” Two friends build an unlikely home in each other in the face of exhaustion, rising rent, and messy relationships. Using choral music, a cappella soundscape, and spoken poetry as the medium, this ensemble explores where the quiet queers go, and how to find family in a transient city.

Monica vs. The Internet: Tales of a Social Justice Warrior Award winning Filipina storyteller Monica Ogden sheds light on activism in the age of the internet, mixed-race identity, and why white feminism is like Lays chips.

What Lab

An impoverished miller seeks a better life for his only daughter by arranging her marriage to a wealthy stranger. She wants to help her family, but something wicked lurks in the woods where her bridegroom lives... Chimera Theatre brings their dark adaptation of this classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale through puppetry and physical theatre. Intense / Poetic / Shocking / 14+ / Violent Content

The Cultch Lab

Legoland Ragamuffin Productions Surrey, Canada Playwright: Jacob Richmond

Siblings Penny and Ezra Lamb have been home-schooled on a hippie colony all their life. They have been dying to visit the outside world, described to them only as “Legoland.” Once the colony is busted for being the largest marijuana grow-op in Saskatchewan, the opportunity finally arrives. However, it is not as joyful and loving as expected.

Funny / Silly / Weird / 14+ / Coarse Language

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 17


ARTS

Spaniard honours flamenco as he upends it

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by Janet Smith

anuel Liñán is one of the most exciting forces in Spain’s new generation of flamenco dancers. And although he’s driving the form forward in multiple ways, in his home country and elsewhere, he’s best-known for one revolutionary thing: donning the ruffled, trailing bata de cola skirt that is traditionally reserved for female performers. He’ll wear it again for a vignette in his theatrical new piece Baile de Autor at the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. That’s not something you see in a field that has such clearly divided gender roles—historically rooted as they are in the social mores of Andalusian and Romani society. But it tells you something about Liñán’s approach that he’s not dancing in the emblematic female costume to shock. “For me, it’s necessary; I’m not doing it because it’s controversial,” the young artist stresses to the Straight, speaking from flamenco’s sunbaked

says its visions came to him in the twilight between wakefulness and sleep. “At that precise moment before I fall asleep, I’m still creating in my mind,” he admits. “So it comes from this transition between thinking, ‘I’m going to do this or this,’ and then starting to fall asleep.” Liñán has been living flamenco night and day in this way since childhood. He grew up in ancient Granada—slightly removed from the art form’s traditional centres. He says his family didn’t have the means to send him to private flamenco school, but a teacher saw his excitement and talent for the form and let him study for free. That led to work in tablaos at just 13, touring the fests and storied venues of Andalusia, and then, in 1997, following his dream of pursuing dance in the hotbed of Madrid. There, he eventually landed a spot on the stage with its legendary Amor de Dios troupe and choreographing for the likes of the Ballet Nacional de España and Nuevo Ballet Español. He finds himself today, both with his bata de cola and without it, in the vanguard of a revival of the art form in his home country. “Of course, there will always be people who want it more traditional, but the jovenes, the young people, are way more accepting and open-minded,” he says, tracing the explosion back about five years. “I feel really happy about the way flamenco is evolving. And it’s important for the aficionados outside of Spain to understand that inside Spain flamenco is changing.” g

Manuel Liñán’s Baile de Autor has the intimacy of a tablao setting, but the stark lighting and polish of a theatre show.

ground zero in the southern Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera. Flamenco fest artistic director Rosario Ancer is translating on a conference call as he speaks in the staccato rhythms of Castilian. “It’s something that’s always been important in my work. Since I was a kid I dreamed of dancing with the bata de cola and shawl. I don’t think there has to be a reason, because it just feels natural to me. And when you’re natural, you’re honest in your

movement. When I put on the bata de cola, it allows me to bring something out that’s in me, it’s a part of me, and it gives me inspiration. “Something does happen in my body, it gets softer,” he explains. “But I’m not changing my moves because of the bata de cola; rather, it allows something to come out of me— something that is already there.” Authenticity and honesty blaze in Liñán’s work, which finds a fresh-feel-

ing middle ground not just between traditional and contemporary flamenco, but between the improvisational intimacy of the tablao and the drama and lights of the theatre. Baile de Autor centres on the dancer pummelling the stage to the rhythms of guitarist Manuel Valencia and cantaor David Carpio, both of whom sit nearby on-stage. Meanwhile, atmospheric racks of rising and falling lights, near-hallucinatory vignettes, and other touches give it the production polish that suits the theatre. The charismatic artist enjoys that balance. “I don’t like to put a tag on what I do. I like to move between the traditional and the more avant-garde,” he asserts. “You can move between the two. There will always be controversy about what traditional flamenco is and is not, but they can live together. They need each other to continue. “In this work,” he adds, “I feel like it puts together everything that I am, playing with the elements within me as a director, choreographer, and dancer.” If Baile de Autor feels dreamlike to audiences, it’s because the artist

The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival presents the Manuel Liñán Company at the Vancouver Playhouse on September 14.

Flamenco FOLLOW THE SOUNDS

of clicking castanets and jackhammering feet as the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival fires up the city from next Friday (September 13) to September 29. Here are the highlights, some of which push the bounds of the form:

presents

Reading the Bones Choreography: Barbara Bourget & Jay Hirabayashi Music: Josepth Hirabayashi Lighting: Gerald King Assisted by: Jessica Han

Performed by: Barbara Bourget, Katie Cassady, Molly McDermott, Salomé Nieto, Deanna Peters

September 18 - 21 & 25 - 28, 2019 - 8pm Roundhouse Performance Centre Tickets/Info http://kokoro.ca 604-662-4966 Kokoro photo by Téa Mei • mask by Sylvi Murphy 18 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019

d LA MUSICA DEL FLAMENCO (September 13 at St. James Hall) Sought-after Manuel Liñán Company singer David Carpio (one of the stars of the form) and guitarist Manuel Valencia join Flamenco Rosario’s musical director, Victor Kolstee, in an

TIP SHEET

intimate concert of music that’s as haunting as it is impassioned.

d MAGNETIKAE (September 26 at the Waterfront Theatre) In this excerpt from an ambitious new work, Montreal’s La Otra Orilla makes a theatrical meld of two poetic but unlikely themes: flamenco and ice floes. d NRITYA (September 27 at the Waterfront Theatre) La Caramelita Flamenco Company’s Deborah “La Caramelita” Dawson explores identity, drawing on her Indian and Malaysian heritage, and her love for the Andalusianborn art form.


