Page 1

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 | FREE

Volume 53 | Number 2699

EXTINCTION REBELLION It’s just getting started

OFFICE POLITICS

Hedy Fry slams Green lease

CELEBRATING THEATRESPORTS Improv goes global

Vancouver

Writers Fest Author Tanya Talaga’s guest curation ranges from Indigenous empowerment to the delights of Stephen King at the city’s weeklong literary bash; plus, Alicia Tobin and Lee Maracle

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CONTENTS

October 10-17 / 2019

12 COVER

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At the Vancouver Writers Fest, Tanya Talaga expresses her faith in Indigenous artists and youth. By Alexander Varty Cover photo by Richard Lautens/Toronto Star

6

NEWS

Hedy Fry wonders why her Green opponent’s campaign office is in a building leased by a registered charity. By Carlito Pablo

8

COMMENTARY

Extinction Rebellion wants people to get arrested when it conducts civil disobedience because the tactic works. By Charlie Smith

21 ARTS

Thanks to the International Theatresports Institute fest, Vancouver gets to sample improv from around the world. By Janet Smith

31 MUSIC

FRIGHT NIGHTS WHERE SCREAMS COME TRUE

Cécile McLorin Salvant and Fay Victor add imagination and political passion to the art of vocal jazz. By Alexander Varty

e Start Here 20 THE BOTTLE 32 CONFESSIONS 10 HOROSCOPES 14 I SAW YOU 29 MOVIE REVIEWS 33 POP EYE 11 REAL ESTATE 35 SAVAGE LOVE 26 THEATRE

e Online TOP 5

e Listings 28 ARTS 33 MUSIC

e Services 34 CLASSIFIEDS

Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 53 | Number 2699 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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Jagmeet Singh turns table on reporter on Indigenous funding. Syphilis infections sharply higher in British Columbia. Two Vancouver hotels found using banned replacement workers. What everyone was craning to see on West Broadway. Jared McCann trade is going to haunt the Vancouver Canucks.

GeorgiaStraight @GeorgiaStraight @GeorgiaStraight

The Georgia Straight is published every Thursday by the Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp. Copies are distributed free every week throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, North and West Vancouver, New Westminster, and Richmond. International Standard Serial Number ISSN 0709-8995. Subscription rates in Canada $182.00/52 issues (includes GST), $92.00/26 issues (includes GST); United States $379.00/52 issues, $205.00/26 issues; foreign $715.00/52 issues, $365.00/26 issues. Contact 604-730-7087 if you wish to distribute free copies of the Georgia Straight at your place of business. Entire contents copyright © 2019 Vancouver Free Press, Best Of Vancouver, Bov And Golden Plates Are Trade-Marks Of Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp. SUBMISSIONS The Straight accepts no responsibility for, and will not necessarily respond to, any submitted materials. All submissions should be addressed to contact@straight.com. Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40009178, return undeliverable Canadian addresses to The Georgia Straight, 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C, V6J 1W9

4 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

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


OCTOBER 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 5


NEWS

Fry slams Green’s use of charity space

A

by Carlito Pablo

Liberal incumbent says she’s appalled that her Green challenger is campaigning out of a publicly owned and subsidized building. Vancouver Centre candidate Hedy Fry also professed surprise when told that Jesse Brown’s campaign headquarters at 1459 Barclay Street is the address of a registered charity. Brown is executive director of the charitable organization, the Vancouver Friends for Life Society. The group serves people with serious illnesses like HIV/AIDS and cancer at its West End location. The city’s board of parks and recreation owns the property and leases it to the charity for $1 a year. “I’m quite surprised and appalled, actually, by that news, because, you know, if it’s true, it’s very inappropriate, and I am shocked to hear that,” Fry told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Tuesday (October 8). Fry acknowledged that she knows that Brown “doesn’t have another campaign office”. “I haven’t seen one anywhere else. I’ve seen the NDP office. I’ve seen the

Jesse Brown is on leave as executive director of Vancouver Friends for Life, but the registered charity is still subleasing space to his campaign in Vancouver Centre.

Conservative office,” Fry said. Charitable organizations are not supposed to get involved in partisan political activities, and Brown asserted that nothing of the sort is happening. “The Jesse Brown campaign is completely separate from the Vancouver Friends for Life Society,” Brown told

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Straight by phone. Brown explained that his campaign is renting some space at the charity’s location but he refused to say for how much. “We have a rental agreement with the Vancouver Friends for Life Society for use of the space outside

of programming hours,” he said. According to Brown, the deal covers an office of about 100 square feet, storage for campaign signs, and access to meeting areas. Brown maintained that rentals aren’t something new for the organization. He recalled that earlier this year, Fry rented the place for an event for election volunteers. “This is a win-win for the charity because we do many rentals, including to the Dr. Hedy Fry campaign. She rented it out,” Brown said. “So there’s precedent for other political groups having rented this space, and it’s a great opportunity for the charity to raise revenue.” Going further back, the Green candidate noted that the organization’s founder, Lorne Mayencourt, also rented the property for his political activities as both a federal Conservative candidate and a contender for a B.C. Liberal Party nomination. Mayencourt ran and lost to Fry in the federal election campaign of 2008. “This organization has many political links for many years,”

Brown said. “So I guess it’s the Green Party’s turn.” According to Brown, he started to rent space when he got the Green Party’s nomination in June 2019. Brown added that he went on leave as executive director of the Vancouver Friends for Life Society on September 30. Fry won Vancouver Centre in 1993 and is now campaigning for a ninth term. The longest-serving female MP in Canada’s history said that she had a part in the history of the Vancouver Friends for Life Society. She recalled having asked then Vancouver mayor Philip Owen to have the city lease the property to the organization. Fry also related that the Diamond family put in money to fix the place. It was originally known as the Weeks House, after George W. Weeks, who opened the city’s first Hudson’s Bay store on Cordova Street in 1887. The former residence is now called the Diamond Centre for Living. “The charity is not involved in any political activity,” Brown said. “It’s just raising revenues through rentals.” g

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OPINION

Extinction Rebellion rooted in research

E

by Charlie Smith

nvironmental protesters scored a major coup on October 7 in Vancouver. Their climate demonstration managed to lead all the late-night newscasts. It’s because the Vancouver chapter of Extinction Rebellion peacefully blocked the Burrard Bridge to traffic all day and evening. This was the group’s first major direct action in Vancouver and it was part of an “International Week of Rebellion” for the climate in more than 60 cities. The demonstrators secured the coveted lead spot on the news on the same night that Canadian federal party leaders held their only televised English-language debate. Ten people were arrested in Vancouver. When some were taken away, their bodies went limp. In this way, they appeared as martyrs for the climate in the eyes of some TV viewers. According to Extinction Rebellion Vancouver spokesperson Grace Grignon, this event took months of preparation and workshops were held to train protesters in peaceful civil disobedience. Extinction Rebellion was created last year in the U.K. by former organic farmer Roger Hallam and former scientist Gail Bradbrook. They’ve studied the history of protests and believe that mass peaceful disobedience is the best way to bring about a societal transformation. “According to research on conflicts between non-state and state actors around the world between 1900 and 2006, it was found that 53% of nonviolent campaigns were successful as opposed to 26% of campaigns that used violence,” the Extinction Rebellion website states. “Moreover, of the violent campaigns, 95% had descended

with citizens and communities. Secondly, governments must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and reduce consumption levels. Thirdly, Extinction Rebellion is calling for a national citizens’ assembly to oversee the changes.

When environmental activists took over the Burrard Bridge, it was part of a much larger strategy to bring about real change.

into dictatorship or totalitarian rule within five years.” The group is motivated by the research of Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth. She found that it only takes about 3.5 percent of the population to be involved in protests to bring about large-scale political changes. The objective is to attract “upstanders” who feel compelled to join a movement. TO TRY TO maintain the moral high ground, Extinction Rebellion gives advance notice of its street protests so drivers can plan alternative routes. The group will allow ambulances to pass through protests, if necessary. But it has no concerns about inconveniencing transit operators to get its message across about the urgency of the climate crisis. In Vancouver on Monday, some motorists and transit users certainly were inconvenienced. That was most

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apparent in a fairly massive late afternoon and early evening traffic jam for northbound passengers on the Granville Bridge and Seymour Street exit entering downtown Vancouver. The #2 Macdonald bus, which ordinarily cruises westbound over the Burrard Bridge, was snarled in gridlock on a southbound Granville Bridge offramp to West 4th Avenue. It was a visceral message to these people that the status quo no longer exists. If people turned on their vehicle radios, they learned that there’s a climate rebellion underway. That’s precisely what the Extinction Rebellion protesters were hoping to achieve. And that was reinforced by the latenight newscasts, which made the climate the top story. Even the name, Extinction Rebellion, conveys the gravity of the climate crisis in ways that the names of other environmental organizations—Greenpeace, Pembina

Institute, Dogwood Institute, and Sierra Club—can never do. “Extinction Rebellion” implies that the people on the bridge were fighting for the survival of the human species in the face of potentially catastrophic rises in greenhouse-gas emissions. Even if people disagreed with their methods, it would be hard to question the motivations that drove them to do this. Extinction Rebellion’s demands are straightforward, and it maintains that they are rooted in the scientific truth of the climate crisis. It says, first of all, that governments have failed to protect the public in the face of an unprecedented global emergency. Therefore, governments must begin by telling the truth about the climate and the wider ecological emergency. This includes reversing inconsistent policies and working alongside the media to communicate

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SO WHY launch a climate rebellion in the first place? Activists will point out that under current increases in emissions, Earth is on track for an almost 4 ° C average temperature rise this century over the pre-industrial period. That would cause deadly heat waves that could kill millions, promote more devastating wildfires, and trigger food shortages that could lead to the breakdown of societies. This temperature rise doesn’t even account for the possibility of climate feedback loops kicking in, such as the release of massive amounts of carbon stored in warming oceans. All of this could conceivably come together to lead to the extinction of the human species. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there’s still time to take action to turn this situation around. Extinction Rebellion argues that, to date, governments have been utterly negligent, justifying a popular uprising. The recent shutdown of the Burrard Bridge is only the beginning. I suspect that in the months and years to come, there will be many more protests like this and many, many more arrests. That’s because Extinction Rebellion has such a compelling message and offers a means for people to take action. g

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HOROSCOPES

C

by Rose Marcus

anada’s Thanksgiving weekend is ideal for taking a short time out. Even so, don’t expect to find yourself sitting still, at least not for long! Sunday delivers a full moon in Aries. Venus in Scorpio hits full tilt with Uranus on Saturday. It can be a good cash-in day for retailers and entertainment providers, and also good for spontaneous choices. An impulse purchase or scratch-and-win could make your day. Venus/Uranus can create an added spark in the social or sexy department. (Thinking about surprising your lover? Good idea.) Saturday night and the first half of Sunday could dish up the best of the weekend. On the other hand, Venus/Uranus can make for an edgy or stressful Saturday. Emotional undercurrents (trust issues, resentments, et cetera) can be difficult to keep under wraps. If that is the case for you, know that the full moon, well aligned with Jupiter for the first half of Sunday, sets an opportunity backdrop for emotional honesty. You stand to gain when you face it head-on. Pluto in Capricorn adds a pressure ceiling to the full moon. There’s an added awareness of how little time is left and how important it is not to waste a minute of it. The score, the priority, and the direction forward change in some no-turning-back (and karmic) way. Watch for significant action on the world stage regarding our upcoming election and politics here at home, too. Despite accompaniment from several softening transits, the full moon could trigger anger, aggression, or violence. First comes frustration, then release. To the plus, Mercury in favour to Saturn on Sunday and Neptune on Tuesday suggests we can hold a productive dialogue. We’ll see a naturally unfolding and timely progression over the week ahead.

A

ARIES

March 20–April 20

Whether you have something special planned or not for the long weekend, the stars have signed you up for added excitement. Saturday can trigger a fresh incentive, a change of heart, an impulse purchase, added expense, or something spur-of-the-moment. One way or another, the full moon sets you up to regain control. Sunday/Monday, an important corner is turned. Tuesday runs smooth.

B

TAURUS

April 20–May 21

Saturday/Sunday, something strikes a chord or goes snap. To the plus, Venus/Uranus lets you off the hook and/or buys you well-deserved time off. The transit stimulates creativity, a great find, or something entertaining. Sunday’s full moon could produce a flare-up or could break the ice or silence and thrust or force you into action. Monday, you’ll turn a corner. Tuesday diffuses it, brings ease.

C

GEMINI

May 21–June 21

The long weekend is ideally timed for a break from the work, although if you are hosting the Thanksgiving to-do, you might not get much of a reprieve. A change of pace is as good as a rest. Saturday can dish up something fun or extra. Sunday/Monday, the full moon in Aries can push the refresh or reset button. Tuesday, ease into it.

D 10 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

CANCER

June 21–July 22

Cut loose as best you can this weekend. Even so, with Venus/ Uranus setting off sparks and the full moon putting you under added pressure, you could face more than you bargained for. Something or someone can provoke you, speed up the process or the reality. Monday/ Tuesday produces a change of heart, mind, or momentum. Let it go; shift gear; move on.

E

LEO

F

VIRGO

G

LIBRA

H

SCORPIO

I

SAGITTARIUS

J

CAPRICORN

K

AQUARIUS

L

PISCES

OCTOBER 10 TO 16, 2019 July 22–August 23

Some things can wait; some can’t. Ditch the extras and aim for the top of your list this weekend. A scouting mission could be quite productive. A take-a-break or getaway weekend is also well deserved. Monday brings a noticeable shift of attention or momentum. Back-to-work Tuesday is smooth-running. Simple and straightforward is the best way to play it. August 23–September 23

Replenish; refresh. Holding court over the long weekend, the Aries full moon is good for a battery recharge. Jettisoning you past a longstanding roadblock regarding heart, wallet, or confidence level, it sets you up for a timely breakthrough. Backto-work Tuesday fits like a glove. Your communication flow is good. One thing leads to another; the week ahead keeps you on a productive roll. September 23–October 23

Saturday is good for a social, activity, or energy pick-me-up. You’ll get it off the ground, move to higher ground, or get it off your chest this long weekend, perhaps unexpectedly. Shut down, closed off, or held back no longer, the full moon in Aries (at peak on Sunday but effective through Monday) fast-tracks you, it, or them. The past is quickly surpassed. October 23–November 22

Take a break! Put your needs and personal interests first this weekend. Even so, watch for the phone to ring or for a fresh burst of energy to grab hold of you. Saturday through Monday, Venus/Uranus and the full moon in Aries thrust you into the thick of it. To the plus, you can gain a jump-start on something that needs fixing. November 22–December 21

One way or another, it’s good to get the body moving this weekend. The heart also gets a good pump-up from the full moon in Aries. Never a dull moment, Friday through Sunday keeps you/keeps it going strong. Monday is well set for switching gears and for staying a step ahead. Tuesday to Thursday, the stars make for easy navigating. December 21–January 20

Something spontaneous or outside of the usual hits the spot, especially Saturday. Sunday/Monday, there’s something to work through. Keep focused on the endgame. What might initially seem hard to get past or accomplish will take on a life of its own. Once you’ve cracked the code, you’re onto a fast track. Tuesday runs easily and naturally. January 20–February 18

Cut yourself extra slack this weekend. Try something or someone new on for size. While Venus/Uranus is good for a fresh infusion, it can also hit a trigger or a nerve. If tension builds or something unexpected crops up, face it head-on; don’t skirt around it. Seize the opportunity and get it out of the way. February 18–March 20

Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or spend your personal time elsewise, you are a busy one this long weekend. Sunday/Monday, the full moon can take the brakes off something that has been long in the works. You’ll make faster progress from here. Tuesday, inspiration, creative flow, and opportunity are at peak. Mercury/Neptune sets you up for ease and gain. g Book a reading or sign up for Rose’s free monthly newsletter at rosemarcus.com.