WORLD PREMIERE

Lisa Jackson’s

Transmissions

An Indigenous Futurist Multimedia Installation Free Public Tours Tuesday through Sunday September 6 – 28, 2019 SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Presented by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs Produced by Electric Company Theatre in association with Violator Films

Photo: Yuula Benivolski

www.sfuwoodwards.ca

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 19


from page 16

PRESENTS

If you don’t fight for what you want, then who will?

her mom’s absolute devotion to all things terrifying. Her mom loves Halloween and scary movies and comes from the school of tough love. Her favourite phrase is “Suck it up, buttercup.” This offers plenty of fodder for Rhamey’s funny, self-deprecating script, and there’s something really wonderful about her physical comedy, too. Rhamey touches on everything from sharks and sleepovers to boys and Botox, but it’s when she digs into the rawness of her relationship with her mom— which seems genuinely good for the most part, just complicated—that Scaredy Cat truly shines. At the Nest on September 6 (5 p.m.), 8 (7:45 p.m.), 9 (10:30 p.m.), 12 (6:45 p.m.), 13 (8:30 p.m.), and 14 (3 p.m.) DESTINY, USA

Like many Canadians who found themselves moving to the U.S. a couple years ago, and then suddenly living under 45’s rule, playwright and performer

Laura Anne Harris had a lot of complicated feelings that needed to go somewhere. What to do in the face of ableist, racist, sexist, fascist rhetoric while your sweetheart of a husband goes to grad school? Get a job, facilitating phone communications for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community with the hearing community. As Harris gets drawn into the rich interior lives of her clients, she finds out her mother is dying back home in Canada. The comedy of the first half of the show gives way to something much more intimate, and it’s a powerful turn. If this is as autobiographical as it’s presented, the play’s finale is almost too revealing. Harris presents a call from a particularly distraught person as a means of also speaking to her own grief. It’s devastating and emotionally resonant, but ethically questionable. At the Nest on September 7 (6:45 p.m.), 9 (8:45 p.m.), 10 (7:45 p.m.), 12 (5 p.m.), 14 (1:15 p.m.), and 15 (8:45 p.m.)

CRAZY FOR DICK TRICKS: A DIRK DARROW INVESTIGATION Tim Mot-

ley has been doing illusions and Dirk Darrow for a long time. He knows the character, a noir detective, very well, and he’s a deft magician, but the dick shtick is getting a bit tired. At least this dick shtick. Dick jokes need to evolve, and Motley has crafted a show here that is more complex than his previous efforts, but he doesn’t quite take it far enough. The characters he’s created to explore this murder mystery are mostly funny and well thought out, and the parallels to contemporary times are perfect, but it feels like Motley’s reaching for something even more ambitious than what he has here. Maybe he just ran out of time? There are moments that are genuinely inspired, and that gives me hope that Dirk Darrow isn’t necessarily ready for retirement. He’s just gearing up for something bigger and better. At the Waterfront Theatre on September 5 (8:30 p.m.), 7 (1:15 p.m.), 8 (9:10 p.m.), 12 (6:45 p.m.), 14 (6 p.m.), and 15 (3 p.m.) g

In Partnership with Dancers of Damelahamid

September 27 & 28, 2019 | 8 PM Scotiabank Dance Centre

Faris Studio Theatre | 677 Davie Street, Vancouver Tickets: $12 in advance ($15 at door) www.brownpapertickets.com | NO LATECOMERS @miscellaneousproductions

@misccommunity

@misccommunity

www.miscellaneousproductions.ca

BANGARRA DANCE THEATRE (AUSTRALIA)

SPIRIT

We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia

“BANGARRA DANCE IS A TRIUMPH.” HERALD SUN

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F OR A S L

$116!

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of live professional theatre featuring the family musical

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, acclaimed Canadian plays, and a Broadway comedy.

GATEWAYTHEATRE.COM 604.270.1812

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OCTOBER 25 & 26 8PM VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE TICKETS FROM

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© SUSANNAH WIMBERLE Y Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is presented by arrangement with The Musical Company, LP.

20 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019


music

For Muggs, cannabis is a way of life

The DJ and his Cypress Hill bandmates have been preaching the green gospel for decades by Mike Usinger

H

aving spent most of his life in the often unscrupulous industry known as the music business, DJ Muggs is quick to note he has a finely tuned bullshit detector. This served him well when he branched out from the job that made him famous. Muggs first made his name as a member of Cypress Hill, but he was also early to invest in the cannabis industry, initially during the black-market years and then in the era of legalization. Among the weed ventures he has stakes in today are Boom Family Farms and a Cypress Hill edibles collaboration with Bhang. Ask Muggs what has him excited about heading to Vancouver for the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference, and he says it’s getting to see people that he respects. Chief among them is Oregon-based medical-cannabis groundbreaker Alex Rogers, who founded ICBC, which bills itself as a travelling educational and networking showcase. “I’m at a point in my life where I just want to have fun doing cool shit with cool people,” Muggs says, speaking on cell from Los Angeles. “I got involved with ICBC about three years ago. I was invited to Kauai to speak on a panel, and I was introduced to Alex. I liked ICBC and what it was about. And I liked Alex—the man is a smart dude who actually gives a fuck. He ain’t out here trying to get people’s money trying to capitalize on the green rush. “He actually cared about the people that were there,” he continues. “He cared about who he had speak, and he built a platform for people who were green and wanted to invest with people who’d been in the industry for a while. It was about bringing good people together with no malice in their hearts. Ethics are really important to me, and it was like ‘These are some real motherfuckers, and I want to be involved with them.’ ” Muggs helped create some of Cypress Hill’s greatest hits: “Insane in the Brain”, “Dr. Greenthumb”, and “How I Could Just Kill a Man”. He’s also the guy who created the backbone of House of Pain’s immortal dance-floor filler “Jump Around” and Ice Cube’s swaggering “Check Yo Self”. Not content behind the scenes, he’s also released records under his own name in collaboration with the likes of Everlast and the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli. But music isn’t his only great love. Since the rise of Cypress Hill in the early ’90s, he’s been one of the cannabis movement’s most vocal advocates. Before Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson were lighting up together on the tour bus, Muggs and his Cypress Hill bandmates B-Real

ONGOING CORIOLANUS Political and familial warfare drives Shakespeare’s story of a woman who fights for honour without compromise. To Sep 15, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. From $26. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW The 2007 spaghetti-western version of Shakespeare’s work is the inspiration behind this Wild West love story. To Sep 21, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. From $26. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block. To Sep 18, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. From $26. BACK TO SCHOOL THEATRESPORTS Backto-school-themed improv. Sep 3–Oct 12, 7:30 pm, The Improv Centre. From $10.75. VANCOUVER ART GALLERY aVIEWS OF THE COLLECTION: THE STREET to Nov 17 aALBERTO GIACOMETTI: A LINE THROUGH TIME to Sep 29 aVIKKY ALEXANDER: EXTREME BEAUTY to Jan 26 aROBERT RAUSCHENBERG 1965–1980 to Jan 26

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 VANCOUVER FRINGE FESTIVAL 2019 The Vancouver Fringe Theatre Society’s annual festival features more than 700 performances of theatre of all kinds. Sep 5-15, various Vancouver venues. INESCAPABLE Brain-twisting off-Broadway comedy is The Twilight Zone as conceived by M.C. Escher and written by Samuel Beckett. Sep 5-15, Waterfront Theatre. $15. PERV HUNTERS A feel-good comedy about friendship (and perverts). Sep 5-15, Waterfront Theatre. $15.

DJ Muggs helped create some of Cypress Hill’s big hits, like “Insane in the Brain”. Photo by Zen Sekizawa

and Sen Dog were tirelessly devoted to the cause. Recall, if you will, “Insane in the Brain” lines like “Like Louie Armstrong play the trumpet, I’ll hit dat bong.” Or “Dr. Greenthumb” lyrics such as “People can’t live without the herb man/If not they’d be drinking and driving and swerving.” The liner notes to the group’s 1993 sophomore outing, Black Sunday, notably included 19 bold-type facts about marijuana that highlighted the plant’s benefits and debunked popular myths. All this might not sound particularly revolutionary today, when legalization in Canada and various American states has made cannabis part of the mainstream. But it’s important to remember that when Cypress Hill first stormed the charts with its eponymous 1991 debut, attitudes towards marijuana were considerably different. America had just come off a decade when Nancy Reagan’s hysterical “Just say no” campaign changed the way people looked at drugs. Hip-hop wasn’t immune. Think of Dr. Dre in the N.W.A days using “Express Yourself” to rap “I don’t smoke weed or sess/’Cause it’s known to give a brother brain damage/And

ALICE IN GLITTERLAND Geekenders and the Playwrights Theatre Centre present immersive burlesque theatre. Sep 5-14, 7-11 pm, WISE Hall. @GISELLE Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY presents a technology-driven reinvention of the romantic ballet classic. Sep 5-7, 7:30 pm, Vancouver Playhouse. From $35. THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER: A STORY OF AN ALMOST MURDER The tale of a young girl’s journey from mischievous imp to the devil’s daughter. Sep 5-14, Arts Umbrella. $12. HOT PROPERTY A greedy developer, seasoned actors, and a sensational book collide in Fred Carmichael’s play. Sep 5-21, 8 pm, In the Theatre at Hendry Hall. $20/18.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 RAPE IS REAL & EVERYWHERE: COMEDY BY SURVIVORS Vancouver Fringe debut featuring standup comedians, raw honesty, and cathartic laughs. Sep 6-14, The Cultch. $15. CAREY-OK!: TIMELESS TIMELY TUNES Family-friendly, one-man a cappella music experience as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Sep 6-15, Revue Stage. HIDDEN WONDERS Shawn Farquhar performs a 75-minute magic show in a hidden theatre in Chinatown. Sep 6-8 & 13-15, Hidden Wonders . $40-60. SARA CWYNAR: IN DISCUSSION Conversation about the exhibition Sara Cwynar: Gilded Age II with the artist and guest curators. Sep 6, 7-9 pm, The Polygon. By donation. HELEN HONG American comedian performs two nights of standup. Sep 6-7, Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. $25. A TENDER THING Shakespeare’s poetry is used to create a new, deeply romantic play. Sep 6-29, 8 pm, Jericho Arts Centre. $23-29.

brain damage on the mic don’t manage.” Or Rob Base salting the 1988 megasmash “It Takes Two” with “Don’t smoke buddah/Can’t stand sess, yes.” “Even when we started making music with Cypress, if you go back and do some research, all the groups were saying ‘Don’t smoke weed or sess or you’ll give a brother brain damage,’ ” Muggs says. “It was Dre and a lot of groups. Once we came out, we kind of kicked the door open. Crack was big back then, so by talking about weed we suddenly started becoming cool. And that made smoking weed cool. Then, when Snoop came out, everyone really started getting away from other drugs and coming to weed.” Indeed, by 1992 Dre had reevaluated his attitude towards pot, naming his debut solo album The Chronic. Today, hip-hop and marijuana are inextricably linked—one can draw a through-line from the Pharcyde’s “Pass the Pipe” to Nas’s “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” to JayZ’s “Feelin’ It” to Kanye West’s “We Major” to everything ever released by Post Malone. As for Muggs, the 51-year-old acknowledges that weed has been part of his life since he was a kid living in Queens, New York.

DANDELION: A COMEDY ABOUT FATHERHOOD Canadian comic Aaron Malkin blends standup comedy, physical comedy, and storytelling. Sep 6-14, Waterfront Theatre. $12.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 TEATRO INTIMO DEL FLAMENCO Karen Flamenco presents a one-hour show featuring traditional flamenco music, dance, puppetry and magic. To Sep 28, Sat. at 3 & 5 pm, The Improv Centre. $12. DYSFUNCTIONAL DISNEY CABARET Burlesque tribute to favourite princesses, villains, and enchanted animals. Sep 7, 7-11 pm, Rio Theatre. $20/25.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 THE WRONG SHOW: COMEDY BROADVILLE Program of sketch and standup comedy, music, and burlesque. Sep 8, 9-11:30 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $14.20/20.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 THE GREAT CANADIAN PORNO: THE MUSICAL This bold, new, and certainly hilarious musical sees two millennial best friends in crisis, having to navigate ethics in a world that so often rewards the most unethical behaviours. In development since 2014, a Golden Era musical structure lifts this contemporary story, taking audiences on a fast-paced and unexpected ride. Rated 14+. Preview performance September 1 at the Havana Theatre. All other performances at the Firehall Arts Centre. Sep 9-14, 9:30-11 pm, Firehall Arts Centre. $10-15.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 ERICKSON IN BAGHDAD Author Hadani Ditmars speaks in the series Canadian,