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West End condo owners riled by proposed project

R

by Carlito Pablo

esidents at a West End condo building have a final chance to be heard by the City of Vancouver about their opposition to a proposed development next door. That will be on October 15, when the development permit board takes up the application for 1289 Nicola Street. Located steps away from English Bay, the development involves a six-storey building with 13 residential units. There is a four-storey condo property at 1279 Nicola Street that is adjacent to the proposed development. It’s called Ocean Vista, and a number of its residents have been opposing the project, with the website Fight1289nicola.com as their medium. According to the website, there was a “strategy meeting for residents of 1279 Nicola” on Tuesday evening (October 8). Some residents are, apparently, planning to address the development permit board on October 15, and some “talking points” are suggested by Fight1289nicola.com. “What has been proposed is a building that eclipses our Strata Lot literally,” goes one talking point. “It will cast our building in a shadow. Forget about views, this building will deprive many of our units of even sky views.” If the taller building at 1289 Nicola Street gets finished, the name Ocean Vista will become irrelevant, the site suggests: Ocean Vista was “conceived around a central courtyard garden” and the development will block sunlight from reaching the spot, killing a magnolia tree and other plants. “Ocean Vista is home to several families; with the blocking of the light to the courtyard units their children

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will have limited access to daylight from the interior of their homes and be required to live in basement like conditions,” one talking point explains. The proposed project will mean the demolition of four two-storey rental townhouses at 1509–1533 Harwood Street. For the project, the development gets a new address, which is 1289 Nicola Street. The Fight1289nicola.com site suggests building townhouses along Harwood Street and a taller structure at the corner of Nicola and Harwood. This would allow “adequate light” to enter the next-door courtyard “later in the day”. The project was originally designed to have one condo unit on each of the first five floors. The sixth level was designated as amenity space, with a guest room that will be shared by the future owners. A revised application submitted by Cornerstone Architecture on behalf of the owner, Dimex Group, increased the number of units to 13. g

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OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 11


FALL BOOKS

Talaga finds strength in storytelling

T

by Alexander Varty

anya Talaga is guest-curating three events at the Vancouver Writers Fest—and one of them is not like the others. The apparent anomaly would be A Tribute to Stephen King, in which the author, journalist, and 2018 CBC Massey lecturer will join more than a dozen other authors to celebrate the creator of The Shining, The Stand, and It. “He’s not just written horror books or thriller books, you know; he also writes about writing.…and his words on writing as an art are amazing,” Talaga says, calling from her Toronto home. “I was sitting around with my partner, and we were talking about what we could do that would be fun. And we said, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be great if we could get Stephen King?’ And apparently Stephen King’s always invited to various writers’ festivals in Vancouver, but he won’t come. So we thought, ‘Well, we’ll just hold a night without him.’ So it is a fun sort of night; just come and share and talk about your favourite Stephen King book. It’ll be wild!” Talaga laughs, recognizing that the event sounds somewhat out of character. It’s not that the Anishinaabe and Polish-Canadian writer is unacquainted with horror: she faces it head-on in her debut, Seven Fallen Feathers. But the malignancy she describes in that powerful and disturbing volume is far from fictional, having to do instead with the political apathy, police negligence, and deeply ingrained racism that led to the deaths, by murder or suicide, of seven Indigenous youths from northern Ontario. Subtitled Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, the book is set in Thunder Bay, but one of its hard truths is that its events could just as easily have taken place in

All of the literature that we write…tells truth in story, and it’s all essentially political. – Tanya Talaga

Vancouver Writers Fest guest curator Tanya Talaga says Indigenous artists are leading the way to social change. Photo by Richard Lautens/Toronto Star

Prince George or Fort McMurray or Chicoutimi. The violence it describes is endemic in this supposedly peaceful and progressive country. All Our Relations, which compiles Talaga’s Massey lectures, is a more hopeful undertaking. It’s a cleareyed look at how to go beyond the hollow promises of “reconciliation” towards real Indigenous empowerment—and, for us settlers, how to gain a deeper understanding of the historical and present-day injustices Canada’s First Nations have endured and are enduring. “We still have boil-water advisories in many of our communities,”

12 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

Talaga points out. “We still have inequities when it comes to our kids not being able to get access to highschool education, access to clinics with doctors and nurses that are stocked with medicine, the lack of Indigenous participation in the job market, prisons in Canada being full of our people.…There are still so many inequities everywhere we look. Where have we gone in the last three years? It doesn’t seem like it’s too far.” For all that, Talaga describes herself as optimistic. “I have faith and hope in the people that I know and the people that I see—Indigenous leaders throughout this country

we call Canada,” the mother of two reports. “And in the youth, I should specifically say. You see hope with the youth, you know, and some of the work they’re doing—the language revitalization, getting back on the land, finding out about who they are, where they belong, and how to carry the rest of us forward. That gives me faith, and that gives me hope. [Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairman] Murray Sinclair once said to me, ‘We can’t rely on others to get us to where we want to be. We have to do things for ourselves.’ And.…his words are so true. “I think the artists are leading the way,” she adds, and that’s borne out by the other Writers Fest events she’s coordinating. On Belonging: Indigenous Strength and Hope in the Wake of Genocide places Talaga in the company of poet Cassandra Blanchard and essayist Alicia Elliott to look at how positive change might come out of the rising awareness around Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women. Voices for Change, in turn, brings her together

with interdisciplinary artist Carey Newman, lawyer and author Harold R. Johnson, and activist academic Daniel Heath Justice to expand on the message of the latter’s book, Why Indigenous Literature Matters. “We’re all storytellers telling our truth, and all of the literature that we write, be it fiction or nonfiction, it all tells truth in story, and it’s all essentially political,” Talaga says. “It’s all about rights; it’s all about strength and hope and love for community. Everything we do—music, art, fiction, nonfiction, poetry—it all has the same base, and art is always at the forefront of social change.” As for what Canada’s non-Indigenous population can do, Talaga has a straightforward message. “Look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action,” she says. “Try and apply one of those to your life as a settler. What is in there that you can do just to change something small about your actions and your life? The 94 calls are really easy to read; most of them are just a couple of sentences, and they offer some insight for everyone on what they can do to help. And, other than that, stay politically engaged. Support Indigenous people, know what the true issues are for the country—and get out there and vote.” g Memoirist Jael Richardson interviews Tanya Talaga as part of the Vancouver Writers Fest’s opening-night event, at the Waterfront Theatre on October 22. A Tribute to Stephen King takes place at Performance Works on October 24. Voices for Change is at the Granville Island Stage on October 25. On Belonging: Indigenous Strength and Hope in the Wake of Genocide is at SFU Woodward’s Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema on October 26. For a full Vancouver Writers Fest schedule, visit writersfest.bc.ca/.


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FALL BOOKS Vancouver Writers Fest thinks green

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Author and activist Maude Barlow will appear at a Vancouver Writers Fest event on October 23. Photo by Michelle Valberg

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> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < TREVOR WE MET AT OKTOBERFEST

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SERVER AT GREEN TIMBERS PUB

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 4, 2019 WHERE: Vancouver Alpen Club

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 7, 2019 WHERE: Green Timbers Pub

Trevor, I'm Renée. We met upstairs at Oktoberfest on Friday, Oct 4. I posed for a photo with you and your friends. You're a firefighter. I was in a pink & green dirndl and you were wearing jeans, a black T-shirt, a jean jacket, and an Oktoberfest hat. I should have grabbed your number and expressed that I was interested. I would love to dance with you!

You were my server at the Green Timbers Pub. I was wearing a grey hoody with short brown hair and a beard sitting by the fireplace. Our eyes met as I walked out and I felt a connection.

MELTING OVER AVOCADOS

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 7, 2019 WHERE: Whole Foods Kitsilano We stood together squeezing avocados, looked at each other and smiled. You commented on the erotic nature of this. I laughed. My husband arrived and broke our moment. You: black jeans, T-shirt, dark hair Me: white T-shirt, jeans, red heels, blonde. Let’s squeeze some avos together.

WATCHING JOKER AT LANDMARK

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 6, 2019 WHERE: New West Landmark Cinema You, cute brown girl with her friends, a couple, top last row at the theatre for Joker. You smiled at me as I sat next to you with my buddy, and we made eye contact a few times throughout the movie, especially laughing at that one scene where you pointed out to me your friend laughing uncontrollably. You said they all deserved it at the end and I wanted to ask for more of your thoughts, your name, your number, but I let the chance pass. If by some chance of fate you see this, let me take you to another movie and this time we can laugh together?

SOFI TUKKER - TINY HAT

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 4, 2019 WHERE: The Commodore I had on a tiny hat at the Sofi Tukker show and you commented that you enjoyed it. I think you might have said you loved it. I proceeded to tell you about how tall you were and how I hoped you wouldn't stand in front of me and my friend. I even asked "How's the weather up there?". I was drunk and thought I was funny. I am guilty of tall shaming you. I'm so sorry. Please let me know how I can make this better. I actually love y'all people and have a lot of tall friends. I feel bad.

LANGLEY

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: MAY 15, 2019 WHERE: Nando's Chicken I would never do this but I find you so beautiful! And not sure where you went. We chatted at Nando's briefly and I've seen you around the complex. You don't work there anymore but it would be nice to chat over coffee.

JEFF I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU MY NUMBER.

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 WHERE: Front of Pump Jack Pub Davie Street Jeff is your name, mine is Blair. Monday around 10-10:30 you just left Pump Jack. You asked for a cig out front and I gave you a menthol. We talked for a while and I referred you to a venue. I really should have given you my number. Hope you see this ad and respond. Cheers.

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 3, 2019 WHERE: Shoppers Drug Mart on East Hastings and Kaslo I saw you at Shoppers Drug Mart on East Hastings and Kaslo on October 3rd, 2019 at around 11:40am You are tall, around 6' to 6'2", I think. Around late 20s to early 30s, brown hair, stubble/short beard, great outfit with corduroy. I was standing behind you in the line for the pharmacy. I was wearing a black turtle neck sweater and dark jeans and black boots and was holding a bunch of things so my arms were full. I have slightly shorter than shoulder length, dark brown hair. You took a buzzer to wait for your prescriptions. I wanted to talk to you and tell you that I loved your outfit but I was shy. If you see this, send me a message. I'd love to go out with you sometime.

GIRL IN THE LANDCRUISER DRIVING TO SQUAMISH

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 WHERE: Second Narrows Bridge I was driving on the Second Narrows bridge in my red Tacoma with 3 of my friends, you were in a Landcruiser with Beavis & Butthead bobble heads, and with one of your friends. All on our way to Squamish. Wish we could have shot guns together. Serendipity.

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Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ 14 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

he Vancouver Writers Fest has a well-deserved reputation for bringing outstanding fiction writers to the city. But this year it’s also hosting discussions with Canadian authors of some of the finest nonfiction books on climate change and water conservation. “Of course, we’re paying attention to what’s happening in the world,” artistic director Leslie Hurtig told the Straight by phone. “And we want to bring to light some of the most important issues of our time. Heaven knows that at the very top are environmental issues.” Books by two of those authors, Naomi Klein and Maude Barlow, have just been released. Klein’s latest, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, lays out in stark detail how to respond to a warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we only have until 2030 to keep the average global temperature increase to 1.5 ° C above the period just before the Industrial Revolution. Failure could lead to runaway climate change if feedback loops kick in that are outside of human beings’ control. The Green New Deal is a proposal to address inequality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Building on her epic 2014 bestseller, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Klein draws upon the history of the introduction of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. She reveals how powerful forces will try to derail climate justice—and how to outflank them. One of the keys, she explains, is to recognize that hard limits on consumption do not need to be associated with declining quality of life. In this regard, FDR showed the way in the Great Depression, demonstrating how publicly funded art and improved access to recreation and nature could do wonders for a community’s well-being.

“We already know that these are the kinds of lifestyle changes and leisure activities that tangibly increase happiness and fulfillment but, particularly in the US, debates about climate action remain trapped in a paradigm that equates quality of life with personal prosperity and wealth accumulation,” Klein points out in the book. “If the political roadblocks to a Green New Deal are to be broken, this equation will need to be broken too.”

We want to bring to light some of the most important issues of our time. – Leslie Hurtig

On Fire also includes an extensive section on Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, whose unvarnished truths have inspired young people around the world to launch climate strikes as part of the #FridaysForFuture movement. “Greta’s voyage from invisible schoolgirl to global voice of conscience is an extraordinary one, and looked at more closely, it has a lot to teach about what it is going to take for all of us to get to safety,” Klein declares. “Thunberg’s overarching demand is for humanity as a whole to do what she did in her own family and life: close the gap between what we know about the urgency of the climate crisis and how we behave.” Klein’s event will take place on October 26, when programming is

Books TIP SHEET

c IF YOU LOVE books, you know that the local lit-fest season is now in full effect, rolling along on momentum from the annual late-September returns of Word Vancouver and LiterAsian. Still ahead are celebrations as various as the Vancouver Art Book Fair (October 18 to 20 at Emily Carr University of Art and Design) and, of course, the weeklong, highprofile program of the Vancouver Writers Fest. Running from October 21 to 27 at venues clustered on Granville Island and scattered around town, the VWF’s latest edition brings a signature mix of fastemerging and big-name authors (several of them profiled in this issue of the Straight). The list of local luminaries includes Michael Christie, Anakana Schofield, Alix Ohlin, Steven Price, and Ian Williams—the last three of whom are set to join Ontario’s David

Bezmozgis, Quebec’s Megan Gail Coles, and Newfoundland’s Michael Crummey for an openingevening celebration of this year’s Giller Prize finalists. Also in the running for an award—in this case, an obscure matter called the Booker—is American novelist Chigozie Obioma, who appears in conversation with Sirish Rao and then again with fellow international stars Tash Aw and Joanne Ramos on the fest’s first two days. In the wake of these comes a packed program of readings, workshops, and performances, including a full menu geared to young readers, not to mention a series of hopeoriented events on some of the biggest issues in the news. Find all of the details about the VWF’s 80-plus events and 100-plus authors at writersfest.bc.ca/. g

being offered for free or for whatever anyone can afford to pay. “That’s an initiative we started last year,” Hurtig said. “We want to make the festival as accessible as possible to all people in the Lower Mainland. And to be able to present an author of Naomi’s calibre to an audience free of charge—it feels good. It feels like the right thing.” Water will be at the centre of another Vancouver Writers Fest event with Barlow, Victoria author Sarah Cox, and UBC journalism professor and anthropologist Candis Callison. Barlow’s newest book, Whose Water Is It, Anyway?: Taking Water Protection Into Public Hands, delves into the history of water privatization and how to counter it. In the book, she also explains how cities have become “blue communities” by making access to clean, drinkable water a basic human right, ensuring that municipal and community water remains under public control, and discouraging single-use plastic water bottles. “The awareness of our collective responsibility to protect the planet’s freshwater and share it more justly needs to grow, as must the understanding of the need to take action,” Barlow, honorary chair of the Council of Canadians and chair of the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch, writes in the book. Hurtig’s father, Mel, a publisher and author, was the founder of the Council of Canadians, so she’s very familiar with Barlow’s long-standing efforts in this area. Barlow’s fellow panellists, Cox and Callison, have also distinguished themselves through their research. Cox’s astonishing 2018 book, Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro, is a devastating indictment of large hydroelectric projects that displace communities and trample Indigenous rights. Callison, a member of the Tahltan First Nation, is the author of the 2014 book How Climate Change Comes to Matter: The Communal Life of Facts. In it, she examines efforts by scientists, science journalists, evangelicals, Indigenous leaders, and corporate-social-responsibility advocates to encourage a diverse group of Americans to care about this issue. Hurtig said that she’s looking forward to seeing these three women on-stage in discussion with one another. “Access to natural resources becomes more fraught, obviously, in the face of climate change,” Hurtig added. “And the question of who owns the water and the land that it runs through is going to be very much at the top of our news cycle and our minds as the years go on.” g Maude Barlow, Candis Callison, and Sarah Cox join Leila Harris in conversation at Performance Works on October 23. Naomi Klein will be interviewed by Kathryn Gretsinger at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts on October 26. Both events are part of the Vancouver Writers Fest.


FALL BOOKS

Maracle’s storied career decolonizes knowledge by Maggie McPhee

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4 p.m. • Automotive trades Through her art and activism, Lee Maracle has spent a lifetime seeking to fill the cultural crater left by the residential-school system. Photo by Columpa C. Bobb

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tories contain all knowledge, according to Sto:lo elder Lee Maracle. The performance artist, author, and activist returns to her hometown for the Vancouver Writers Fest to celebrate a lifetime of reclaiming and exalting Indigenous knowledge through storytelling. Last year, Maracle was named an officer of the Order of Canada for her efforts empowering Indigenous perspectives as both a writer and a mentor. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction blend mythology with modern life to address contemporary symptoms of systemic racism. Over the course of her career, Maracle has established herself as a staunch critic of Canada’s colonial apparatus and devoted defendant of Indigenous self-determination. Her 2017 collection of essays My Conversations With Canadians speaks incisively and without decoration to the settlers occupying stolen land. She covers cultural appropriation, science as an ideology, and reactionary politics with dizzying honesty. (On marginalization she writes: “In order for me to be marginalized in your mind you must be further convinced that you are at the centre of the universe.”) Maracle speaks to the Straight with the same candour. Over the phone from Toronto, she delves into Canada’s history of separating Indigenous people from their knowledge and how she imagines returning displaced stories to their rightful communities in the future. Whether about medicine, morality, or moving through the land, “story contains that knowledge and is the key to even further knowledge,” Maracle says. But when colonists landed in Canada, they dismissed some local beliefs as “old wives’ tales” and appropriated the rest. “All oral knowledge is folk knowledge and belongs to everybody,” Maracle explains. “Only written knowledge—that is their [colonial] knowledge—belongs to anyone. There are no legal protections for appropriating Indigenous knowledge.” Over time, colonizers co-opted that knowledge, claimed it as their own, and kept it as archives in universities only accessible to themselves. “Now most of us don’t even know what knowledge is in those stories, or where they are, or what archives.” For millennia elders passed their wisdom on whenever they saw a need to learn arise among the younger generations. The elders in Maracle’s life, for example, emboldened her burgeoning interest in storytelling. “The role of elders and parents is to feed a child whatever they need to realize their path. But they were only looking

after this one little child,” Maracle says, referring to herself. “All the rest of the children were at residential school. So the variety of knowledge the elders held did not necessarily get transmitted.” Canada’s residential schools left a crater in the Indigenous body of knowledge that Maracle has toiled a lifetime trying to fill. Maracle’s 2014 novel Celia’s Song, recently nominated for the 2020 Neustadt Prize, folds the Sto:lo myth of a two-headed serpent into a modern family drama. In it she writes “remembering is about the context but the context has changed.” Maracle offers three suggestions to Indigenous people for remembering life before colonization and the centuries of ethnocide that have eroded their traditional practices and the natural landscapes from which those practices arose. First, read the archives. Second, share the fractured knowledge across Indigenous nations. And lastly, find and talk to elders. That’s what Maracle did. “I visited 40 or 50 communities and ended up with the knowledge of about 100 different elders in the Salish Territory,” she recalls. “That was my job, as far as I was concerned. Before I went to work for anybody I had to do that. And I took my kids with me.” Most recently, Maracle teamed up with her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter to write Hope Matters. This collection of poems published in April weaves their three distinct voices into a chorus of courage, outrage, and love. It is an egoless affair. The matriarchs stare down the darkness to learn from it, to give their optimism grit. With language both intimate and inclusive they traverse an imagined path towards decolonization. The path requires true justice, reconnecting with the land, and, time and time again, hope. In a poem titled “Justice Is an Ember”, Maracle writes “Let our songs ring out/Let our fire burn/Let our humanity/sing songs of hope.” She sees plenty of reasons to sing such songs. “My young people are getting me to sit around in a circle every few months to tell them a story and then talk about the story,” she recounts. “They’re all women who are going to pass on that story and they’re all young. I’m not worried about anything. Because if anybody else is doing that—and sure they are—then we’re going to be okay.” g Lee Maracle will discuss her work at two events in this year’s edition of the Vancouver Writers Fest, which runs from October 21 to 27. See writersfest.bc.ca/ for complete details.