“My mom hated marijuana—she was like, ‘It’s bad, don’t fucking do it,’ ” he reminisces. “You gotta remember, my mom comes from the ’50s—think of the movies and the music back then. Then you’ve got the ’60s, which is when my mom’s little brother—my uncle—came from. He shared a room with me, and it was all black-light posters, lava lamps, incense, and Led Zeppelin. I’d come home and there’d be this smell—and I didn’t know what it was. That was my introduction. I was nine the first time I smoked with him and his friends. They gave me a hit and I feel asleep. I smoked a couple of times when I was 12, but then I got really into sports. I started smoking heavily again when I was 17. And I haven’t stopped.” What’s changed over that time, obviously, is that cannabis has gone from a black-market subculture to a respectable business, which explains events like ICBC. Those who’ll speak at the Vancouver conference include California Bureau of Cannabis Control chief Lori Ajax, former NBA player turned cannabis entrepreneur John Salley, and British Columbia lawyer John Conroy, who helped move legalization of pot forward in Canada with victories in court. Such events, Muggs says, are far removed from the days when Cypress Hill was going multiplatinum on the back of “Insane in the Brain” lines like “Cops come and try ta snatch my crops/These pigs want to blow my house down/Head underground to the next town.” “Like anything,” he says, “once everybody starts liking something and the commercialization comes in, it becomes ‘Man, I liked it better when it was underground.’ It’s funny— motherfuckers who never smoked weed before are suddenly in the weed business and telling me about weed. So as much as I’m like, ‘Wow— really?’ I realize that I have to sit back and roll with it ’cause this is where we’re going. “But I’m really happy,” he continues, “when I see people who’ve been talking about pot for years on the artistic side—guys like B-Real— being able to monetize weed and bring it to people. It’s not just guys in a new suit who are in the game because of the green rush. The people who put the blood, sweat, and tears into creating this industry have also won. And it’s gratifying for me to see that.” g The International Cannabis Business Conference takes place at the Westin Bayshore Hotel on September 15 and 16. DJ Muggs will headline afterparty shows on a yacht docked by the hotel. For more info, go to internationalcbc.com/.

ARTS LISTINGS

Arts HOT TICKET FAÇADE FESTIVAL (September 4 to 18 outside the Vancouver Art Gallery) Just as the days are getting shorter again, B.C. contemporary artists light up the night with huge projected artworks across the historic façade of the gallery. Presented in partnership with the Burrard Arts Foundation, this year’s lineup (in chronological order, two per night) is: Dana Claxton and Khan Lee, Drew Young

and Sandeep Johal (whose work is shown here in a rendering by Go2 Productions), Lindsay McIntyre and Howie Tsui, Bracken Hanuse Corlett and Josh Hite/Justine Chambers, and Natalie Purschwitz and Hyung-Min Yoon, wrapping up with an encore of all the artists’ work next Friday and Saturday nights (September 13 and 14).

BACK TO SCHOOL THEATRESPORTS (Saturdays to October

12 at the Improv Centre) Soothe your anxiety about the return to educational duress as the city’s best improvisers send up all your classroom clichés. Note the special Science Fair Edition on September 17. g

Indigenous and World Writers. Sep 10, 5-6:30 pm, Coach House, Green College. Free.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE A short-order cook is convinced he’s found his life companion after a one-night rendezvous. Sep 12-28, Deep Cove Shaw Theatre. $25/23.

MUSIC IN THE MORNING The Brentano String Quartet performs. Sep 11-12, 10:30-11:30 am, Vancouver Academy of Music. $38/42. NEW SOCIETIES Interactive theatre that involves playing a strategic board game. Sep 11-14, 8-10 pm, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. $7-15.

ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight.com/ AddEvent.

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 21


MUSIC

Juggalos make it all seem less horrible by Mike Usinger

POP EYE

A

s, ahem, insane as this might sound, there’s nothing the world needs right now more than the Insane Clown Posse. For those who can’t go 10 minutes without checking Top Stories on Apple News, the past weekend was a grim one. Much like the previous 35 in 2019. Further proving that the planet is becoming a climate-change-doomed hell on earth, Hurricane Dorian wiped out a significant chunk of the Bahamas, including the impossibly idyllic community of Hope Town. Think the Skynet-sparked postapocalypse scenes in The Terminator, only with the splintered wreckage of ice-cream-coloured houses. Even more horrific was this weekend’s This Hour in Mass Shootings news from Texas. Sparking the usual useless offerings of prayers and sympathy from orange-hued idiot Donald Trump, 36-year-old Seth Ator killed seven people and wounded 25 others

after being stopped by police for erratic driving. Shooting the police officer first, he then began spraying the street with an automatic weapon, the injured including a 17-month-old girl and the dead including a girl who had just turned 15 and a father of three. Proving a surprising voice of reason amidst what’s becoming an endless Groundhog Day of insanity, KISS singer-guitarist Paul Stanley took to Twitter and posted the following: “We don’t have more ‘crazy’ or ‘mentally unstable’ people in the US. What we DO have are commonplace mass shootings with automatic and semi-automatic high powered firearms. THAT cannot be disputed. Tell me what we and our government must do. Prayers and sympathy are not enough.” No, they aren’t. Which explains why this time next week it will be the same end result, but in a different town. And while we’re talking, even tangentially, about the president who’s making George W. Bush look like the greatest mind since Thomas Jefferson, Trump has renewed his efforts to keep

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the criminals, rapists, gang members, and all-round bad hombres of Mexico out of America. Surreal and tragic as all of the above has been, it’s been leavened by weekend news from the world of the Insane Clown Posse. The duo of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have been called everything from scarily talentless MCs to modern-day minstrels to—most offensively of all— fundamentalist Christians. What they, and the Juggalos who worship them, also are is an endlessly entertaining diversion from the

Instead, the curiosity seeker—who isn’t a fan and was looking to shoot a documentary—got a crash course in ICP insanity. Batton alleges that he was riding a motorized bike when he was run over by a golf cart driven by a legless Juggalo named Alexander “Less Legs” Perkins. The lawsuit alleges that Less Legs was operating the golf-cart pedals with a baseball bat. It should be noted that—perhaps out of respect for a man who can operate golf-cart pedals with Babe Ruth’s favourite weapon—Batton isn’t suing Perkins, but instead the organizers of the Gathering of the Juggalos, as well as the park that hosted the event. Perkins, meanwhile, told TMZ.com that he was “stone-cold sober”, and that Batton actually ran into him. Ultimately, who gives a shit who was responsible? The Insane Clown Posse—or at least one of their fans—just managed to make us almost forget how horrible the world was this weekend. Pass the greasepaint and Faygo. Some good deeds are totally worth celebrating. g

Bricker’s mastery of pop songcraft is beyond his years

KARAOKE 7 DAYS A WEEK

In this ever-depressing world, thank Insane Clown Posse for comic relief.

daily miseries of modern life. Recall, if you will, Shaggy 2 Dope reportedly running on-stage at a New Jersey music festival last October and attempting to deliver a flying dropkick to Fred Durst in the middle of a Limp Bizkit cover of George Michael’s “Faith”. That he failed miserably somehow made it funnier. Flash back to a 38-year-old hardcore Juggalo storming a Medford, Massachusetts, radio station with an axe in July of 2017 and demanding that said station play the band’s massive non-hit “My Axe”. Or, best and most recent of all, a man named Adam Batton launching a lawsuit on August 28 following an incident at the most recent Gathering of the Juggalos blowout. Batton showed up at Lawrence County Recreational Park in Indiana for the 20th annual Gathering of the Juggalos after spotting an ad promising music, wrestling, carnival rides, and free camping—all part of “the craziest show on earth” with “controlled chaos”.