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# EXPERIENCEVCC OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 15


FALL BOOKS

Tobin’s essays lead to cathartic laughs Words and pictures to keep grey days at bay

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by Andrea Warner

ank Tobin is a very good dog. The black, curly-haired miniature poodle belongs to comedian and writer Alicia Tobin. He is already Internetfamous thanks to Retail Nightmares, the weekly podcast Tobin cohosts with musician Jessica Delisle. Hank is a frequent topic of conversation and is usually Tobin’s regular choice for “Puppo of the Week”. But with the release of Tobin’s first book, Hank is about to hit the big time: literary fame. He’s a major part of So You’re a Little Sad, So What?: Nice Things to Say to Yourself on Bad Days and Other Essays, particularly the final essay, “Three Dogs”. “The dog essay, I can’t get through it without crying and I think that’s because dogs are just these innocent, beautiful, bright lights,” Tobin tells the Straight, sitting on the couch in her apartment. “They really have shaped my life so deeply. So that one’s really hard. I’m tearing up talking about it.” She laughs and wipes her eyes. So You’re a Little Sad, So What? is Tobin’s first foray into personal-essay writing, and her voice is a unique addition to the new CanLit landscape. Like Tobin’s comedy, the book is funny in big ways and small, quiet ones. There are laugh-out-loud revelations, stories, and anecdotes, but there are also countless moments of gentle hilarity, wry observations, and fun weird jokes about animal butts. You can feel her heartbeat on every page, whether she’s writing about city animals or mental health, chronic illness or sexism in the local standup scene, working retail or her personal relationships. “I didn’t know what I would share, and then suddenly I was just sharing big parts of life,” Tobin says, thinking back over her writing process. “There’s things I hadn’t thought about since I was a kid. There were parts of the book

Alicia Tobin looks back on her mother’s struggles. Photo by Tanya Goehring

that allowed me to see myself in a new light, as well, like all these options to become a better person, too. That was probably the hardest part, but also the best. Like, I can be shitty.” She laughs. “And I don’t get a pass on that. So there was really deep personal work that was happening at the same time and I hadn’t made space for that in my life. But you have a deadline. You just work that deadline until something good comes out of it, and this is just what came out of it.” Writing the book forced Tobin to come to grips with things she thought she’d already dealt with, specifically her complicated relationship with her volatile mother, which she details in the heartbreaking essay “Christmas”. It’s a piece she’s only been able to write over the past year, Tobin says, because she’s finally letting go of their relationship. “Most people that can’t have healthy relationships never had an

example themselves,” Tobin says. She’s gentle but fair when writing about her mother’s troubling and unpredictable emotional swings, the rage and cruelty juxtaposed with moments of lightheartedness and laughter, the trauma of abandonment, and how all of these events contributed to a childhood marked by precarity and anxiety. Tobin also has compassion for her mother and knows how hard she has struggled with her mental health. “As a woman in that time, where she grew up in the world and how she grew up in the world affects how you can be happy and healthy, too. There were no resources for people. There aren’t a lot of resources for anybody now for mental health, but at that time, zero. And it’s not something that we can even talk about. She did so many things so well, and she tried so hard, and I can’t take that away from her even though it was really painful and really hard.” What’s made it easier for Tobin is learning to treat herself with a little kindness, too, affording herself space in her own narrative, allowing herself to be seen, finally, after all this time. “I gave myself permission,” Tobin says. “I felt very disloyal at times [to her mother], but I have a story to tell, and there’s other children like me out there. When I meet other children like me, it’s a really big deal, because a lot of growing up like us is shamebased. I want to know people. I want to know people’s stories, I want people to feel like their story is important, and that they deserve better. And also I want people that are like my mom to know that they can get help, and they’re not alone, either.” g Alicia Tobin will make three appearances at this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest, running from October 21 to 27. For more, see writersfest.bc.ca/.

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These graphic novels tell four very different stories by John Lucas

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ometimes the thing you need to get you through a typically overcast autumn day in Vancouver is that perfectly balanced combo of words and images that only a graphic novel can deliver. Here are four suggestions, all written by Canadians (although one of them was drawn by a Brit), and all telling very different stories.

talented illustrator and designer whose savvy aesthetic here seems to draw on an array of influences, from Hayao Miyazaki to Moebius. HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS (By Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh. DC Ink) With Todd Phillips’s bleak and violent Joker dividing critics and allegedly inciting incels, it’s instructive to contrast it with another stand-alone origin story set in Gotham City. The tone of Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass couldn’t be more different, though. Writing in the voice of 15-year-old Harleen Quinzel, Toronto-born Mariko Tamaki tells a story as exuberantly hypercaffeinated as you could hope for, framing the world through the funhouse-mirror perspective of a character who is definitely too smart for her own good and almost certainly a little bit crazy. It’s fun, and British artist Steve Pugh’s images match Tamaki’s tone panel by panel, but the plot touches on some realworld topics, including gentrification, the marginalization of LGBTQ+ people, and the power of community. There’s a Joker in this deck, too, but it’s not Joaquin Phoenix’s pu s he d-to -t he -br i n k Arthur Fleck. I would tell you who it is, but that would spoil the fun.

AGNES, MURDERESS (By Sarah Leavitt. Freehand) The story goes that Agnes McVee owned a roadhouse in the Cariboo region, where prospectors on their way to or from the goldfields could get a bed for the night and some company to keep that bed warm. If they didn’t watch their backs, they could also be relieved of their gold and even their lives. It’s an unverified (and almost certainly fictional) chapter in B.C. history, and Vancouverbased Sarah Leavitt uses it as a jumping-off point for a portrait of a complicated and deeply troubled woman. Raised in austerity on a remote Scottish island by her imposing grandmother, Gormul, who might or might not be a witch, Agnes eventually makes her way to Canada. She’s looking to recapture the wild isolation of her childhood— and also escape the ever-present, taunting voice of Gormul—in what she perceives as an empty frontier CARPE FIN too young to hold ghosts. Agnes is Yahgulanaas. a killer with no apparent empathy for others, but did her soul become twisted by a generational curse, or is she simply a psychopath? Leavitt conjures a vivid sense of place in just a few simple brushstrokes, but she doesn’t offer any easy answers. ONCE OUR LAND 2 (By Peter Ricq. Scout Comics) If you haven’t read the first part of the story, this collection of the second series of Peter Ricq’s epic steampunk sci-fi adventure can be a bit confounding. In 1830s Germany, humans are fighting an invading force of extraterrestrial creatures that, like giant slugs, can be defeated only with sufficient quantities of salt. There is also a war between men and women that gets mentioned but never explained, a separate race of aliens who drive tanks and look a bit like Minions, and a 60-something warrior who is several decades older than his own father. If it’s too confusing, go back and read the first book, or just enjoy the visuals. Ricq—who is also a musician known for his membership in the local bands Gang Signs and Humans—is a prodigiously

(By Michael Nicoll Douglas & McIntyre) In this prequel to his groundbreaking 2009 work Red, Bowen Island artist Yahgulanaas blends Japanesestyle manga with First Nations art, and centuries-old storytelling with contemporary environmental concerns. Using those varied threads (and dropping in references to everything from Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa to the Who’s Tommy), he weaves together a narrative about humankind’s reliance on the ocean and the consequences of trying to rein in the untamable forces of nature. Carpe Fin is actually a large six-panel mural, which is reproduced in its original format on the inside of the book’s dust jacket. (The mural itself will be on exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum for 12 months, starting November 1.) So it’s a monumental statement no matter how you look at it. g Sarah Leavitt and Mariko Tamaki will each make multiple appearances during the Vancouver Writers Fest, which takes place on Granville Island from October 21 to 27. For more info, visit writersfest.bc.ca/.


FOOD

Cookbooks that make for good eats and good reads by Gail Johnson

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Chef Andrea Carlson’s new book includes profiles of farmers. Photo by Janis Nicolay

raphic novels, crime dramas, nonfiction, or art books: what’s on your bedside table? For food lovers, the answer might be cookbooks. A fantastic cookbook doesn’t necessarily have to be a good read; take Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food, for instance. But sometimes a cookbook offers the best of both worlds: recipes you can’t wait to try as well as colourful, compelling stories. Here are two new releases that are as fun to use in the kitchen as they are perfect to curl up with under a blanket.

BURDOCK & CO: POETIC RECIPES INSPIRED BY OCEAN, LAND & AIR

(By Andrea Carlson with Clea McDougall; Penguin Random House) The most anticipated local cookbook of the year, Andrea Carlson’s Burdock & Co. features recipes that have appeared on the menu at the chef ’s cozily delightful Mount Pleasant restaurant at some point since its 2013 opening. Fiercely original, Carlson is a culinary mad scientist, incorporating all sorts of unusual and wild foods in her cooking: think spruce bud, cattail (with its cucumber flavour), epazote (a herb with “base notes of cilantro and petrol”), miner’s lettuce (a leafy ground cover), and staghorn sumac (citrusy and bright). Through Carlson’s memories, descriptions of techniques she favours (like fermentation and pickling), and profiles of foragers and farmers, we get a glimpse into the daily workings at her restaurant. (She also runs Harvest Community Foods in Chinatown.) She doesn’t test and retest recipes but explains how she is very in the moment, with some botanicals being in peak season for only a day or two or fresh for mere hours after picking. We also learn about her evolution as a chef, from her days at Sooke Harbour House to Savary Island (where she and her life/ business partner, Kevin Bismanis, ran a bakery) to Raincity Grill and beyond. Adventurous home chefs will be able to re-create dishes like blood cake with green fennel seed and fried duck egg; black trumpet mushroom risotto with sour bran bubble (which gives the starch an effervescent acidity); and burnt leek terrine with hazelnut romesco and heirloom tomatoes. There’s whimsy, too. Take Carlson’s sour cherry, rose honey, and caramel ice-cream sandwich, and “Presto Pesto (for the Unicorn)”, a simple pasta dish with asparagus, toasted almonds, and garlic that she whipped up for

guest Gary the Unicorn of CBC Kids. Burdock & Co. devotees will also be thrilled to get their hands on the recipe for its famous buttermilk fried chicken and pickles with dill-pickle powder, potato, and dill-pickle mayo. MIXTAPE POTLUCK

(By Questlove; Abrams Books) If Questlove were to have a dinner party, who would he invite and what would be on his playlist? The cofrontman of legendary hip-hop band the Roots (and the Tonight Show Band) answers those questions in his latest cookbook. The silver hardcover book is a guide to the most awesome party the artist born Ahmir Khalib Thompson could ever throw. Who wouldn’t want to nosh alongside the likes of Fred Armisen, Padma Lakshmi, Lilly Singh, Zooey Deschanel, Natalie Portman, Jimmy Fallon, Stanley Tucci, Q-Tip, and many others among the coolest of the cool? There are plenty of revered chefs on his guest list too; Questlove is accustomed to having his own personal chef and being able to hire the world’s best for private dinner parties and events. Notching up the amazingness at this imagined bash is every one of those guests contributing a dish and Questlove selecting a track to accompany it. Here’s an example: Mashama Bailey runs a restaurant in Georgia called the Grey and earlier this year won a James Beard Foundation medal for best chef, Southeast. She chose Country Captain Chicken for the potluck: a savoury, sweet, and spicy comfort dish that calls for two whole chickens and a full head of garlic. Questlove taps her birthplace for musical inspiration; being from the Bronx means that “it was nearly impossible for her to avoid early hip-hop,” he writes. “The actual story of hip-hop’s birth is twisty and complex, but most people accept the Bronx as the borough of its birth: first through the turntable parties of DJ Kool Herc, then through various other innovators, few as innovative as Afrika Bambaataa. I didn’t want to pick ‘Planet Rock’, not because it’s not great, but because it’s almost too iconic at this point. For Mashama, a better match was ‘Renegades of Funk’, equally great and full of rebellious attitude and a respect for history.” You get a musical-history lesson in every bite, with the recipes ranging from Martha Stewart’s grape focaccia (set to Snoop Dogg’s “Life of da Party”) to ginger beer by Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of Harlem’s Studio Museum (cue Solange’s “Fuck the Industry”, for its “principled statement of creative identity”). g

ACCOUNTING CLERK The Georgia Straight is currently accepting applications for the position of Accounting Clerk. This role is responsible for payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable. KEY ACTIVITIES AND DUTIES • ADP payroll administration • Accounts payable • Bank reconciliations • General journal entries • Government remittances • Benefit plan maintenance

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Billing Collections Cash outs & daily bank deposits Credit reference checks Customer inquires Other duties as assigned

KNOWLEDGE & SKILL REQUIREMENTS • 2-3 years’ experience in a similar position preferred • Experience with payroll administration • Knowledge of credit and collection policies and procedures • Some post-secondary accounting training • High level of attention to detail • High level of discretion and professionalism in dealing with confidential information • Ability to multi-task and prioritize effectively in a deadline-oriented environment • Strong work ethic and positive attitude essential If you meet the above requirements and are interested in joining our team, please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@straight.com, quoting competition #AC_GS1019 in the subject line. No phone calls, please. We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 17


DRINK

Go all-in on Gamay for Thanksgiving this year by Kurtis Kolt

Bauhaus sets a new standard for refined dining in Vancouver. Owned by German film director Uwe Boll, the award-winning restaurant is known for its modern take on German cuisine and attention to detail. With Bauhaus Restaurant’s seasonal tasting menu, diners are able to mix and match their choices from a three- to six-course meal that will take them through the tasteful journey of European cuisine seen through West Coast eyes.

The red-fruit flavour of Gamay wines—like the ones shown here—can provide a nice contrast to the salty, savoury character of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

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Bauhaus Restaurant’s executive chef, Christian Kuehnel, had the opportunity to work at some of the best international restaurants, including Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London, listed on the World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants, and Spices, owned by Tim Raue and featured on the Netflix series Chef’s Table. By joining the Bauhaus team, Christian is continuing on his passion to explore what modern cuisine is while he builds relationships with the best local and organic suppliers from the Pacific Coast. “I want to show how far German cuisine has come— and how far it can go”, he says. You are welcome to discover the tastes of modern German cuisine with Bauhaus Restaurant’s seasonal menus.

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ALONG THE DANUBE: STRAUSS, SCHUBERT, BRAHMS AND BARTÓK FRIDAY, 8PM | BELL CENTRE, SURREY SATURDAY, 8PM | ORPHEUM

Surrey Nights & Musically Speaking Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and more: featuring entertaining Viennese conductor Sascha Goetzel and soulful violinist Guy Braunstein. Don’t miss the VSO School of Music Honour Jazz Combo Prelude Concert in the lobby at 7pm on Friday Oct 11. Saturday’s performance includes HD close-ups of the performers.