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LOCAL DISCS JADEN BRICKER The Sill 3

d WHAT WAS YOUR greatest accomplishment by the time you reached the age of 17? If we’re being honest, most of us will admit that the answer is probably “not dying”. If you need a reminder of just how badly you squandered your youth, take a look at Jaden Bricker’s Bandcamp page. Do so and you’ll learn that The Sill 3 is the third album the 17-year-old indiepop wunderkind has released—in 2019. He has a further half-dozen EPs and full-length records under his belt, too, dating from as far back as the summer before last. So, the kid is prolific. Is he any good? Well, consider the fact that he beat out 30-odd other aspiring under-18 acts in a contest held by Said the Whale. As the winner, Bricker won studio time, which he will presumably use to record another half-dozen albums. He also won an opening slot at Said the Whale’s Malkin Bowl concert on Friday (September 6). In a recent interview with the Straight, Said the Whale’s Tyler Bancroft said of Bricker, “He is a teenager with too much time on his hands and a ton of creative energy, and a very advanced understanding of songwriting, in my opinion.” Based on the sonic evidence he presents on The Sill 3, it’s easy to guess what Said the Whale heard in Bricker’s music. He can sing, he can play multiple instruments, and he seems to have an innate knack for constructing pop songs. Most compelling of all, though, is the fact that he already sounds like no one other than himself. He does, however, love reverb, dreamscape synths, effectsbuoyed guitar lines, and suitably angsty melodies, all of which means tracks like “Rainfall” and “Superstitious” would sound perfect on a playlist with Peach Pit, Old Man Canyon, Yung Heazy, and other like-minded locals. Maybe even Said the Whale! Hell, the guy can even throw the whitest of white-boy emo-rap verses into “Edge of the Sill” and somehow make it work. That, friends, takes some serious talent. by John Lucas

AMNESTY International www.amnesty.ca

22 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019


MOVIES

A conversation with a big old Nobody

A

by Adrian Mack

uthor of iconic ’70s bestseller Be Here Now, Ram Dass is still being here now. As we see in Becoming Nobody, opening Friday (September 6), even at a frail, poststroke 88, the twinkle in his eye remains undiminished. The doc captures the man formerly known as Harvard psychology prof Richard Alpert in a recent conversation with filmmaker Jamie Catto. Archival footage provides a neat summation of the spiritual technology that turned Ram Dass into a counterculture guru, all inside a crisp 81 minutes. Catto’s first encounter with Ram Dass was via an audiotape he heard, evocatively enough, during a naked yoga class in the ’80s. “I just fell in love with him immediately. Couldn’t get enough,” he says, calling the Georgia Straight from Oxford, England. “I read all the books. The only book I didn’t enjoy was Be Here Now, which is wonderful, but it didn’t really touch me particularly. But the other ones—which are really just transcriptions of his lectures—really

is to dissolve the illusion of themness and to promote the truth of usness,” he says. His own background is illuminating and not dissimilar to Alpert’s: he was raised in London by a wealthy Jewish family “who were emotionally kind of shut down”. He speaks obliquely of childhood trauma that developed in his teens into crippling anxiety and suicidal impulses. His salvation came through the kind of inner work that was dismissed at the time as “joining the Moonies or some other cult”. As a musician, decades later, Catto Spiritual teacher and author of the bestseller Be Here Now, Ram Dass (right) is still on the path as he advocates the wisdom of Becoming Nobody to director Jamie Catto. enlisted Brian Eno, Michael Stipe, and Dennis Hopper, among other moved me, and I knew I’d found my spiritual curriculum trying to show eminent partners, for 2002’s 1 Giant spiritual home. ‘This is my guy.’ ” you things, trying to heal you, trying Those lectures also form the arc to illuminate you, trying to let go of of Becoming Nobody, as Ram Dass old wounds, and educate you”. evolves from Ivy League academic to There’s a Ram Dass–ian feel to pioneering psychonaut to effectively the language Catto uses to describe pithy interpreter of eastern mysti- what attendees should expect when cism. Besides his humility, it’s the he arrives in Vancouver for a special Jewish-American wit that makes the screening of Becoming Nobody on package so appealing. For Catto, Ram Monday (September 9). “My whole Dass’s work amounts to a “kind of mission as an artist and as an activist

Leap film and music project. By any measure, the man emerged a success. But it’s touching to hear him talk about his first teacher. “You can see how he treats me in the film,” Catto says, with a chuckle. “You can see I’ve come to get anointed, and he’s really patient with it. Right at the end he says, in so many words, ‘Look, if you’ve come to get anointed, that must mean you think you’re outside.’ And he goes, ‘You’re inside, you just don’t see it.’ And it was beautiful.” Significantly, Ram Dass then goes on to assure Catto on-camera that he’s a “good son”. “Yes,” he says, softly. “After 30 years of me trying to get it out of him, he finally gave me what I wanted.” g

When Proposal turns to provocation by Ken Eisner

From The Proposal, conceptual artist Jill Magid tumbles into a rabbit hole after developing an interest in architect Luis Barragán.

REVIEWS

law will find this Proposal compelling stuff. It’s pretty interesting as basic human drama, as well. U.S.–based conceptual artist Jill Magid had already THE PROPOSAL done several installations and ongoing works based on A documentary by Jill Magid. Rating unavailable the notions of spying, failed states, and closed-circuit surveillance when she got hooked on the innovative Mexd THIS THORNY LITTLE item raises, but does not an- ican architect Luis Barragán, who died in 1988. Invited to swer, many provocative questions about ownership, stay at his well-preserved home and to examine personal inspiration, and responsibility in the creative process. archives, she was fascinated by his mid-century-modern see page 25 Anyone who follows the arts, architecture, or copyright

MUSIC LISTINGS

CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

BRET MICHAELS Former frontman of ‘80s glam-pop band Poison. Oct 25, 8 pm, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. Tix on sale Sep 6, from $69.50.

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS Indie-folk band from Claremont, California. Sep 6, 7 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $30.50.

K.FLAY Alternative hip-hop artist from Illinois. Sep 9, 7:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $35.

THE PACO DE LUCÍA PROJECT Flamenco group carries on the musical legacy of late guitar legend Paco de Lucía. Nov 2, 8 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. From $46. TERRA LIGHTFOOT Canadian roots-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist, with guest Sam Weber. Nov 5, 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. Tix on sale Sep 5, 10 am, $20.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 JUANES Latin-pop/cumbia artist from Colombia. Sep 4, Orpheum Theatre. $59.50-129.50. SKATING POLLY Oklahoma City rockers, with local guests Jo Passed. Sep 4, 8:30 pm, LanaLou’s Restaurant. $13.50.

SAID THE WHALE Local indie-rock band. Sep 6, 7 pm, Malkin Bowl. $34.50. BABE GURR Vancouver singer-songwriter celebrates the release of her new album Blurred Lines. Sep 6, 8 pm, St. James Hall. $24/20

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 EAST VAN BLOCK PARTY Block party with bands all day and a DJ. Sep 7, 2-9 pm, East Van Block Party. Free!. BON IVER American indie-folk band, with guest Sharon Van Etten. Sep 7, 7:30 pm, Pacific Coliseum. $150/99.50/79.50/65/ 49.50/39.50/27.50.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

LOVESTRUCK Russell Earl Marsland’s tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, with guest Raven Blackwell (tribute to Bonnie Raitt). Sep 7, 8 pm, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. $39.50.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Alt-rock quintet from Bellingham, with guest Jenn Champion. Sep 5, 6:45 pm, Malkin Bowl. $59.50.

MORGAN HERITAGE Blending of R&B, hip-hop, dubstep, and reggae. Sep 7, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $30.

SOUND HOUSE: CYPHER + SOUNDS A night of hip-hop, beatboxing, and poetry emceed by Chelsea D.E Johnson. Sep 5, 7-9:30 pm, Museum of Anthropology at UBC. $15.

SCARLXRD Rap-metal artist from Staffordshire, England. Sep 7, 8 pm, Venue. $17.50.

BRYAN FERRY British art-pop singersongwriter, former frontman of Roxy Music. Sep 5, 7:30 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. $250/199/129/95/65/45.

YAAZDA Portland band performs classic Polish rock tunes. Sep 8, 6:30-8 pm, Shipbuilders’ Square and Pipe Shop . Free.

PEACH KELLI POP Pop-punk from California, with guests Small Crush and Kylie V. Sep 5, 8:30 pm, Red Gate Arts Society. $10/12.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

WILLOW SMITH Eighteen-year-old R&B singer-songwriter and actress, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Sep 8, 8 pm, Rio Theatre. $26.50.

HOME FREE A cappella country quintet from Minnesota. Sep 9, 8 pm, Bell Performing Arts Centre. Tix $55/45/35.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 GARY CLARK JR. American blues-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. Sep 10, 7 pm, Malkin Bowl. Note: moved from original venue of PNE Forum. $62/72. SONGBIRD NORTH Songwriters’ showcase featuring Ben Mink, Murfitt & Main, and Winter Wilson. Sep 10, 7:30-10 pm, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. $18/15. PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS Psychrock quartet from Australia. Sep 10, 9 pm, Fox Cabaret. $17.50.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 YUNGBLUD Alt-rock artist from England, with guests Missio. Sep 11, Vogue Theatre. $25. THE DISTILLERS American punk band featuring frontwoman Brody Dalle. Sep 11, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $47.25.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 YUKON BLONDE Vancouver-based indierockers. Sep 12, 10 pm, Imperial Vancouver. MUSIC LISTINGSare a public service provided free of charge. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight. com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.

SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 23


Edition 38 Expand the Frame

Vancouver International Film Festival September 26 – October 11, 2019

Discover viff.org

Cunningham

Parasite

Alla Kovgan – USA

Bong Joon Ho – South Korea

Song Exploder Live with Chuck D MON. OCT 7

7:00 PM

PLAYHOUSE

For the 30th anniversary of Do the Right Thing, VIFF celebrates its classic theme song. Chuck D of Public Enemy is here for a live episode of the hit podcast Song Exploder; with guest host Thao Nguyen, he’ll break down “Fight the Power” for audiences.

DGC Master Class: Atom Egoyan FRI. SEP 27

6:00 PM

Atom Egoyan is one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary filmmakers on the international scene. He has made 16 feature films in addition to numerous shorts, works for television and other projects; these have earned him many honours, including five prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, two Academy Award nominations and eight Genie Awards. His latest film, Guest of Honour, is featured as VIFF 2019’s Opening Gala.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Just Mercy

SAT. OCT 5

8:45 PM

CENTRE FOR ARTS

SAT. SEP 28

THU. OCT 10

6:30 PM

PLAYHOUSE

Céline Sciamma – France

Set against the backdrop of 18th-century Brittany, a forbidden love stirs between an artist and her reluctant subject. Commissioned by a noblewoman to paint her daughter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) must work discreetly as the beautiful Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) refuses to pose in protest of being showcased for an unwanted marriage. As they take daily walks together, and Marianne works in secret, attraction grows between them in writer-director Céline Sciamma’s breathtakingly suspenseful romantic drama.

Premier Sponsor

VANCITY THEATRE

Destin Daniel Cretton – USA 9:00 PM

FRI. SEP 27

9:00 PM

CENTRE FOR ARTS

SAT. OCT 5

11:15 AM

SUN. SEP 29

3:00 PM

CENTRE FOR ARTS

SUN. OCT 6

9:15 PM

INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10

SUN. OCT 6

9:00 PM

CENTRE FOR ARTS

THU. OCT 10

4:45 PM

INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10

After the international spectacles of Snowpiercer and Okja, master filmmaker Bong Joon Ho returns to his Korean roots with this suspenseful, satirical, black comedy, which functions both as a devastating social critique and a brilliantly executed exercise in Hitchcockian pure cinema. Ki-taek (Bong regular Song Kang Ho) and his family of miscreants insinuate themselves into the rich Park family’s lives—and home—with brilliantly unpredictable, ingeniously conceived, and gorgeously designed results.

The centenary of Merce Cunningham’s birth is celebrated in exhilarating fashion by placing viewers at the dizzying heart of the iconic choreographer’s boundary-obliterating work. Interweaving archival footage and interviews, Alla Kovgan also calls on a remarkable roster of dancers to stage classics like Summerspace and Rainforest while offering new insights on choreography that redefined modern dance. Prepare to be astonished by this singular artist, whose legacy resonates beyond the dance world.