SASCHA GOETZEL

hen it comes to accompaniment for turkey and trimmings at Thanksgiving this year, I’ve decided I’m going all-in on Gamay as my wine of choice. The redgrape native of France’s Beaujolais region makes for juicy and generally buoyant wines that are enjoyable sippers, particularly when served with a hint of a chill. I always like to think that Gamay’s bright-red and purple fruit can act sort of like the cranberry sauce that provides a nice contrast to the salty, savoury character of turkey and gravy and such. More often than not, they’re affordable crowd pleasers, too! Here are a few recent faves. Haywire Gamay Noir Rosé 2018 (Okanagan Valley, B.C.; $24 to $28, private wine stores), coming out of Summerland’s Okanagan Crush Pad, is a pretty and pink take on the grape. The fruit is sourced a little farther south, from Oliver’s Secrest Mountain Vineyard, where alluvial, gravel, and limestone soils provide the setting for organic-farming practices. Fermented in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is zippy and fresh, with Rainier cherries and raspberries and a few sprigs of basil and mint. It’s available at many private wine stores around town and was most recently spotted at Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street. Caroline and Tim Cottrill have been organically farming their Robin Ridge vineyard in the windswept Similkameen Valley since 1997, and it’s from this vineyard that we get Robin Ridge Gamay 2015 (Similkameen Valley, B.C.; $22.99, B.C. Liquor Stores). Many years back, it was Robin Ridge that got me into British Columbian Gamay, and I fall in love all over again each time I check in with a new vintage. A little richer and meatier than their Beaujolais brethren, I find that besides British Columbian Gamays offering a little more oomph, they can also be a little more spice- and herbdriven. All of that is exhibited here,

rink D OF THE WEEK

STRAUSS & MESSIAEN

MOZART & HAYDN WITH ALBRECHT MAYER

VSO Chamber Players A reflection on World War II: Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen was written in the closing months the war, while Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was premièred in a prisoner of war camp in 1941.

Classical Traditions at the Chan Centre Berlin Philharmonic principal oboe leads as both conductor and soloist, in a concert showcasing Mozart’s witty Overture to Cosi fan tutte, Haydn’s most surprising symphony, and more.

TAUSK CONDUCTS DVOŘÁK’S NEW WORLD SYMPHONY

OCT 30, 8PM | CENTENNIAL THEATRE,

THE FAIRMONT Vancouver Airport Hotel just turned 20. To celebrate, bartender John Robertson—who’s been crafting and pouring drinks there since it opened in 1999— created the Spirit of ’99 cocktail. Available throughout October and made with Wayne Gretzky No. 99 “Red Cask” Whisky, this is a bold libation to mark a milestone.

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RGF Wealth Management Symphony Sundays A favourite symphony, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, made famous by the VSO’s recording for the film Platoon, plus five-time Grammy-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw singing Berio’s touching Folk Songs. OCT 18/19 MASTERWORKS GOLD SERIES SPONSOR

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Parc Retirement Living Tea & Trumpets Christopher Gaze, from Bard on the Beach, hosts a concert that will make you want to take to the dance floor: the great Viennese waltzes, from the likes of Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. OCT 25/26 CONCERT SPONSOR

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2 oz Wayne Gretzky No. 99 “Red Cask” Whisky ½ oz amaro 2 dashes whisky-barrel-aged bitters Add all ingredients to a mixing tin. Stir, then pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with amarena cherry and lemon peel.

by Gail Johnson 20 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

where sunbaked cherries, mulberries, and plums mingle with clove, cardamom, and a smudge of dusty sage. Other local Gamay gems to keep an eye out for include releases from Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, Orofino Winery, and Desert Hills Estate Winery (there’s a good lashing of bacon in that one!), and any sparkling you can track down from winemaker Jay Drysdale’s Bella Wines in Naramata. In fact, just this past weekend, a colleague and I enjoyed a bottle of Bella Wines Gamay Noir Pet-Nat Mariani Vineyard with a brunch of lyonnaise salad with duck-confit lardon, frisée, and poached egg at L’Abattoir in Gastown (217 Carrall Street). Gamay is fantastic at any time of day!

The grape makes for juicy and generally buoyant wines that are enjoyable sippers. – Kurtis Kolt

From vines with an average age of 50, we have Jean-Paul Brun’s Domaine des Terres Dorées Moulin-à-Vent 2016 (Beaujolais, France; $32.99, B.C. Liquor Stores), a handsome, broad-shouldered Gamay that’ll be a great choice for those who want a bit more heft in the bottle. The fruit is hand-sorted, destemmed, and crushed, then fermented with indigenous yeast in both concrete and Burgundy oak barrels. Stirred red plums, blueberries, and dark cherries are flecked with thyme and ride a strong current of acidity and mineral character. We’re used to drinking our Beaujolais rather young, but this one can lay down a few years, easy. Dominique Piron Morgon La Chanaise 2016 (Beaujolais, France; $26.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) also comes from well-steeped 50-year-old vines and is aged in large, neutral oak barrels to offer structure rather than flavour. Cherries are bountiful on the palate and are lightly dusted with dark cocoa, fruity tobacco, and thyme. The tannins are soft and integrated well, making the wine easily approachable and a pleasure to drink. Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacques 2017 (Beaujolais, France; $22.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is grown in granite, clay, and calcareous soils, mostly in the southern part of the Beaujolais region. The wine macerates with the skins, and there isn’t any oak treatment. Juicy and totally crushable with red currants, raspberries, Red Haven peaches, Bing cherries, and a little hibiscus in there, too, the wine is light on its feet and mighty refreshing. The best part? It’s two dollars off at B.C. Liquor Stores through October 26, making what was already a bargain of a quality wine into quite the steal! For that, we can be truly thankful. Happy Thanksgiving! g


arts

A world of improv comes to Vancouver Whacked-out bus tours and kids shows are part of the International Theatresports Institute fest action by Janet Smith

A hyperenergized luchador (left) invites audiences to take a ride in El Jaguar’s Fiesta City Bus Tour, while Norway’s Det Andre Teatret (right) riffs on the playthings that kids bring to The Toys Strike Back!

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hyperenergized, masked Mexican wrestler hosts a warped bus tour of Vancouver. A Norwegian troupe riffs on the Barbies and robot toys that children bring to its performances. And an international team of improvisers take on the trials of the dating app Tinder, as it manifests from Trondheim to Tokyo. The sheer diversity of shows like these at the International Theatresports Institute’s conference and festival this month will expand your ideas of what improv really is. But there’s one big factor linking the performances coming here from countries as far afield as New Zealand and Israel, and it can be summed up in a single name: Keith Johnstone. Born in England, Johnstone taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before cofounding Calgary’s Loose Moose Theatre Company in 1977. He invented many of the improv games the TheatreSports chain uses, such as Maestro, the Life Game, and Gorilla Theatre, and he held a workshop here in 1980 that led to the establishment of Vancouver TheatreSports, first housed at the late, great Back Alley Theatre and now thriving seven days a week at the Improv Centre on Granville Island. Johnstone and his alumni have taken the approach around the globe, seeding the form and watching it evolve in myriad ways—all of which we’ll get the rare chance to see when the biannual global fest is held here. “One thing that really inspires me about this work is that it is global, and that goes back to Keith’s approach to teaching,” comments Vancouver TheatreSports’ Jeff Gladstone, a Loose Moose alumnus and 20-year VTS veteran who’s co–artistic director of the ITI festival with VTS executive director Jay Ono. “It’s quite wonderful and mind-blowing—it’s ‘Let’s set up themes and exercises and find out what’s true.’ ” At the international fest, Gladstone says, Vancouverites may be surprised to experience more theatrical spins on improv than they see in Canada, where the more comedic, sketchlike forms dominate. But many shows en route here dig into deeper themes, and sometimes move their audiences, he says; Gladstone

points to Israeli director Inbal Lori’s The Time Is Now, which is driven by current issues and fears suggested by the audience, and The Bechdel Test, by the U.S.’s Lisa Rowland, which aims to stage an authentic story about a woman that doesn’t revolve around a man. The key is that people stay true to Johnstone’s basic ideas about taking risks; as the TheatreSports founder has famously said, “You can’t learn anything without failing.” At the fest, you’ll see teams celebrate the original Johnstone forms of Gorilla Theatre (where improvisers direct scenes for bananas from the audience) and Maestro (an elimination game in which audiences help determine the improv maestro of the night)—sometimes with international collaborations. But you’ll also see how widely Johnstone’s ideas have been reinterpreted. SPEAKING BY FACETIME from Oslo, Ingvild Haugstad and Stian Gulli agree their company Det Andre Teatret—which performs 11 shows a week, ranging from kids’ productions to riffs on Henrik Ibsen—was never about the laughs. “That will always be our mantra: ‘Don’t always go for the joke,’ ” says Haugstad, whose team was initially taught by Canadian followers of Johnstone. “We are really storybased. You go other places and it’s really snappy and punch-line based. We want to show people also they can cry at improv.” “I think it’s because we’re a great mix of people that come from all over the place,” adds Gulli, pointing out that about half of Det Andre’s members have formal theatre training. The show coming here, The Toys Strike Back!, is one of the troupe’s most popular, and unique in the world of improv. In it, children are asked to bring a favourite toy that might drive the story and become part of the action on-stage. Haugstad and Gulli reveal they have had to build shows on everything from a full-sized bike to a thread of yarn. “There are a lot of robots and teddy bears,” Haugstad admits. And then there was the time one kid brought something else onto the stage. “We’ve had a kid come up and fart,” Haugstad recounts. “Everyone was laughing. I was laughing.”

The pair has found that improvisation skill on its own won’t impress a child; kids are easy experts in that stuff. Det Andre Teatret players need to build engaging stories from their material. And it’s worth the effort, because they find the rewards are often even more satisfying than when they are entertaining an adult audience. “I also love those moments where we go out after the show and we ask the kids ‘Did you know your Barbie is a secret agent?’ and they say ‘Noooo!’ ” Gulli adds with a smile. “And then they’re almost dragging our pants off like a rock concert—at the end you might have all the kids jumping all over you because you’re evil.”

mistakes, learning to laugh at your mistakes is really good,” Haugstad, now head of kids’ programming at the company, observes. DEREK FLORES may be representing Christchurch, New Zealand, when he brings his chaos-loving, spandex-singlet-wearing luchador here for his show’s bus-set ride, but his improv roots are on the other side of the planet, with the Loose Moose Theatre and Johnstone. Flores grew up in Calgary, discovering the art form as a teen. “My mom just wanted to get me out of the house,” he says with a laugh, talking to the Straight over the phone from a tour stop in Cumberland. “She had

Arts TIP SHEET

Keith Johnstone’s classic setups with a cast of international performers. In the show, a guest is interviewed about his or her life and then it’s spontaneously staged in all the ups and downs.

c LUGARES (October 16 at the Nest and October 18 at the Waterfront) Colombia’s Felipe Ortiz and Australia’s Patti Stiles build a show on viewers’ descriptions of a specific, special place (think Grandma’s house). Amid the unscripted mayhem hitting Vancouver from all across the globe during the International Theatresports Institute festival, here are some highlights well worth checking out. The shows come courtesy of 90 improv companies, schools, and universities from 22 countries converging on Granville Island. c THE LIFE GAME (October 17 and 18 at the Nest) Theatresports veterans Veena Sood and Frank Totino direct one of improv guru

Det Andre Teatret has built an adult-oriented version of the show now, in which people are asked to bring in garbage or items they were ready to throw out. But with the kids, there are incredible life lessons that grow out of improvisational theatre. “The focus in improv is making mistakes and with the risk of doing

c THE BECHDEL TEST (October 17 and 19 at the Waterfront) Based on a set of criteria created by feminist cartoonist and author Allison Bechdel, this San Francisco offering (shown at left) aims to tell real stories about real women—without them centring around a male romantic interest. c THE FEROCIOUS FOUR (October 17 and 19 at the Nest) Members of the Dutch all-female troupe become ass-kicking heroines in a show that’s headlined improv fests from Greece to Finland. g

heard about this theatre company, and out of desperation she drove me there. Sunday classes were taught by this eccentric Englishman and we didn’t know who he was then. I found my group of friends, many of whom I’m in contact with today. On-stage, once you hear your first laugh, you’re there. And improv

builds community because the audience is there at the exact same time as you’re creating it, so their energy influences what you create. They are effectively your other improviser.” Flores has never looked back, establishing the company called Meegwai Productions in Christchurch with his wife, Michi Flores, and bringing laughter to a city that’s still recovering from the 2011 earthquake. Cheering them up was actually how El Jaguar, the whacked-out Mexican wrestler, and his bus tours were born. “A lot of people had moved away [from Christchurch] and came back, and we said, ‘How do we re-engage them?’ ” he says. “We said, ‘Hey, let’s take a bus tour with this crazy guy and see old things with new eyes.’ ” Flores transplants the idea to Vancouver with El Jaguar’s Fiesta City Bus Tour. Expect organized chaos and “alternative facts” about locations, complete with popping balloons, streamers, and piñatas. “One of El Jaguar’s main things is, as a wrestler, he’s always wrestling with the world around him and trying to engage people—especially with people being on their devices, their cellphones, a lot,” Flores says. “Can we put down our phones for just a short time and connect with each other?” Fuel for the tour, like all good improv, is randomness. That might mean a stop for awesome gelato or other eats. Flores recounts one tour where the party bus picked up two unaware Argentine backpackers. “All of a sudden there are two extra people who have no idea that this fiesta bus is rolling along and we’ve just scooped them up,” he says with a laugh. “Leave your expectations at the door and arrive ready to go on a roller coaster of chaos,” he advises. That chaos and, more important, that sense of connection are what keeps Flores fascinated with improv in all its forms. “There’s so much more to be done with this art form and that’s what I’ve loved,” he says. g The International Theatresports Festival takes place at the Improv Centre, the Waterfront Theatre, and the Nest on Granville Island from Monday to next Sunday (October 14 to 20).

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 21


ARTS

Resonances fest fuses soundscapes and images

South Granville

by Alexander Varty

p o H y r e l Gal SATURDAY OCTOBER 19th 10 am - 5 pm

Please join these nine galleries on Vancouver’s Gallery Row for a special day of exhibitions, events, talks and incredible art! All are welcome.

sgga.ca Uno Langmann Limited ~ Elissa Cristall Gallery Petley Jones Gallery ~ Heffel Fine Art Auction House Ian Tan Gallery ~ Douglas Reynolds Gallery Marion Scott Gallery ~ Kurbatoff Gallery ~ Bau-Xi Gallery

Sponsored by GUIDE TO GALLERIES + MUSEUMS

At Vancouver New Music’s festival, artist Sammy Chien uses motion-tracking technology to drive animated visuals and a computerized score. Photo by Sheng Ho

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oments before we were due to connect by telephone, Sammy Chien sent me an email that puzzled me deeply—but, once explained, blew my mind. The first message was a set of 10 Chinese characters; interesting, but indecipherable to someone who reads only English and a bit of French. In a follow-up email, though, Chien explained that the ideograms showed the evolution of the Chinese word for “dance”, and then it all made perfect sense. The first was a simple, runic depiction of a human figure. Halfway through the sequence, the glyphs took on more complexity and less humanity, looking more like an architectural plan than a choreographer’s note. And then, closer to us in time, the form had morphed again—into something that looked like an abstract portrait of a body in motion. Together, the 10 images offered a provocative picture of how language evolves—and how a pictographic language can describe nuances of meaning in a kind of visual shorthand. But what do they have to do with multimedia artist Chien’s upcoming performance at Vancouver New Music’s Resonances festival? It turns out that in W(e)aves 0.6, Chien—known for his Chimerik company’s extraordinary work in set and lighting design for theatre and dance—will be using his own dancing body to generate 21st-century pictograms as well as a darkly complex soundscape. He’ll accomplish this by using state-of-the-art motiontracking technology to drive animated visuals and a computerized score that will “comment” on—or perhaps clash with—his movement. “One of the first researches that I started, through the body, was to see if this new technology, interactive motion-tracking, works,” says Chien. “And this was pretty groundbreaking three or four years ago when

3-D motion-tracking came out—the type of motion-tracking that can see dance in the room and then understand where the skeleton is. It’s a kind of skeleton analysis. And then I’m using this skeleton-tracking information to create the visuals in real time, and also the sound. “I’m thinking ‘How can I use my body as an interface to express and create sounds and visuals in real time while telling stories through the body and text?’ ” he adds. The technology, as of yet, is not perfect, but the Taiwan-born Chien has learned to love its glitches, in part because they illuminate one of W(e)aves’ braided narratives—the one examining what it means to be a member of the Chinese diaspora living in Vancouver’s postcolonial, multicultural world. Yes, glitches happen, but they can also offer opportunities for understanding. “We’re all coming from different cultures, and the whole intercultural, transcultural work is about finding ways to integrate—and finding the new, right?” he says. “Like, what kind of society do we have right now? It’s a complex world we’re living in, and that whole purism and monoculture, it’s really done. So how do we fit into this multitude of different cultures? It’s a different way of looking at the world. And that’s why I think this piece is interesting, because in some ways it’s talking about Chinese culture, and in some ways it’s talking about universal culture. “My work really talks about sociopolitical issues,” he continues, “but then it also really addresses the idea that there is something universal within our body. Energy doesn’t discriminate; it’s a force that we all have.” g Sammy Chien presents W(e)aves 0.6 at the Orpheum Annex next Saturday (October 19), as part of Vancouver New Music’s Resonances festival.

By Martyna Majok

Starts tonight! In partnership with Citadel Theatre

christopher imbrosciano and bahareh yaraghi; photo by pink monkey studios

22 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

SAVE $5! Use promo code 2040 at artsclub.com by Wed, Oct 16. Not valid on Zone C

COMMUNITY PARTNER | 2019–20 SEASON

playing at stanley industrial alliance stage

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goldcorp stage at the bmo theatre centre


OCTOBER 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 23


ARTS

China Doll steps beyond foot-binding

M

by Janet Smith

Vancouver Bach Choir performs

BRAHMS GERMAN REQUIEM AND PÄRT BERLINER MESSE October 26 | 7:30pm Orpheum Theatre Pre-concert talk | 6:45pm Robyn Driedger-Klassen | Soprano Andrew Greenwood | Baritone

VancouverBachChoir.com

MEDIA SPONSOR

arjorie Chan’s play China Doll had its beginnings way back in 2001, when she visited the Every Step a Lotus exhibit at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. In a glass case, she examined an impossibly tiny, jewelled and embroidered “lotus” shoe once worn by a woman who had suffered footbinding. And when she moved to look underneath it she saw wear and tear. Foot-binding persisted for a millennium, and Chan now realized that women had to not only walk, but go about their daily lives with a mutilation that started when they were five or six years old. “It was a practice that happened for 1,000 years—and it’s not like women weren’t cooking or cleaning for those thousand years,” the director-playwright-actor remarks, on a break from rehearsal for China Doll’s West Coast premiere, which the Toronto-based artist is helming at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre. Even though China outlawed foot-binding in 1912, Chan also saw immediate connections to today. At the Bata exhibit, she talked with another museum visitor about the absurdity of the tradition as they gazed at the tiny lotus shoes. “And then as she walked away I heard ‘Click, click, click, click,’ ” says Chan. “She was wearing stilettos! I don’t think the challenges of how society thinks of a woman’s body and how she’s objectified is much different now.” Chan set about writing her first play, one that would weave together in-depth research on foot-binding with the parallel history of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which actually circulated in Shanghai teahouses in the early 20th century and fed a feminist revolution amid the rise of republicanism. The script also

Jennifer Tong stars in China Doll as a girl in early 1900s Shanghai. Photo by David Cooper

incorporates the richly embroidered Chinese fairy tales, such as the Cinderella-like Ye Xian, that fed ideals of femininity through the centuries. China Doll follows the comingof-age story of a girl named Su-Ling, and is set in Shanghai in the early 20th century, when the practice of foot-binding was at its pre-ban peak in popularity. Her traditional grandmother wants to marry her off, and her worth as a bride will depend on how dainty her feet are. But the rebellious girl secretly learns to read and comes across a Mandarin translation of A Doll’s House, in which the submissive Nora discovers that she’s led a life of metaphorical imprisonment as wife and mother. And it sets her on a dangerous path to independence. Chan remembers the challenge of distilling her epic themes into a practical length. “At some point it had gotten to three-and-a-half hours long,” she says with a laugh. “I would always joke, ‘Oh, that’s my novel.’ As a young writer I was imagining multiple generations, which normally wouldn’t make it into a play. What was always critical was ‘How do we streamline that?’ ” The playwright needn’t have

worried. Debuting in 2004, China Doll went on to receive Dora Mavor Moore award nominations and a Governor General’s Literary Award nomination. Chan has since written many more plays, and these days she works as artistic director of Toronto’s acclaimed Theatre Passe Muraille. Still, one of her proudest moments goes back to China Doll, when it received its Cantonese-language debut in spring 2017 in Hong Kong, her parents’ homeland. “As they were speaking Cantonese, I was really aware of the rhythms that are still inside my language,” she begins. “Also, I was born in Canada and this was my version of what I’ve learned. I’m Chinese from Hong Kong and I don’t know, directly, any family that experienced foot-binding, though obviously there must have been some, to some extent. So to put this in front of an audience with very strong knowledge of Ye Xian, of foot-binding, of the history—it was an affirmation.” g Gateway Theatre presents China Doll from next Thursday (October 17) to October 26.

A Firehall Arts Centre presentation Inverso Productions/Lesley Telford

SPOOKY ACTION “Telford has a profound way of tapping into emotional and intellectual landscapes.”

Ria Girard | David Cooper Photography

Emily Molnar, Ballet BC

24 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

OCT 16-19 280 E Cordova Street

firehallartscentre.ca | 604.689.0926


ARTS

Guerin’s intense Split takes duet to new heights by Janet Smith

In Partnership with Dancers of Damelahamid

In Split, a clothed dancer joins a naked one, and their performing space diminishes dramatically and metaphorically throughout the show. Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti

A

t the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival earlier this year, a dance piece called Attractor took catharsis to extremes, building to a trancelike frenzy set to punktribal rhythms. The woman who cocreated it, Australian dance veteran Lucy Guerin, has another piece on view in Vancouver this week—but you don’t have to brace yourself in quite the same way. As she puts it over the phone from Melbourne, “It’s kind of like the opposite to Attractor.” Showing the exquisite range and originality that have marked her career, Guerin, with her much-lauded duet Split, narrows her focus and finds a more meditative, haunting level of intensity. In it, two magnetic female dancers—one clothed and one naked—share a square taped off on the floor. Throughout the show, they stop to reduce the size of that square, more and more until conflict inevitably ensues. The Guardian called it “sparse and powerful”. Split arose, in part, because Guerin was craving some quiet time after works like Attractor for Australia’s Dancenorth company and a new version of Macbeth, which she had just codirected at London’s Young Vic. “I did really want to spend some intimate time with two dancers, and just work with time and space and the bodies of the dancers,” Guerin says. The work’s simple premise has deep metaphorical meaning, with its base in Guerin’s own fears for Mother Earth. “The space closes down to quite a dramatic degree. It’s this idea of resources on the planet and just of the land that we’ll have if sea levels keep rising,” Guerin says. “So there was this sense of urgency. “And then the shrinking of time was also something really on my mind,” she adds. “Everyone seems so strapped for time; there’s no time for friendship or trips to the beach.” The idea of playing a clothed dancer off an unclothed one came midway through the process—and

There became a sense of the private, personal self and the public self. – choreographer Lucy Guerin

though she wasn’t sure about it at first, Guerin says it quickly changed the dynamic between the performers. “The thing that immediately struck me was how powerful she [the nude dancer] looks; she didn’t look vulnerable or sexualized or victimized,” she observes. “Between the two of them, there became a sense of the private, personal self and the public self. Some reviewers have said it feels like nature and culture, so I’ve had quite a lot of readings of the work, which has been so interesting.” The New York Times wondered whether the naked character was “a servant, a slave, a spirit”. These are the types of questions Guerin loves to fuel, and the kind of intricate, multilevel dance she loves to create in her company’s warehouse studio in Melbourne. From 1989 to 1996 she danced in New York City, and she accepts commissions around the world, but it is back at home, where she launched Lucy Guerin Inc. in 2002, that she likes to experiment on a more intimate scale. “I feel like the smaller structure allows me more creative freedom for the types of projects I’m interested in,” she says, “and I don’t feel as much pressure.” g

BANGARRA DANCE THEATRE (AUSTRALIA)

SPIRIT

“BANGARRA DANCE IS A TRIUMPH.” HERALD SUN

Lucy Guerin Inc. performs Split at the Scotiabank Dance Centre next Wednesday and Thursday (October 16 and 17).

OCTOBER 25 & 26 8PM VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE TICKETS FROM

TICKETS & INFO: DANCEHOUSE.CA

SE ASON PAR TNERS

© SUSANNAH WIMBERLE Y

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 25


ARTS

Luzia rekindles surreal Cirque magic THEATRE LUZIA

A Cirque du Soleil production. At the Grand Chapiteau at Concord Pacific Place on Thursday, October 3. Continues until December 29

d CIRQUE DU SOLEIL is known for grand spectacle, but often what makes its surreal, retro-Mexico-themed Luzia work so well is its ability to connect on an intimate, low-tech level. At one moment, a single virtuoso maraca player holds the audience in his spell. At another, a singerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dress spontaneously sprouts gorgeous red flowers. And just wait till you see Alexey Goloborodko, known as the most flexible person on the planet, fold himself into impossible human origami, alone on a revolving platform; instead of dazzling high-tech lights, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles rotating on their own axis. In its dream logic and approach, Luzia feels more akin to recent Cirque shows like Totem than to the

Often Luziaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best moments happen on an intimate, low-tech scale, such as an otherworldly contortionist folding himself into human origami amid flickering candles.

stage-filling extravaganzas of Varekai or AlegrĂ­a. It ainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Vegas, baby, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a bad thing; even for those experiencing new-circus fatigue, Luzia holds charms, not least in that it seems very much at home in the big tent (an improvement on Cirqueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spate of stadium-set performances). It helps that our guide through all this is the artist best known as Fool

Kollerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a lanky goof prone to flash rages, hissy fits, and self-flagellation. This rubber-faced loser is simply too recognizably human for the word clown in any circus sense. Even acts like a tightrope walk become more about humble human relationships: here, the acrobat walks and rolls along an eye-level wire to impress the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;50s-frocked girl heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brought to an

outdoor cafĂŠ. A gravity-defying headstand routine becomes a beachside send-up of 1920s Mexican cinema, complete with a preening, handlebarmustachioed lifeguard who works a crowd of bathing-capped beauties. Throughout, the choreography shows the sophistication and artistry that the Quebec-based company has honed over decades, from Goloborod koâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hauntingly balletic feats to the fluid magic of the pole and Cyr-wheel acts. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that there arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t countless awe-inducing moments; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re framed in a sort of KahloRivera-style delirium that avoids Mexican clichĂŠ. In this wild hallucination, humans dressed in their summer best cavort around wearing silver fish heads and pointed marlin-spear hats, and amid the artfully animated puppets, a giant beetle might skitter across the floor. Elsewhere, a trio of cacti stumble across the back of the stage. One of the mindblowers is the massive curtain of falling rain at centre stage, released in carefully cued cascades in the shape of flowers,

animals, and other motifs. Still, some of the biggest gasps come courtesy of the finale number, which finds giant Russian swings heaving over the audience and sending acrobats flying perilously into the air; the stage rotates, changing our perspective on the mayhem from all angles. You can feel a new energy in every timeworn act; the best example is the opening hoop-diving routine, performed by pink and purple birds on a huge treadmill, set on that turntable, and making every ring a moving target. Cirque is upping the artistic anteâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and after 35 years in the business, that may ultimately be its biggest feat. by Janet Smith

DANCING LESSONS

By Mark St. Germain. A Naked Goddess Productions presentation. At the Jericho Arts Centre on Friday, October 4. Continues to October 20

d WHEN TWO SEEMINGLY opposite people end up having to spend time together in an unusual situation, you see next page

GLOBAL DANCE CONNECTIONS SERIES

LUCY GUERIN INC AUSTRALIA

SPLIT Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti

October 16-17, 2019 | 8pm

Ä&#x201D;ĂşÄ&#x2014;Ä&#x;Ä&#x2022;Ä&#x201D;ĢĎ&#x2018; Ä&#x201D;Ä&#x;Ä&#x2014;Ä&#x;Ä&#x2022;Ä&#x;Ä&#x2022;

 Ä&#x161;   Join us Thursday, October 17 7pm A Conversation with Wael Shawky 8pm Opening Reception

The Polygon Gallery 101 Carrie Cates Court North Vancouver, BC thepolygon.ca #WaelShawky #ThePolygon Wael Shawky, Al Araba Al Madfuna III, 2016, video still (detail), courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg

26 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 17 / 2019

Presenting Sponsor

Scotiabank Dance Centre 677 Davie Street, Vancouver Tickets 604.684.2787 | ticketstonight.ca Info 604.606.6400 | thedancecentre.ca


have the basis for a romantic comedy. Dancing Lessons intends to give this genre quirky flair. But while this production has some sweet moments, the affection between the two characters isn’t quite believable and there are a few too many loose ends in the story to make it truly satisfying. The story introduces us to Senga, a dancer who has suffered a possibly career-ending injury and spends her days cooped up in her apartment wallowing in self-pity. Enter her neighbour Ever Montgomery, a university professor with Asperger syndrome, eager to take a dance lesson so he can dance at an upcoming awards ceremony where he’s being honoured. Asperger makes social interaction difficult for Montgomery, and in parallel, Senga’s many personal issues make it difficult for her to interact socially as well. While reluctant, Senga agrees to teach Montgomery to dance, and through this newfound relationship they begin to help each other understand themselves. While charming at times, the play suffers from trying to incorporate too many subplots and ideas, without being able to follow through on most. The most obvious example of this is Senga’s ongoing search for medical treatment for her injury, which eventually seems to be forgotten about. Part of the reason is that it’s overshadowed by her other personal issues midway through—which again aren’t really tied up in the end. There’s also an ongoing thread about climate change and its impending doom, frequently discussed in Montgomery’s university lecture scenes. The theme seems rather out of place as it’s not tied to the main story, and is eventually tossed aside as well. Andrew Coghlan is strong in the role of Montgomery, convincingly showing his character’s overly energetic childlike wonder mixed with awkward social interaction. Despite this, you can see Coghlan’s character stepping out of his comfort zone to try to show tenderness and affection towards Senga. Less successful is Sandra Medeiros

Closes Monday, October 14

Andrew Coghlan and Sandra Medeiros in Dancing Lessons. Photo by Angelo Renai

as Senga, who comes off as so abrasive and unlikable that when her character starts to show vulnerability it’s hard to feel empathy for her. There’s also not enough chemistry between Coghlan and Medeiros for the play to really make sense, which isn’t necessarily their fault, given Mark St. Germain’s script. Intimate moments between the two seem forced—and at one point extremely uncomfortable and sudden. Also taking away from the believability of the show is that Senga is supposed to be a successful dancer, having performed with the renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company and on Broadway. While she has a nice presence on-stage, Medeiros doesn’t exude the poise and grace you would expect of her character. Director Sarah Rodgers doesn’t do Medeiros any favours by projecting a montage video of Medeiros dancing onto a large screen at one point. Despite the show’s weaknesses, Medeiros and Coghlan do share some charming moments, including a nice dance near the end, choreographed by Melissa Sciarretta. And I appreciate the show’s offbeat take on rom-com, including shining a light on Asperger syndrome.

The

Enchanting Theatre of Puppets

by Vince Kanasoot

LIVE ONSTAGE ·2&72%(5ৰ৶ȁৱ৵

CHINA D LL HISTORICAL DRAMA

Written and Directed by

Marjorie Chan

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29

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GATEWAYTHEATRE.COM ,‘ H GatewayThtr ৵৯৳ৱ৶৯ৰ৷ৰৱ Jennifer Tong. Photo: David Cooper.

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 27


ARTS LISTINGS

OCT 16 & 17 8PM

ONGOING

Shadbolt Centre

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Two women’s lives intersect through fate in a sweeping tale set in war-torn Afghanistan. To Oct 13, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. From $29. THE BIRDS & THE BEES Play about a turkey farmer who splits up with her husband and moves in with her beekeeper mom. To Oct 26, Granville Island Stage. From $29. LUZIA Cirque du Soleil presents a poetic and acrobatic ode to the culture of Mexico. To Dec 29, Under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top), Concorde Pacific Place. $39-$270. DANCING LESSONS Naked Goddess Productions presents Mark St. Germain’s play about a professor with autism who approaches his neighbour for a dancing lesson. To Oct 20, Jericho Arts Centre. $15-25. THE SHIPMENT A subversive modern minstrel show about black identity. Oct 8-12, 7:30 pm, Presentation House Theatre. $30/25/18. BACK TO SCHOOL THEATRESPORTS Backto-school-themed improv. To Oct 12, 7:30 pm, The Improv Centre. From $10.75. VANCOUVER ART GALLERY aVIEWS OF THE COLLECTION: THE STREET to Nov 17 aVIKKY ALEXANDER: EXTREME BEAUTY to Jan 26 aROBERT RAUSCHENBERG 1965–1980 to Jan 26 aTRANSITS AND RETURNS to Feb 23

OCT 19 7:30PM

Kay Meek Arts Centre

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 NO FOREIGNERS Multi-media performance that meditates on North American Chinese shopping malls as spaces of cultural creation and clash. Oct 9-12, 8 pm, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $15-36.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

MARGIE GILLIS — LEGACY PROJECT:

EVOLUTIONS Canadian dance legend Margie Gillis, with seven Legacy Project dancers, showcases an evening of work from Margie’s prolific and ground-breaking repertoire.

shadboltcentre.com | 604-205-3000 | boxoffice@burnaby.ca | kaymeek.com | 604-981-6335

shadboltcentre

TICKETS START AT

Z.E.N. TRIO

$25

SUN OCT 20 at 3pm I VANCOUVER PLAYHOUSE The members of this vibrant young trio — pianist Zhang Zuo, violinist Esther Yoo, and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan — met on the BBC’s prestigious New Generation Artists’ scheme. All three enjoy successful international solo careers, but something special happens when they join forces for chamber music performances… it’s pure musical alchemy!