The Lighthouse

No. 7 Cherry Lane

Robert Eggers – USA CENTRE FOR ARTS

Just Mercy is the powerful true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his historymaking battles for justice in Alabama. Stevenson refuses to back down as he fights a legal system without mercy stacked against him and his clients at every turn. One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a man whose clear innocence means nothing to the corrupt and compassionless forces Stevenson doggedly takes on.

INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE 10

SAT. SEP 28

6:00 PM

Yonfan – Hong Kong/China CENTRE FOR ARTS

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are equally mesmerizing as 19th-century lighthouse keepers confined to a desolate, windswept rock for a fourweek stint, who slowly come apart at the seams in Robert Eggers’ (The Witch) hallucinatory thriller. Gorgeously shot in B&W and conflating the tropes of the gothic, horror, and supernatural genres, the film is an unclassifiable wonder that both shocks and surprises. “Eggers’ gripping nightmare... is explosively scary and captivatingly beautiful.”—Guardian

TUE. OCT 8

6:00 PM

CENTRE FOR ARTS

THU. OCT 10

3:00 PM

PLAYHOUSE

Master director Yonfan makes his animation debut with this sensuous, passionate story of a young man’s sentimental education. Hong Kong, 1967: as leftists riot in the streets, Ziming is attending university and negotiating a tricky situation - he’s got strong feelings for both young Meiling and her worldly mother Mrs. Yu. Featuring hand-drawn images that evoke ardour, lust, and bittersweet nostalgia, this is the director’s love letter to his home and to cinema; as such, it’s an absolute triumph.

Festival Partners

Information /

Premier Supporters

Public Supporters

Box Office ONLINE at viff.org IN-PERSON from Sept. 12 at Vancity Theatre 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm – 7pm)

Signature Partners

Media Partners

Schedule subject to change, visit viff.org for updates.

24 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT SEPTEMBER 5 – 12 / 2019

VIFF.org Film Infoline: 604-683-3456


from page 23

aesthetic, which combines sometimes brutalist, oversized elements with slabs of bold colour and other playful accents. When it came time to examine his papers, models, and other work product, Magid discovered that the whole trove had been sold in 1995 to a Swiss furniture company called Vitra. In fact, the company owner bought it (for about two mill) as a wedding gift for his fiancée, Federica Zanco, a former architectural scholar who likewise fell in love with Barragán’s unique style. Unfortunately, it was a possessive kind of amor, and Mexican academics soon found that Zanco had copyrighted almost everything related to the architect’s work. She further made it impossible to utilize or even visit the archives, and expensive to use the images they already had. The well-shot doc, both breezy and contemplative at under 90 minutes, follows and/or reconstructs the filmmaker’s attempts to penetrate the remote conservator’s museumgrade perimeters. Mostly, this takes the form of a long correspondence between them, culminating with Magid getting the Barragán family’s permission to exhume Luis’s cremated remains and—well, to explain more would spoil the weirder twists here. Let’s just say that neither Zanco nor the Mexican media fully understand the American’s attempts to get at least part of the work back home, where it’s wanted. Or maybe they do, and the subsequent conflict is a performative part of the artist’s conception. The movie’s smooth visual serenity is slightly undercut by Magid’s squeaky, singsong voice, responsible for most of the narration. The story itself is seriously adult, so perhaps the childlike demeanour is another facet of the provocation. Or maybe it isn’t.

BECOMING NOBODY

A documentary by Jamie Catto. Rating unavailable

d IF YOU SPENT any time in a college dorm in the early 1970s, you surely encountered a square-shaped, purple-covered book called Be Here Now—possibly wedged between copies of The Whole Earth Catalogue and Our Bodies, Ourselves. Its author, known as Ram Dass, is one spiritual leader who never really lost his sheen, mainly thanks to his earthy sense of humour. He’s still using himself “as my own case study” at the age of 88.

The man born Richard Alpert was fired from Harvard in 1963, alongside colleague Timothy Leary, for offering then-legal LSD to their psychology students. He was part of Leary’s Millbrook experiment before travelling to India, foreswearing chemicals, and finding a guru who renamed him “Servant of God”. Alpert had a stroke more than 20 years ago, leaving him partially paralyzed—a major blow for someone whose reputation rests more on his conversational expressivity than on any theological dogma. (One of his many rabbinically self-deprecating lines is “If you ever start thinking you’re really enlightened, just

go visit your family.”) This valedictory visit with Alpert, wheelchair-bound in his airy Maui home, finds him as playful as ever. He does need some verbal nudging from director Jamie Catto, a British musician who previously made at least three docs involving Ram Dass. A somewhat goofy presence on-camera, Catto got more serious with his guru’s archive of videotaped talks, which stop short of being lectures thanks to the man’s spontaneous, conversational musings. Among the clips capturing him at various stages of life and beardedness—in the “space suit” he calls his

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

Scan to confess I love Tuesday! Nothing significant happening at all today, thank goodness! Just another day like any other. Come to think of it, I don’t think anything significant happened on this day, or ever will. how about that? :)

From France to Vancouver I moved to Vancouver over a year ago for work as there are more opportunities in Canada for a young working profession. I did not understand the dating culture here. My friends at work have a list of probably 20 items for a man. I keep on telling them that no man can meet that criteria and you must love with your heart and not your eyes. I do not understand why a mans job is so important and... (con’t @straight.com)

Location is everything

Movies

When I purchased my condo recently one of the reasons was it’s location on what I thought was a quiet street one block south of a very busy street. After moving in I discovered my quiet street turns out to be a very busy, noisy shortcut for vehicles looking to avoid the busy street one block south. Motorcycles, huge semi trailers all roaring their engines. Live and learn once again.

TIP SHEET

c TOXIC BEAUTY A powerful indictment of the cosmetic industry, Phyllis Ellis’s doc arrives at the Vancity Theatre on Thursday (September 5).

I confess I nd the young folks

c A COLONY Also starting Thursday, this coming-of-age tale receives four screenings as part of the Cinematheque’s new Québécois cinema series.

working in retail/fast food very annoying. Does anyone have just basic manners anymore? You know, please, thank you, an attempt at being cordial. Just came back from breakfast and the person serving me looked like she was at a funeral with dead eyes and zero communication. Not a one time thing, I see this everywhere.

c ZZ TOP: THAT LITTLE OL’ BAND FROM TEXAS The tres hombres get their overdue close-up at the Rio Theatre on Monday (September 9).