SCHUBERT | SHOSTAKOVICH | BRAHMS TICKETS: 604 602 0363 I VANRECITAL.COM

SEASON SPONSOR

CONCERT SPONSOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE VANCOUVER RECITAL SOCIETY

28 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

SUPPORTED BY

COST OF LIVING Pulitzer Prize–winning play about relationships and living with physical disabilities. Oct 10–Nov 3, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. From $29. VANCOUVER PARS NATIONAL BALLET Iranian traditional and folkloric dances. Oct 10, 6:30 pm, Scotiabank Dance Centre. $22/18. OK TINDER Improv comedy looking at the good, the bad, and the laughable of Vancouver’s dating scene. Oct 10, 9:15-10:30 pm, The Improv Centre. From $10.75.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11

Arts HOT TICKET

stimulating as it is inventive and witty. Case in point: Spooky Action draws on Albert Einstein’s theory of quantum entanglement, in which particles are closely linked but universes apart. It plays out like a moody mystery, blending live spoken word by Vancouver poet Barbara Adler with intricate dance.

SPOOKY ACTION (October 16 to 19 at the Firehall Arts Centre) Vancouver is known for powerhouse female choreographers like Emily Molnar and Crystal Pite—and Lesley Telford, of Inverso Productions, is quickly rising to join their ranks. The artist definitely has the pedigree: she’s an alumna of both cutting-edge Nederlands Dans Theater and Madrid’s Compañía Nacional de Danza. And you’ll find her work as intellectually FILM “ORIGIN BOUND” OFFICIAL RELEASE Created by New Century Films, “Origin Bound” is a story of inspiration. Filled with positivity and optimism, the film brings people warmth, hope, and light. “Origin Bound” has been recognized with over 12 awards from international film festivals. The movie has been released in New York, Taiwan, Sydney, and Toronto. Oct 12, 3:158:30 pm, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $10/12. COREY PAYETTE MUSICAL SONGBOOK Music from Children of God and Les Filles du Roi, plus a sneak peek of the new musical Sedna. Oct 12, 7 pm, Historic Theatre. $35. DRAG TRANSFORMING Drag show featuring performances by Quanah Style, the Darlings, Jaylene Tyme, Coco, and Celestial Seasons. Oct 12, 7:30 pm, York Theatre. $26.

VIRAGO NATION: STRIPPING FOR SOVEREIGNTY Vancouver’s very own all-Indigenous SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 burlesque troupe. Oct 11, 9:15 pm, Historic BENNEWITZ QUARTET Acclaimed Czech Theatre. $35. quartet noted for their “beautiful tone VANCOUVER HALLOWEEN PARADE AND and purity of intonation” in a program of EXPO Festival inspired by comics, anime, Czech composers. Program includes the video games, and mythologies from various quartet “Intimate Letters” by Leoš Janáček, cultures. Oct 11-13, Robson Square. and Antonin Dvořák’s Opus 96 “American” HIDDEN WONDERS SPEAKEASY MAGIC quartet, inspired by black spirituals. Also EXPERIENCE Shawn Farquhar’s 75-minute included is Robert Schumann’s Op. 41, No. magic show. Oct 11-26, 7-9 pm, Hidden Won2. Oct 13, 3 am, Vancouver Playhouse. $60 ders Showroom. $25-60. early/70 at door. CIRQUE TRANSFORMING Contemporary POSTCARDS FROM AFAR The Vancouver circus crossed with traditional hoop dancing. Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra Oct 11, 7:30 pm, York Theatre. $26. performs works by Strauss, Saint-Saëns, and HEDDA GABLER Norwegian realist Henrik IbMendelssohn. Oct 13, 2 pm, Orpheum Theatre. sen’s psychological drama. Oct 11–Dec 14, 7:30$10-15. 10 pm, Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre. $25. COMPANY Raincity Theatre presents an TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15 immersive musical production of Sondheim’s Company. Oct 11-26, 8 pm, Bobby’s Apartment. “THE LAST HIPPIE FREAK: BY THE BEARD OF LEE GROBAN” FILM PREMIERE “The $29–79. Last Hippie FREAK: By the Beard of Lee Groban” is an aural and visual experience SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 and the wild story of the poet and artist TEATRO INTIMO DEL FLAMENCO Karen Fla- whose mind, body, and spirit exploded on the stages, galleries, and underground menco presents traditional flamenco music, locations in Chicago, New York, Vancouver, dance, storylines, and magic. Oct 12, 3-4 pm, and beyond. Film by Nancy Bechtol. 5-6 pm, Improv Theatre. $12. Shadow Bechtol Studio. Premiere. Oct 15, EN EL ESCURO ES TODO UNO The Yarilo Con6-7:15 pm, The Cinematheque. Free. temporary Music Society presents a specially commissioned work by Canada’s Kelly-Marie THEATRESPORTS SUMMIT Improv comedy Murphy and a concerto by Alexander Raskatov. featuring international performers. Oct 15-20 Oct 12, 3-4:30 pm, Annex Theatre. $36/18. The Improv Centre. From $20.

COST OF LIVING (October 10 to November 3 at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre) PolishAmerican playwright Martyna Majok’s deeply heartfelt work hit with unsentimental force when it premiered last year, winning the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The play looks with brutal honesty at living and loving with disability; one character is living with cerebral palsy, while another has had both legs amputated above the knee. As the New York Times put it, the work “slams the door on uplifting stereotypes”. g

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16 HENRY FROM Canadian classical pianist performs works by Scriabin, Ravel, Brahms, and himself. Oct 16, 11 am–12 pm, Unitarian Church of Vancouver. $20. IMPROV AGAINST HUMANITY: HALLOWEEN HILARITY Join the Fictionals and guests for horror-themed comedy. Oct 16, 8-10 pm, Rio Theatre. $12. MARGIE GILLIS: EVOLUTIONS Gillis performs accompanied by seven Legacy Project dancers. Oct 16-17, 8 pm, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $15-36. OK TINDER INTERNATIONAL EDITION Vancouver TheatreSports ensemble members and international delegates present a global take on dating in the digital age. Oct 16, 9:30 pm, The Improv Centre. From $17.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 WAEL SHAWKY Conversation and opening reception with artist Wael Shawky. Oct 17, 7-10 pm, Polygon Gallery. By donation. LA TRAVIATA Vancouver Opera gives the perennial favourite a brand-new look. Oct 17, 7:30 pm; Oct 19, 7:30 pm; Oct 24, 7:30 pm; Oct 27, 2 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. $42-180.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 TOURS FOR THE RECENTLY DECEASED The Beaumont Studios, in partnership with the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret, is pleased to present its biggest, most outrageous Halloween initiative to date. Fifteen days of interactive, darkly comedic, “choose your own adventure”-style guided tours, exploring the iconic characters and creations of Tim Burton. Oct 18-31, 7-10 pm; Oct 18-19, 7-11 pm; Oct 25-26, 7-11 pm, Beaumont Studios. From $25 (members). ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. Submit events online using the event-submission form at straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.


MOVIES

Eddie Murphy is my name, muthafucka by Ken Eisner

In his role as cult hero Rudy Ray Moore, Eddie Murphy makes the triumphant return we all wanted in Dolemite Is My Name.

REVIEWS

DOLEMITE IS MY NAME

Starring Eddie Murphy. Rating unavailable

90 minutes aren’t quite as exciting, it’s definitely not the singer’s fault. Oscar-winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have tackled complicated subjects before, most notably in The Times of Harvey Milk and The Celluloid Closet. Maybe they’re just overawed by the subject, although they do have plenty of good material to work with, not least of which is Ronstadt’s own unfailingly straightforward, sometimes tart narration. Although Parkinson’s disease has kept her from singing for the past decade, and has slightly fattened her speaking voice, she’s ebullient in describing her Mexican-American childhood in Arizona. “We grew up thinking people sang in Spanish and spoke in English,” she recalls, off-screen. Her multi-culti nature would assert itself later, after she’d conquered the pop, folk, rock, and country arenas (literally), when she bucked industry advice to make records reflecting her father’s devotion to canciones and her mom’s love of jazz and light opera. We could use more insight into how Ronstadt managed to navigate and conquer the male-dominated world of rock studios and stages. (One of her earliest touring bands became the Eagles.) Mainly, it grows wearying to hear mogul David Geffen, producer Peter Asher, cohort Jackson Brown, filmmaker Cameron Crowe, and other major dudes congratulate themselves on recognizing what a monster talent she was and would be. More valuable indeed are the female colleagues she championed and performed with. Emmylou Harris recalls how Ronstadt pulled her “out of a dark time” and fellow trio harmonist Dolly Parton touts her perfectionism, “as opposed to my own way, which ain’t always proper, but it sounds good”. Ronstadt sounded so good in so many styles, in a pre-Gaga era, she was sometimes dismissed as more commercial than authentic—a song finder, not a writer. But what really shines through this uneven retrospect is her no-bullshit personality. She did

d “I AIN’T NO hobo,” protests the booze-smelling pest ejected from the L.A. record store where Dolemite begins. “I’m a repository of Afro-American folklore.” When we meet the real-life ejector, one Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), he is himself a perennial outsider in the early 1970s, still trying to get in—a middle-aged southerner who moved west to “become the next Sammy Davis Jr.” and instead subsisted on the fringes of show business. This is an epiphany in the fevered (if fact-based) imaginings of Black Snake Moan director and Empire producer Craig Brewer, working from a ceaselessly witty script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who previously illuminated semilovable losers in Ed Wood and Big Eyes. Tired of his own stale, Vegas-style jokes, Moore starts collecting more raunchy tall tales from “the liquorstore wise men” who congregate near the record shop. Bewigged, be-caned, and outfitted in clothes that would have shocked the pimps in Brewer’s Hustle & Flow, Rudy rebrands himself as Dolemite, a purportedly rock-hard (as per the name) trickster whose proclamations consist of filthy rhyming couplets. These were a mainstay of ghetto braggadocio, sometimes called Playing the Dozens (as per a later Dolemite LP), and a foundational element of hip-hop of all kinds—hence the presence of Snoop Dogg, among other famous RR Moore fans. Of course, you don’t need to know any of this, or be invested in the tale of how Moore willed himself to be a blaxploitation star just as that film genre was already peaking, to dig Dolemite. The film operates so entertainingly on multiple levels, you can simply roll with your favourites. Most obviously, this is the Eddie Murphy comeback we’ve all been waiting for, made sweeter by the fact that his character is never swamped by Eddie Murphy–ness. (It’s a nonvanity project for the erstwhile comic, also a producer here.) After that, it’s a deepknowledge love letter to show biz itself, IT ALL ENDS ON FRIDAY and especially to subgenres that don’t (October 11), but there’s still get, or even ask for, special respect. It time to catch a winner or is, in fact, a repository of black folklore two at this year’s Vancouver and survival tools. And finally, this International Film Festival. two-hour pleasure tour is a definitive d THE WILD GOOSE LAKE tribute to all the underdogs who have Fresh from TIFF, Diao Yinan’s just enough self-awareness to want to gangster noir comes to the shoot for their full potential, but not so Playhouse on Thursday much to keep them from trying. (October 10) and SFU on Friday

Movies

TIP SHEET

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE A documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Rating unavailable

(October 11).

d COME TO DADDY Ant Timpson’s gross-out horrorcom was a slam-dunk at FrightFest. See it with a barf bag at the Rio on Thursday (October 10).

d LIKE MOST DOCS these days, d LA BELLE ÉPOQUE Bringing Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice VIFF 2019 to a close, Nicolas begins with a kind of trailer for itself, Bedos’s time-travel romp gets this one compressing the subject’s back-to-back screenings at the Centre on Friday (October 11). spectacularly varied, five-decade career into a quick blip. If the remaining

everything on her own terms, and accomplished far too much to fit into just one feature film. MATTHIAS & MAXIME

Starring Xavier Dolan. In French, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

d “I GET TIRED of their songs and games,” half the title team named here says to his girlfriend, explaining why he doesn’t want to go to the other one’s going-away party. “Eventually, you have to grow up.” In Matthias & Maxime, former wunderkind Xavier Dolan wants to follow that advice. But he has somehow lost the spark that animated more youthful efforts, like Mommy and I Killed My Mother, without moving on to a more mature filmmaking style. The director himself plays Maxime, heading off for a year or so in Australia, to find the same kind of bar work he does in Montreal and, presumably, to find himself. Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas is Matthias, the lifelong pal who’s so ambivalent about that departure. Sure, he’ll miss Maxime, but the real reason for his sulk comes right at the start, when a gang of late-twentysomethings holds a reunion of sorts at a nearby lake house. When one pal’s annoying little sister (Camille Felton) drafts them to be in her student film, she randomly asks them to kiss, setting off a paralyzing quaver of confusion. And that’s pretty much it for story. Dolan doesn’t give these ostensibly straight dudes much to do except mope, fret, and distract themselves for the rest of the movie’s very stretched-out two hours. Their problems at work, with family, and with other friends feel as arbitrarily chosen as the port-wine stain on Max’s face—a feature with no relevance except for one throwaway scene near the end. There are also Max’s attempts to take care of his angry, ex-addict mother (Mommy’s Ann Dorval). As usual, Dolan’s women are ditses, drones, or shrieking harridans. But at least his movies used to be fun, reflecting the gender-role excesses and social politics of influences like Pedro Almodóvar and Denys Arcand, both of whom get name-checked here. M&M, however, is shot on film to rather grey effect, with clunky handheld camera moves further dulling down a story that never gives us enough rooting interest in its protagonists to actually care about the ampersand between their names. THE LAUNDROMAT

Starring Meryl Streep. Rating unavailable

d FOLLOWING IN the satirical steps of The Big Short, Steven Soderbergh wrings sardonic humour out of the Panama Papers, the 2016 data leak that led to the imprisonment of a number of scammers and the eventual downfall of various government heads and top dogs in Iceland, Jordan, China, and (notably) Ukraine. Everywhere but Russia, one could say. Working from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, Side Effects), itself adapted from Jake Bernstein’s book Secrecy World, the director of see next page

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 29


VIFF ’19

Ovations turn to encores in festival Repeats series

A

by Craig Takeuchi

VIFF Repeats October 12-17, 2019 Vancity Theatre Sunday, October 13

Saturday, October 12

Still Human

Yuli

12:00 pm

Amanda

2:15 pm

Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger

107 min

4:00 pm

Children of the Sea

111 min

6:15 pm

Still Human

111 min

8:30 pm

The Laundromat

77 min

3:30 pm

Human Nature

5:30 pm

Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains

8:30pm

The Laundromat

75 min 94 min 154 min

6:30 pm

Who You Think I Am

8:30 pm

The Laundromat

A Seat at the Table

100 min

6:15 pm

Yuli

115 min

8:30 pm

The Laundromat

96 min

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4:30 pm

Beyond the Visible Hilma af Klint

93 min

6:30 pm

The Laundromat

96 min

8:30 pm

Melancholic

114 min

96 min

Thursday, October 17

Escher: Journey Into Infinity

Escher: Journey Into Infinity

4:15 pm

Melancholic

Wednesday, October 16

4:45 pm

110 min

Tuesday, October 15

The Laundromat

The Men’s Room

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

96 min

Monday, October 14

2:00 pm

2:00 pm

The Whale and the Raven

90 min 101 min 96 min

4:30 pm

The Whale and the Raven

6:30 pm

Lara

100 min 98 min

8:30 pm

The Laundromat

96 min

VIFF Repeats: Tickets available at viff.org or at the Vancity Theatre Box office (30 min. before showtime) Festival Passes, VIFF Ticket Packs, VIFF Complimentary Vouchers and Vancity Theatre Guest Passes will not be accepted for VIFF Repeats. Unless a films is classified, attendees must be 19+

Discover viff.org 30 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

las, the 38th annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) may be calling it a wrap on Friday (October 11), but the cinematic bacchanalia does have an afterlife. From Saturday to next Thursday (October 12 to 17), the VIFF Repeats series at the Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour Street) brings back 17 audience hits for festivalgoers who may have missed them. Among the Indigenous and Canadian content in the mix is Alanis Obomsawin’s 53rd film. Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger was named the best Canadian documentary at VIFF for its incisive look at the struggle to ensure all First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services—focusing on the tragic story of the boy who inspired activists to hold the government to its word. Meanwhile, the German-Canadian documentary The Whale and the Raven examines the impact that increased tanker traffic will have on the Great Bear Rainforest here in B.C. Fine arts documentaries include Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint, about a formerly unknown female Swedish painter now credited with being the world’s first abstract artist; Escher: Journey Into Infinity, a portrait of famed Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher; and Yuli, a look at Cuban-born dancer Carlos Acosta, who

Traffic and Erin Brockovich here takes a scattershot approach to farreaching effects of rampant tax evasion and other scams hollowing out what’s left of the middle class. He does this by visiting both ends of the pyramid simultaneously. At the top, until they weren’t, were tax attorneys Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, played respectively by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, who act as daiquiri-toting tour guides to the wide world of shell corporations and other off-shore scams. Closer to the bottom is Meryl Streep, as Ellen Martin, an older woman who has just lost her husband and learns, the very hard way, just how fickle the world of bargain-basement insurance can be. This mirrors the subprime-mortgage crisis of 2008, and offers Ellen, and us, entrée to the world of companies that exist only in post-office

Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger is among the titles getting a round two.

became the first black person to join England’s Royal Ballet. There’s also The Men’s Room, a documentary about a Norwegian male choral group whose cancerstricken director is preparing them to open for Black Sabbath. For Asian-cinema viewers, there’s Bhutan’s Himalayan drama Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom; Japan’s Melancholic and the manga-based Children of the Sea; Hong Kong’s Still Human, about a Filipino domestic helper; and China’s family epic Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains. Rounding things out are titles from France, Germany, New Zealand, and the USA. Full details and ticket information are at viff.org/. g boxes on remote Caribbean islands. Jeffrey Wright, Melissa Rauch, David Schwimmer, Sharon Stone, and other familiar faces play people she runs into on her journey to understand what went wrong. The movie digresses into other real-life vignettes, illustrating various forms of bribery, extortion, and outright violence, with the help of Will Forte, Rosalind Chao, Matthias Schoenaerts, and many others. As you can imagine, this onslaught of fact, anecdote, and educated conjecture becomes rather unwieldy, even (or perhaps especially) when whittled down to a fast-moving 95 minutes. Streep even plays another character, as well as a version of herself, and one could accuse the movie of lecturing us with a reductionist tone. Still, things can never be too simple for a world in which presidents confess to major crimes on live TV and half the population still isn’t sure what the hell happened. g


music

The art of jazz singing is alive and well

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by Alexander Varty

nce upon a time, jazz singing looked like it was in danger of fossilization, but those days are gone. Granted, the early stars of the genre—notably Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald—set the bar so high that for a long time the best most new voices could hope for was emulation, or perhaps incremental progress. Today’s singers, though, are opening up their idiom to entirely new possibilities, writing long-form compositions that go far beyond the formalized structures of the Great American Songbook, and sourcing their repertoire from writers from outside the jazz and Broadway pantheon. Cécile McLorin Salvant and Fay Victor are two artists at the forefront of this new movement, and although they’re very different they have more in common than the fact that they’re both playing Vancouver this month. The 30-year-old McLorin Salvant, the Miami-born daughter of French and Haitian parents, says that although she doesn’t feel qualified to identify any new trends in jazz singing—“That’s more of a musicological question,” she notes—she does see her peers becoming increasingly open to all forms of music. “There’s less of a concern about the era in which things are made,” she reports from Miami, where she’s visiting family. “I mean, if I think about somebody like Veronica Swift, the wonderful young jazz singer, I think of somebody who loves Marilyn Manson and who loves Jo Stafford and who loves Anita O’Day. For those three names to be in the same sentence is something that I think is really special about this new generation of musicians.…It’s become so easy to mix everything up together in a sort of cocktail of sorts—if that makes any sense.” It would certainly make sense to Victor. Although at 54 she’s a generation older than McLorin Salvant, she describes her approach as “everything is everything,” a direction she learned not from YouTube and Facebook but from time spent in Amsterdam,

Cécile McLorin Salvant (left, photo by Mark Fitton) and Fay Victor (photo by Kyra Kverno) are taking vocal jazz in new directions.

where she was introduced to the late pianist Misha Mengelberg and his genre-smashing ICP Orchestra. (Artists, not coincidentally, who have had considerable impact on Vancouver’s own eclectic creative-music scene.) “Seeing them live for the very first time, I was just amazed,” Victor reports from Marin County, California, where she’s enjoying a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts. “They did a Monk tune, they did a Dixieland tune, they did something from Herbie Nichols, they did improvisation.…I had never seen that before, but it all made sense—and the audience was going crazy, in a good way. “A light went off, like ‘Wow, you can do this,’ ” she adds, laughing. “And that was a really great moment, because I was really bored with jazz singing!” McLorin Salvant, in contrast, wasn’t exposed to much jazz early on. Her original intent was to sing classical music, and just over a decade ago she was studying operatic and art-song technique at the Darius

It’s become so easy to mix everything up together in a sort of cocktail of sorts. – Cécile McLorin Salvant

Milhaud Conservatory in France. The residue of that training, she explains, is an ability to inhabit a song—whether it’s from Tin Pan Alley, Motown, or her own pen—in a heightened, theatrical way. In classical music, she explains, “You are constantly dealing with context. The context of a character is

extremely important in the work that you do, or at least the work that I did with my teachers. We were constantly discussing what happens to the character before and after the aria, because essentially you’re a performer of a play, a theatre piece, right? I remember that being able to sing the song was almost like a treat, after having worked on the diction, really worked on the vocabulary, and really understanding each and every word, no matter what language it’s in.” McLorin Salvant was able to put those lessons to good use in Ogress, the music-theatre piece—with arrangements by former Vancouverite Darcy James Argue—that she debuted in New York City last November. Based on both American and Haitian folk-storytelling styles, her fairy tale is already being hailed as a vocal tour de force with a feminist edge. “I sing all the parts,” she says. “There’s about five or six different roles, including the narrator. And it’s about 90 minutes long, just straight

music with no interruptions. So it’s extremely draining—both physically and emotionally draining.” Victor is finalizing a long-form project of her own, although it might be more appropriate to describe it as a collection of 45 very short works. Inspired and horrified by the political situation south of the border, she’s developing a project called Mutations for Justice, Mantras for Change. “It’s a coping mechanism, honestly,” Victor notes. “But also, more importantly, it came out of this idea that there’s this bombardment of information, and it’s hard to decipher what’s real and what’s not. Then the idea came to kind of make the pieces memelike: very small compositions, sometimes just one line repeated over and over again, other times giving a bit more information. “For example, I wrote a piece talking about immigration, and my distillation of it is they’re trying to get all the brown people out,” she continues. “Last year at [New York’s] Winter Jazzfest we did this piece, and at the end I had 300 people all singing it with us—and I think that’s really powerful.” Victor plans to present her song cycle in venues across the U.S. prior to the 2020 presidential election. McLorin Salvant, in turn, hopes to develop Ogress into an animated feature, noting that touring with a 13-piece jazz orchestra plus a string quartet is financially impossible. And both artists are looking forward to their Vancouver shows, which will feature what the younger artist calls the “casual and conversational” setting of improvised music—McLorin Salvant with the Aaron Diehl Trio, and Victor with the exceptional pianist and composer Myra Melford. Jazz singing may be changing, and growing, but that intimate aspect of the art is here to stay. g Fay Victor and Myra Melford appear at the Western Front on Thursday (October 10). Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Aaron Diehl Trio play the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts next Wednesday and Thursday (October 16 and 17).

Black Pumas bring people together by Mike Usinger

d AS ANY SAVVY STUDENT of punk-rock, folk, and hip-hop history knows, political music comes in many flavours. Because the name Black Pumas brings to mind fabled ’60s radicals the Black Panthers, it’s been assumed that guitarist Adrian Quesada and singer Eric Burton were on a mission when they began working together. When reached on his cellphone in Texas, Quesada indicates that was anything but the case. But as Black Pumas has begun building a devoted fan base—partly with its live act and partly with this year’s sublime, selftitled debut—he’s started to realize that the band is making a statement it never intended to. “A lot of my friends do music with heavy political statements, but a lot of it is about informing people and painting a picture of the times. Protest music is really what it is. As I’ve got to know Eric and what he writes about, I feel like his message is less about reminding people about some of the more negative aspects of our times, and more about bringing people together.” The two collaborators have been doing just that with Black Pumas, which throws back to a time when soul was ruled by the likes of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and Stax was easily the coolest record label in

America. If there’s a thread running through the songs on Black Pumas, it’s that love is pretty much the only thing that really matters. As the decade winds down, Quesada and Burton aren’t alone in their obsession with an era they never knew; late-’60s soul has proven a major inspiration to acts as varied as Algiers, Nick Waterhouse, Sam Smith, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Black Pumas isn’t afraid to colour outside the lines, from the hip-hop drums on “Stay Gold” to the spaghetti-western guitar that burns in the background on “Fire”. But what Quesada and Burton perhaps do better than the rest is approximate the real thing. Consider the mono-quality drums on “Know You Better” or the double-funk bass and soul-power horns on “Touch the Sky”. Through it all, Burton sounds like a man beamed in from an era when RayBan sunglasses and slim charcoal-grey suits were the height of street style. Black Pumas seems to be coming from an artistically pure place, which makes sense considering the way Quesada and Burton got together. The guitarist is a Grammy-winning musician who’s played everything from spin-art psychedelia to easygoing Latin jazz in a long list of bands. Equally at home as a producer, Quesada found himself with some free studio time in

ports that the transition from a studio duo to a full-band live project has been pretty much seamless, with the bonus being that Black Pumas is, in its own way, political. “Not that we set out to do this, but it’s not lost on me that we have a band where the members are male, female, black, white, brown—all kinds of people,” he says. “That’s something of a strong statement in 2019. We’re about inclusion, not division, which is needed, because in the world there’s enough division going on right now.” Black Pumas singer Eric Burton and guitarist Adrian Quesada with a friend.

2017, and he began working on the sonic sketches for Black Pumas. “In the back of my head, I was excited right away, thinking that the songs could turn into something special,” he says. “But I didn’t want to get carried away projecting any sort of future to them. It was all about having fun at first.” Things got serious after he hooked up with Burton, who was busking up and down the West Coast and into the American Southwest. Quickly, it was obvious they were doing something that couldn’t be confined to the studio. Quesada re-

Black Pumas plays the Rickshaw Theatre on Wednesday (October 16).

GEORGIA TAKES LETHAL AIM AT THE DANCE FLOOR d LOOKING BACK, ENGLAND’S Georgia Barnes figures she might have been a little overambitious with 2015’s Georgia, a debut full-length that would take her four years to follow up. “That record was really special to me,” the London-raised singer says, on the line from a New York tour stop. “It felt a little surreal that I was not only releasing a record, but that it was on one of my favourite labels ever [Domino]. It ended up being overwhelming. It did critically very well, but it didn’t really connect with

a lot of people beyond that. I think it was kind of a bit ahead of its time in a way—it wasn’t the right moment for what I was doing. Now it feels like I’m really connecting and the music is reaching around the world.” Her breakthrough came in the form of the 2018 single “About Work the Dancefloor”, a neon-dream banger that hit big in clubs by fusing darkwave electro-pop and sweaty Chicago house. The track is one of 12 genrespanning songs on Georgia’s upcoming full-length Seeking Thrills, scheduled for release on indie heavyweight Domino Records this coming January. “The first record was very experimental—I did it without anyone around me, and I got signed off the back of that,” Georgia says. “Doing it all on my own in the studio felt very kind of innocent. And I think Georgia was almost like a window into what potentially could be. The second record feels, to me, like my sound is more finalized.” With that, Georgia serves notice that Seeking Thrills takes lethal aim at the dance floor, not just with “About Work the Dancefloor” but heat seekers like the synth-dazzled “Never Let You Go” and the junglehouse detonator “Started Out”. “I toured the first record a bit, and then I had a plan,” she notes. “I see next page

OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT 31


Water St. Cafe opens live music venue (This story is sponsored by Water St. Cafe.)

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he Water St. Cafe (300 Water Street, Gastown) has been a long-time favourite among Vancouver locals, but when owners, Eli Brennan and Alan Tse, took over the iconic restaurant in the fall of 2017, they saw the potential to take it to new heights. Located in the Edward Hotel, which was built in 1906, and opposite the world-famous Gastown Steam Clock, the Water St. Cafe is steeped in history. But the owners haven’t let that stop them from bringing the Vancouver landmark into the 21st century. “It’s been a fun journey,” Brennan says. “We have honoured the history of the restaurant and the Gastown location, but reinvigorated it with a touch of our personality. We introduced brunch, we launched happy hour seven days a week, and our menu is made up of fresh, local ingredients.” Chef Tse and his culinary team aim to showcase the finest that B.C. has to offer, with a commitment to quality, value, and warm Vancouver hospitality. In addition to an overhaul of the menu, the restaurant has undergone a renovation and expansion, complete with a new music venue. “A full dining experience is about three elements—it’s about the food and detailed service, it’s about the people we share the meal with, and the atmosphere we enjoy it in,” Brennan says. “Having live music is part of creating that experience.” The new space, called The 2nd Floor at the Water St. Cafe, will host local jazz, blues, soul, and indie musicians every week as part of a continuing program. But for those looking for the opportunity to enjoy some stellar entertainment during the long and dreary month of October, the restaurant is putting on 31 Days of Music, as part of the venue’s launch.

Vancouver Island singer, musician, and songwriter Eugene Smith is one of the B.C. artists who’s performed at The 2nd Floor in Gastown. Photo by Kaj Falch-Nielsen

Every evening, guests can see the newly upgraded space and watch artists from B.C. and beyond perform all genres of music. Visit the website at waterstreetcafe.ca/events-calendar/ for the full schedule and be sure to make a reservation in advance for a seat close to the action. All attendees are asked to pay a $5 contribution, which will go toward supporting local talent and will be given to the performers after their set. For Brennan, one of the most important parts of Water St. Cafe’s ethos is promoting and enriching the community. “We serve B.C. wine, B.C. beer, and B.C. spirits,” he says. “Now we get to support local musicians, as well as local charities. It’s all about community. This is one way we can strive to make a great community and restaurant.” The month of music will close on October 31 with the Great Gatsby– themed Halloween Gala. In a party befitting its majestic location, guests will be able to step into the glitz, glamour, and mystery of the past at the Roaring ’20s-style soiree. There will be a live Clue game presented by Slixer Events & Entertainment, complimentary canapés, a free welcome beverage, food stations, and

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 Dining and dishes of disrespect I had the displeasure of being invited to mandatory work meals with people in my office. I would never voluntarily dine with any of these people. I observed them talking to Person 1, and then once that Person 1 left the table to get back to meetings, this group would shit-talk about them. I don’t... (con’t @straight.com)

Window Into The Past The other day when I was passing Science World on the train, I had a vision of Expo 86, and for a fleeting moment I saw the fair as it was 33 years ago...What a rush! It left me wishing that I could time travel with my memories more often.

Refreshed regrets Over a year ago, I slept with a man who said he was single. I foolishly thought he wanted a relationship with me. Turns out he just wanted to cheat on his long-distance girlfriend. I felt awful when I found out, and immediately cut contact. Tonight, she found out. He gave her my name. She messaged me on social media. Girl, I’m so sorry. Just feel good in knowing that I now regret it even more. I know you’re pissed at me, but you deserve better than him. I hope you get the relationship you deserve some day.

So confusing I just found out that my neighbour passed away six months ago. I’m not too sure how to react. It’s always a shock when somebody dies but the reality is that he wasn’t a good person. No one in my building liked him. He was mentally unstable and when he drank too much it brought out the worst in him. How do you expect to be remembered if you knowingly do bad things to people and show no remorse for it?

Visit 32 THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT OCTOBER 10 – 17 / 2019

to post a Confession

live music by Marlie Collins. Partygoers are encouraged to dress up in their finest flapper costumes and hats, since there will be a prize for best costume. Tickets for the exclusive event are $25 and can be purchased now via the website, with partial proceeds supporting Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. The Water St. Cafe may now be in its 31st year of operation, but with its recent renovations, it has taken a step into the future—without forgetting its past. “The building was built in 1906 and we’ve brought thoughtful touches of that era and history into the space,” Brennan says. “Hopefully people feel that when they come into the restaurant.” g Join the Water St. Cafe at its newly renovated venue The 2nd Floor for 31 Days of Music taking place from 7 to 10 p.m. every evening for the month of October. For more information, to see the full music schedule, or to make a reservation, visit the website at waterstreetcafe. ca/. Don’t forget to follow Water St. Cafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Go to straight.com/contests/ now and enter for your chance to win a chef’s experience five-course dinner with wine pairings for four (valued at $400).

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went straight back into the studio with a real methodical idea of how I was going to approach the material. There was no outside pressure put on me, so I was really able to be patient. I worked full days in the studio for three years making sure I got it right.” While “About Work the Dancefloor” and “Started Out” will be the main drawing cards, they don’t necessarily tell the whole story of Seeking Thrills. Halfway through, the record pulls a U-turn, with Georgia going back to her more experimental beginnings. “Mellow” suggests Pepper-era Butthole Surfers jumping headfirst into the grime pool, while Georgia pulls on the pointy boots and coffin-black eyeliner for “Till I Own It”. “I was obsessed with the early ’80s for this record, and bands like Depeche Mode,” she relates. “For me, it was incredible to see this underground band become huge in America, to where they were playing stadiums.” And perhaps realizing Depeche Mode once never expected to be headlining hockey rinks, Georgia acknowledges that she consciously shifted her goals while writing for Seeking Thrills. The irony is that she shot low. A legitimate hit at home in the U.K., “Started Out” currently has 6.5 million streams on Spotify. “I decided that lowering my expectations is probably the best thing for me in this sort of industry,” Georgia says with a laugh. “And I think that’s why I’m enjoying every single moment and every opportunity that’s coming my way. This record has been the surprise one. Obviously, I’ve worked very hard in the studio with the goal of making the music a bit more accessible to people, but I had no idea that the songs were going to do what they’ve done, particularly in my home country, where the support has been great. It’s really been a pleasant shock.” Georgia plays Fortune Sound Club on Thursday (October 10).


MUSIC

Jonas Brothers were missed

NEW ORLEANS INSPIRED CUISINE

by Mike Usinger

POP EYE

F

or no other reason than “I Believe” off this year’s comeback album, Happiness Begins, hating on the Jonas Brothers should be a perfectly acceptable pastime for those above the age of 13. The most offensive thing about the breezy mall-pop ballad is that it makes a great case the Jonas Brothers don’t believe in anything in 2019 other than the almighty dollar, which is likely why they’re back together after a 2013 implosion over “creative differences”. Reconciling is hard to do. Until, that is, the reality of life as a solo artist starts to remind you that private airplanes, five-star hotels, and sold-out hockey rinks weren’t the indignity they once seemed. “I Believe” almost torpedoes whatever goodwill the Jonas Brothers deserve on Happiness Begins. Take over-Auto-Tuned vocals, gauze-swaddled synths, and programmed yacht-rock drums, combine them with lyrics like “I believe, I believe, I believe/When you hold me, it’s like Heaven coming down,” and you’ve got three minutes and 37 seconds of pop music at its most ruthlessly insincere. It takes a lot to make Britney Spears sound like Brody Dalle and the Backstreet Boys seem every bit as real as the White Stripes, but Kevin, Joe, and Nick Jonas do that with an almost effortless abandon. And let’s not even start on the almost-as-pukey “Used to Be”. But in what’s a surprise to perhaps no one but their parents and pastors, the amazing thing about Happiness Begins is it eventually makes it hard to begrudge the Jonas Brothers the multiple platinum records hanging on the walls of their various multimillion-dollar mansions. Built on Prince-perfect vocals and a stupidly inventive drumbeat, “Sucker” leaves you wondering what you ever saw in post-*NSYNC Justin Timberlake. “Only Human” creates magic out of an infectious Kingston-strut bass line and ganja-dazed synths, and the glossy-pop closer, “Comeback”, serves as a valid exclamation point that Happiness Begins is a solid return to action. It’s all a reminder that the Jonas Brothers were missed, mostly for showing America there’s another way to superstardom than shaking one’s ass to prefabbed pop songs written by Max Martin during his good-morning dump.

For the group’s more or less organic approach to its craft, one can perhaps thank emo pioneers Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and MxPx—all of whom inspired Kevin, Joe, and Nick to pick up guitars and microphones and dream big. And by dreaming big, we’re talking an Ernie Ball Stage appearance on the Vans Warped Tour, which is as high as the initial, mall-punk incarnation of the Jonas Brothers was aiming. Yes, that’s right, before they found themselves dodging training bras and flying headgear in the American Midwest, the Jonas Brothers’ idea of success was landing a deal with a label like Fearless Records. And, as part of that pursuit, there were countless days in a shitty beat-up van, and nights playing grimy clubs in the bowels of New Jersey. Add brownie points for their slogging it out with a collective case of blue balls—that having everything to do with the idiotic idea that purity rings and rock ’n’ roll were a beautiful combination. So what does the Jonas Brothers’ re-formation after six years apart

from each other as a band mean? For a start, it shows the kids of America that sometimes it’s entirely possible to get along with one’s siblings, even if that means accepting the fact that sometimes the youngest brother ends up being the brains of the operation. The return of the Jonas Brothers also suggests that the guitar hasn’t gone the way of buggy whips, Blackberries, and Underwood typewriters—giving the world hope we may one day see another Jack White, Tom Morello, or St. Vincent. (Who gives a shit that the Jonas Brothers’ guitars don’t even seem to be plugged in when they play live— it’s the thought that counts.) And most of all, it shows that sometimes you can stink out the studio with a song like “I Believe”, and still face the world with your dignity intact. The Jonas Brothers went away for almost a decade and then returned to headlining hockey rinks like they’d popped out for a pumpkin spice latte. Believe it. g The Jonas Brothers play Rogers Arena on Friday (October 11).

A lbum OF THE WEEK GRAHAM BROWN BAND LET ME IN

Graham Brown Band celebrated the release of Let Me In with a show at LanaLou’s last month. I guess no one told Brown and company that, according to Spotify and Bandcamp and, well, literally everyone else, the record actually came out in the spring of 2018. No matter. If they want to pretend it’s a brandnew album, we’ll play along. Such is Brown’s sound, though, that Let Me In could have come out 10 or 20 years ago, or more. When your touchstones are Tom Petty, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and the Band, the notion of timeliness probably doesn’t seem particularly relevant. Brown—who has been making music for decades, having started out in such acts as Jr. Gone Wild and Happy Man—is more interested in timelessness. Or, at the

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very least, honouring his rock and country forebears by carrying the “classic” torch. He has certainly surrounded himself with the right personnel. Multi-instrumentalist Rob Blackburn is probably Graham Brown Band’s most potent weapon, laying down Duane Allman– worthy guitar licks on “Realize” and dipping into Garth Hudson territory for some swirly organ pyrotechnics on “Never Blue”. The rhythm section of Mark Gruft (drums) and John Werner (bass) is none too shabby, either, kicking “Hole in My Heart” into cowpunk country and bringing a jazzy shuffle to “Gasoline”. In other words, if roots music is your jam, you’re not likely to give a damn whether Let Me In came out in 2018, 2005, or 1990. You’re just going to dig it.

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MUSIC LISTINGS CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED FELABRATION 2019 Celebrate Fela Kuti, creator of Afrobeat, and the powerful African women behind him at the Afrika Shrine. Live music, traditional Nigerian dance, music, food and more. Hosted by Kara-Kata Afrobeat Group and Kara-Kata Afrobeat Society and featuring the Boom Booms, Queer as Funk, Mostly Marley, Tonye Aganaba, Kesseke Yeo, and more. Oct 19, 7 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $40. WEST COAST GUITAR NIGHT Solo performances by acoustic guitarists Kent Hillman, Andre Stepanian, Jacob Seyer, Luis Medina, Edgar Avelino, and Les Finnigan. Oct 19, 8 pm, Historic Theatre. $29. DAKHABRAKHA Kiev-based quartet fuses beguiling beats and traditional Ukrainian folklore. Oct 19, 8 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. From $46. AFRO-LATIN MIX NIGHT Afro-Latin music from Peru, Colombia, Cuba, and Brazil. Nov 14, 6-9 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $19-70. BIRDS OF CHICAGO Americana-folk band led by the husband-and-wife duo of JT Nero and Allison Russell. Nov 16, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. $25. PROZZAK Electropop band performs on its farewell tour. Nov 21, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $29.50. WALTER TROUT The Canadian Pacific Blues Society presents American blues-rock guitar virtuoso, with guest Matt Hoyle. Dec 8, 7:30 pm, Rio Theatre. Tix $40/45. THE FUNK HUNTERS Local electronic-music act and DJ duo. Dec 20-21, 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $35. REX ORANGE COUNTY English indie-pop

singer-songwriter performs. Jan 20, 8 pm, PNE Forum. $35. MICHAEL KIWANUKA British indie and folkrock singer-songwriter. Jan 28, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Oct 11, 10 am, $32.50. SUPERM K-pop all-star group. Feb 6, 7:30 pm, Rogers Arena. HOLLOW COVES Australian indie-folk group. Feb 29, 8 pm, Venue. $18.50. MIRANDA LAMBERT American country singer-songwriter, with guest Cody Johnson Lanco. Apr 25, 7 pm. Tix on sale Oct 11, 10 am. DEAD CAN DANCE Australian-British art-rock project composed of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. May 4, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre. Tix on sale Oct 11, 10 am, $115/99.50/ 95/85/77.50/67.50/55/39.50.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS American blues, funk, and soul artist. Oct 9, 8 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $20. PUP Punk quartet from Toronto, with guest Charly Bliss. Oct 9, Vogue Theatre. $24.99. ST. PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES Alabama– based rock ‘n’ soul band. Oct 9, 8:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $39.50. MARINA Welsh singer and songwriter Marina Lambrini Diamandis. Oct 9, 9 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $69/53.50/43.50.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10 NICK CAVE Australian rock singer-songwriter. Oct 10, Massey Theatre. TRASHCAN SINATRAS Scottish pop band. Oct 10, Biltmore Cabaret. HOBO JOHNSON Hip-hop artist from Sacramento, California. Oct 10, Vogue Theatre. $25.

FULL MOON FEVER: A RE-IMAGINING OF THE CLASSIC TOM PETTY ALBUM Steve Dawson is joined by Birds of Chicago, Jim Byrnes, Roy Forbes, Rich Hope, Ndidi Onukwulu, Dawn Pemberton, Linda McRae, Maya Rae, and Tom Wilson in a re-imagining of the classic album. Oct 10, 11, 7:30 pm, Kay Meek Arts Centre. $56/53/29. LEELA GILDAY Canadian singer-songwriter, with guests Sandy Scofield and M’Girl. Oct 10, 7:30 pm, York Theatre. $26. JANE DOE Local rock band, with guests Redwoods, Pedler, and Eleanor Rising. Oct 10, 7:30 pm, Railway Stage and Beer Café. $10. CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM The Canadian Pacific Blues Society presents blues artist from Mississippi, with guests the Cerny Brothers. Oct 10, 7:30 pm, Fox Cabaret. $30. YOKE LORE American indie-pop singersongwriter, aka Yellerkin and Walk the Moon. Oct 10, 9 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $39.50.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 PETRONIO Concert celebrating Latin American Heritage Month. Oct 11, 6:30-9:10 pm, Orpheum Theatre. $19- 80. BOWIE: THE TRIBUTE Eight-piece band performs a tribute to rock legend David Bowie. Oct 11, 6:30-9:20 pm, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. $41.46. LEELA GILDAY: INTIMATE & UNPLUGGED Singer-songwriter performs a soulful evening of acoustic song and storytelling. Oct 11, 7 pm, Historic Theatre. $35. STEVE HACKETT Former Genesis guitarist performs the album Selling England by the Pound in its entirety. Oct 11, 7 pm, Vogue Theatre. THE JONAS BROTHERS American pop band

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featuring Nick, Joe, and Kevin Jonas, with guests Bebe Rexha and Jordan McGraw. Oct 11, 7:30 pm, Rogers Arena. WHITE REAPER Garage-punk band from Louisville, Kentucky, with guests the Dirty Nil and Criminal Hygiene. Oct 11, 7:30 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. $15. THE ATOM AGE Punk-rock band from Oakland. Oct 11, 8 pm, Pat’s Pub & Brewhouse. $12.50. MIKE DOUGHTY Former member of Soul Coughing performs the band’s debut album, Ruby Vroom, in its entirety, with guests the Ghost of Mr. Oberon. Oct 11, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $25. THRUSH HERMIT Alt-rock band from Halifax. Oct 11, 8 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $29.99. THE SMALL GLORIES Folk duo composed of Cara Luft and JD Edwards. Oct 11, 8-10:30 pm, St. James Hall. $28/24. J.S. ONDARA Kenyan singer-songwriter, with guest Elise Davis. Oct 11, 8-11 pm, WISE Hall. $17.50. 54-40 Local guitar-rock veterans play two nights. Oct 11-12, 8:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $45/four-packs $160.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX Jazz-ragtime-swing band from New York City. Oct 12, Vogue Theatre. $89.50/62.50/39.50/32.50.

NASHVILLE PUSSY Gritty guitar-rockers from the States. Oct 12, Biltmore Cabaret. $19.99. TREVOR GORDON HALL Acoustic-guitar virtuoso from Philadelphia. Oct 12, 7 pm, Horizon School Of Music. $30. JILL BARBER Canadian pop singer-songwriter performs on her Dedicated to You tour. Oct 12, 7:30-10 pm, Chief Sepass Theatre. $35. STEVE KOZAK BAND Blues guitarist-vocalist Kozak is joined by Roger Brant on bass, Michael Kalanj on piano, and John Nolan on drums. Oct 12, 8 pm, Frankie’s Jazz Club. $17.50. BANNERS Indie-rock musician from Liverpool, England, with guest Ellevator. Oct 12, 8 pm, Venue. $25. HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER Folk band from North Carolina. Oct 12, 8 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $26. MUD BAY Local blues-rock band performs tunes from new album. Oct 12, 8:30 pm, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 240. $20. SONGHOY BLUES Desert blues from Timbuktu, Mali, with local guests Brass Camel. Oct 12, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. $20.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 GOOD MORNING Rock band from Australia. Oct 13, 8 pm, WISE Hall. JOHN FOGERTY American rock legend performs his iconic Creedence Clearwater Revival hits. Oct 13, 8 pm, Rogers Arena. $129. 95/99.95/79.95/49.95/29.95.

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JIMMY RANKIN Folk singer-songwriter from Cape Breton, formerly of the Rankin Family. Oct 17, 7:30-10 pm, Chief Sepass Theatre. $45. DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND Canadian blues veterans, with local guest Jim Byrnes. Oct 17, 8 pm, River Rock Show Theatre. $59.50/49.50. MARTIN SIMPSON English folksinger, guitarist, and songwriter. Oct 17, 8-10:30 pm, St. James Hall. $30/26. JADE BIRD Indie-folk singer-songwriter from South London, with guests Flyte. Oct 17, 9 pm, Imperial Vancouver. $20.

STEREOLAB Avant-pop band from England. Oct 14, 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom. $39.50. LANDON CUBE American indie-alternative singer-songwriter and music producer. Oct 14, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. $18.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15 HARD RUBBER ORCHESTRA WITH MARIANNE TRUDEL! Local 18-piece jazz orchestra performs with Montreal pianist. Oct 15, 8-10 pm, Orpheum Annex. $25/15.

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SAVAGE LOVE

Snappy answers to bonus questions by Dan Savage

W

e brought Savage Love Live to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, and the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis over three nights. As is always the case at live shows, the crowd had more questions than I could possibly answer in a single night. So in this week’s column, I’m going to tear through some of the questions I wasn’t able to get to.

you’re most likely the problem. b WHY DO STRAIGHT guys like anal so much?

bottled beer, watching sports—there are lots of things straight guys like that I just don’t get. But I get why they like anal: done right, anal feels amazing. And not just for the person doing the penetrating. When it’s done right, it is also great for the person being b IF YOU USE food for vaginal play, is penetrated. And sometimes the perthere any type you should definitely son being penetrated is a straight guy. b MY POLY FRIEND has started bringing her flavour-of-the-week partavoid? b AFTER A YEAR of dating, my boy- ners to social events instead of her Lasagna makes for a lousy insertion friend told me he is polyamorous. I awesome wife. How do I tell her I’d toy. (Food doesn’t belong in vaginas; don’t know how to proceed. Any tips? rather hang out with her and her wife there could be bacteria on the food, than her and her (usually boring, aleven after washing, that results in a If he meant, “Polyamory is my sexual ways temporary) new fling? nasty infection. #FuckFirst #EatAfter) orientation, and you have to allow me to date other people, and you can’t Maybe your poly friend’s wife doesn’t b HOW DO YOU feel about relationships break up with me over this because want to hang out with you. Wait, that have a time frame or defined end that would amount to discrimination I can say that in a nicer way: maybe point? For example, one person is go- on the basis of sexual orientation,” your poly friend’s wife is an introvert ing away for school or a new job? that’s bullshit and this relationship is who would rather stay home and she’s over. But if he meant, “Polyamory is a only too delighted that the flavour-ofI’m fine about relationships with better relationship model for me than the-week is willing to escort her wife seemingly set end points, as relation- monogamy,” that’s not bullshit and the to the box social. But if you miss your ships don’t have to be open to or conversation is just getting started. If friend’s wife, maybe give her a call become long-term in order to be a you prefer monogamy but you’re will- and invite her to lunch? success. (Did you meet a nice person? ing to consider polyamory to be with Did you have some good sex? Did him, i.e., if that’s a price of admission b MY FORMER LOVER cheated on his you part on good terms? Success!) you’re willing to pay, it could work out. current live-in girlfriend with me. She And the world is fi lled with couples But if you aren’t open to polyamory, has no idea. Should I tell her what a that met at a time in their lives when and monogamy isn’t a price he’s willing narcissistic cheater her boyfriend is? school or work commitments meant to pay to be with you, it won’t work out. Vengeful former affair partners don’t they couldn’t be together—and yet, years or even decades later, they’re b I WORK IN secondary education and have much more credibility than I’m in an open marriage. My job is narcissistic cheaters—indeed, people still together. You never know. awesome, but I’m so afraid of a stu- view both with similar contempt. b IS IT OKAY that I always seem to hate dent or a parent seeing me when I’m But you do you. my partners’ mothers? Is this normal? out with a different partner. What should I do? b MY HUSBAND AND I are swingers. It isn’t and it’s not. When you’re the For him, it’s who he is. For me, it’s common denominator in a lot of You could hope people would mind something I do (and like!). We argue high-stress, high-conflict relationships, their own business and continue to over how often we go out or have sex

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The Georgia Straight - Vancouver Writers Fest - Oct 10, 2019  

Issue #2699

The Georgia Straight - Vancouver Writers Fest - Oct 10, 2019  

Issue #2699