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own body—there are amusing anecdotes about fellow seekers, including Leary. Best of all is a recollection of getting drunk with the late Alan Watts at a Benedictine monastery. “The trouble with you, Dick,” he recalls Watts saying, “is that you’re too attached to emptiness.” Naturally, with death approaching, the Be Here Now man is pretty well prepared to Not Be Anywhere Forever; the last third of the 80-minute film is preoccupied with the particulars of, well, Becoming Nobody. The effect is curiously cheerful, as any viewer can share the wizened teacher’s obvious pleasure at breaking one last taboo. g

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Don’t freak about being physically ideal by Dan Savage

b I DON’T LISTEN to your podcast religiously, but as soon as I told my best friend this story, she said, “That’s a question for Dan Savage!” Back story: I have a monogamous partner who I live with. It’s a heterosexual relationship, but we are both bisexual. That little inkling of homosexuality really drew me to him when we first met. He also told me early on about his previous girlfriend, who looked like a “Suicide Girl” (tattoos, short skirts, dyed black hair, heavy eye makeup) but had serious issues (they had sex only 10 times in three years). I’m by no means a Suicide Girl. I’m pretty average-looking, with natural hair and no tattoos. I don’t wear makeup, and I have an affinity for baggy T-shirts and jeans. I love having sex but rarely do I present myself as “sexy”. Recently I learned that my boyfriend follows hundreds of women on Instagram, and 95 percent of them look absolutely nothing like me. (Remember the hot Suicide Girl girlfriend? They mostly look like her.) It made me really upset. I felt insecure about myself. I felt distrustful of his positive comments about how I look, like he doesn’t actually think I’m sexy. It certainly doesn’t help that I want to have sex way more often than he does. He’s always “tired”. I was angry at him and instantly craving to go back to a sexual relationship with past partners who thought I was the bee’s knees. He has no idea why I would be upset. He says he feels like he’s supporting these women and that they feel “empowered” by all the men leaving comments like “Show me your boobs” and “I wanna shove my cock in you.” He says he deleted his Instagram just to make me happy, but I still feel shitty about

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hell, even exclusively with one notable exception (YOU!) attracted to “Suicide Girl” types. Instead of telling yourself that every compliment your soon-tobe-ex-boyfriend ever gave you was a lie, you could tell yourself that while your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend definitely has a type, he also found you attractive. Because you are attractive. You’re so attractive that you caught his eye despite not being his usual type. In other words, YVOIG, you don’t have to feed your self-esteem into a shredder as you end this relationship. P.S. Your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend may have deleted his old Instagram account, but I promise you he quickly created another one. And here’s hoping your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend only directs “empowering” comments like “I wanna shove my cock in you” at the kind of people on Instagram who regard those types of comments as “supportive”. They’re out there—men and women—but there are fewer of them out there than too many men, gay and straight, seem to believe there are.

the whole thing. Am I being oversensitive? Is he being insensitive? Could we be sexually incompatible? At this point, I’m ready to look outside of our relationship for sexual interactions. - Your Very Ordinary Instagram Girl

I don’t listen to your podcast, either, YVOIG, so that makes us even. (I assume you have a podcast. Everyone does these days.) Zooming out: if we’re going to tell people they shouldn’t be so shallow as to date only their “ideal” physical types and we’re going to tell people they can learn to find a broader array of people attractive and we’re going to tell people they can find a person’s insides so attractive that they warm to their outside—and it’s mostly men people we tell these things, as women people seem less hung up on/entitled to their physical ideals—then we also need to tell people not to freak the fuck out when they stumble over evidence that they aren’t their partner’s ideal physical type. Additionally, we need to tell people that just because their partner has a particular type, that doesn’t mean their partner isn’t also attracted to them. Zooming in: you don’t have a great sex life with your boyfriend, YVOIG, as you seem to have mismatched libidos—and one partner “always” being tired isn’t a problem that gets better over time. These are both signs that you probably need to end this relationship. (Already looking outside your monogamous relationship for sexual interactions? Another sign.) But you can end things without having a meltdown about the fact that your soon-tobe-ex-boyfriend was also or usually or,

b I’M A 28-YEAR-OLD straight guy with one kink: I want to be collared and on a leash. That’s it. In private. Basically, I just want to curl up at my girlfriend’s feet with the leash in her hand. Just me on the floor next to the couch while she watches television, or me on the floor next to the bed while she reads. I’ve had three serious girlfriends, and all three laughed in my face when I told them about this. I’m dating a girl now that I like a lot, and she actually asked me if I had any kinks, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I’m worried about her laughing in my face too.

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People often have knee-jerk, sexnegative reactions to kinky requests not because they necessarily think peeing on someone or leashing someone is hopelessly perverted or disqualifying, LEASH, but because they’ve never imagined themselves peeing on someone or keeping a boyfriend on a leash. The request conjures up a mental image that conflicts with a person’s self-conception— they never thought of themselves as the peeing-on-other-people or keeping-the-boyfriend-on-a-leash type— and nervous laughter is a common response to that particular brand of cognitive dissonance. It would be better if people didn’t have this reaction, of course, but you should brace yourself for it, laugh/shrug it off, and then proceed to explain why this is such a turn-on for you and what’s in it for her. (It sounds like a pretty easy way for her to crank you up when she’s feeling horny.) If the reactions of the last three girlfriends left you scared and scarred, LEASH, tell your current girlfriend via text. (“Hey, remember when you asked if I had a kink? I do: being on a leash.”) Then, if her first reaction is to laugh, you won’t be there to hear it. You might get a “LOL, what?” in response, but don’t let it shut you down. Keep texting, keep it light and playful, show her that you have a sense of humour about it…and you could finally end up on that leash.

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that your sex-positive friends have made two assumptions. First, they’ve assumed you have more power in this relationship because you’re older. (As if youth and maleness don’t confer their own powers!) And, second, they seem to have assumed you have to be abusing your power somehow. It’s a legitimate concern—power is so often abused, and we should all be thoughtful about it. But “often abused” does not equal “always abused”, TOWNY, and in no way are you abusing this grown-ass 24-year-old man. If your sex-positive friends give you any more grief about the age difference, give them grief about their ageism and misogyny. g

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horrors of the world are giving me a renewed sense of purpose. Plus, the sex is phenomenal. What’s giving me pause is that my generally sexpositive friends are deeply creeped out by this relationship due to our age difference. He lives on his own, he has a degree and a career, and he supports himself—so this isn’t a “sugar mama” situation. I have no authority over him in any capacity. I also have no delusions of this lasting forever. Am I really so wrong for enjoying this while I can? My friend circle includes all manner of kinky and queer folks, so their reaction is really throwing me for a loop.

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Profile for The Georgia Straight

The Georgia Straight - Fringe Festival - Sept 5, 2019  

Issue #2694

The Georgia Straight - Fringe Festival - Sept 5, 2019  

Issue #2694