Page 1

FREE | OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020 Volume 54 | Number 2753





Find out how to make a stay-at-home Halloween a pumpkin full of fun CANNABIS





Author advocates hard-edged realism with the climate crisis


October 29 – November 5 / 2020



In advance of Halloween, we recall some of the most gruesome horror films ever made, including, of course, The Exorcist.

by Charlie Smith

By Steve Newton Cover illustration by Jake Collinge



The U.S. presidential election could have a big impact on a B.C.-based company that markets harvesting devices to cannabis producers. By Charlie Smith



The Spooky Season is upon us, and ESports fans will have plenty of opportunities to indulge their macabre gaming tastes. By Mike Usinger

e Online TOP 5

e Start Here

Smoke from wildfires, like this one near Roseburg, Oregon, has at times made life more difficult for British Columbians with respiratory illnesses. Photo by U.S. Bureau of Land Management.


hen almost 200 countries came together to negotiate the Paris Agreement in December 2015, it generated widespread hope for addressing the climate crisis. The agreement aimed to limit increases in global temperature. Its ideal was 1.5° C— with a firm cap below a 2° C increase—since the start of the Industrial Revolution. But many don’t realize that these ambitious goals may require a massive amount of carbon sequestration, based on computer projections. This is detailed in a new book, Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril, by political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University. “Keeping temperatures from rising above the 1.5-degree target in 2100, for instance, would require removal from the atmosphere of at least a half-trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide, in a global effort starting almost immediately and extending beyond the end of the century,” Homer-Dixon writes. “That amount would fill sixty-five Grand Canyons or a balloon filled with pure CO2 measuring about eighty kilometres in diameter (at sea-level atmospheric pressure), and removing it would entail the largest industrial project in history by far, one that would absorb a large fraction of the world’s economic output for decades.” In a phone interview with the Straight, Homer-Dixon cited this as an example of the hard-edged realism necessary to minimize the magnitude of climate-induced harm. In his book, he mentions that one way to achieve this carbon sequestration could come from planting fast-growing trees across huge amounts of land. After they absorbed carbon as they grew, they would be cut down to produce energy. The carbon dioxide would then be pumped underground. 2


“Are we going to divert money even from fossil-fuel industries into growing forests so we can burn them and pump the carbon dioxide underground?” the Metchosin-based author continued. “And yet there it is, in the fine print of all of these models. And it’s something that hasn’t received even a fraction of the attention that it should receive.” Homer-Dixon has devoted his academic career to examining how a multitude of variables come together in complex ways to affect our security. His previous bestsellers—The Upside of Down and The Ingenuity Gap—laid out the magnitude of the world’s predicament. In Commanding Hope, Homer-Dixon offers a road map for responding to the growing ecological crisis. And it’s anchored by radical honesty. “I think one of the things that’s really corrupting our public conversations about our future as societies—and as a species—is where we’re lying to ourselves,” Homer-Dixon said. According to him, there’s no “new normal” as long as more carbon keeps being released into in our ocean-atmospheric systems. “It’s not going to settle down into a new equilibrium—not for centuries,” he declared. “And so the disruption we’re seeing now is just the very beginning of what we can expect to see in the future. It’s not going to get better. It’s going to get way, way worse. “That’s going to have a mobilizing effect on people,” the author continued. “It’s not whether we are going to see this transition in technologies and economies and investments and the way we generate wealth and what our attitudes are toward consumption. All of that is going to happen. The real question is whether it’s going to be soon enough or not.” g

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

10 2 15 14 6 6 13 4 14 7


Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 54 | Number 2753 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 T: 604.730.7000 F: 604.730.7010 E: gs.info@straight.com straight.com

CLASSIFIEDS: T: 604.730.7060 E: classads@straight.com

DISPLAY ADVERTISING: T: 604.730.7020 F: 604.730.7012 E: sales@straight.com

DISTRIBUTION: 604.730.7087

SUBSCRIPTIONS: 604.730.7000

PUBLISHER Brian Kalish FOUNDING PUBLISHER Dan McLeod EDITOR Charlie Smith SECTION EDITORS Mike Usinger (Esports/Liquor/Music) Steve Newton SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy ASSOCIATE EDITOR John Lucas (Cannabis) STAFF WRITERS Carlito Pablo (Real Estate) Craig Takeuchi SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT Jeff Li ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER Janet McDonald GRAPHIC DESIGNER Miguel Hernandez PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Mike Correia PRODUCTION Sandra Oswald SALES DIRECTOR Tara Lalanne ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Glenn Cohen, Catherine Tickle, Robyn Marsh, Manon Paradis, David Pearlman CONTENT AND MARKETING SPECIALIST Rachel Moore

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

1 2 3 4 5

Private home gatherings restricted as new COVID-19 cases reach record high. Buyer takes $7-million lot next to Meng Wanzhou’s $13-million mansion. Dana Larsen: Challenge coins reveal disturbing side of policing. Belligerent Trump interview with Lesley Stahl was simply a case of déjà vu. Recommendations of what to watch on Netflix Canada in November. @GeorgiaStraight


MEDIA CENTRAL CORPORATION INC. 503–192 Spadina Ave.,Toronto, ON M5T 2C2



PETER WALL’S SHANNON MEWS 1515 W. 5 7 t h Av e n u e , Va n c o u v e r

6 0 4 . 2 61. 0 7 3 2


Up to 1/2 Month Rental Incentives Available. Call for details!

2 Bedroom

Stunning Kerrisdale neighbourhood with many urban amenities. Close to shopping. www.pw-shannonmews.com | suites@pw-shannonmews.com

PETER WALL’S YALETOWN 1310 R i c h a r d s S t r e e t , Va n c o u v e r



Rental Incentives Available. Call for details!


1 Bedroom

2 Bedroom

Located in the heart of Yaletown, overlooking English Bay and False Creek, Peter Wall Yaletown is a rare residential leasing opportunity

www.pw-yaletown.com | suites@pw-yaletown.com

PETER WALL’S SHANNON MEWS 1515 W. 5 7 t h Av e n u e , Va n c o u v e r

6 0 4 . 2 61. 0 7 3 2


Rental Incentives Available. Call for details!


1 Bedroom

2 Bedroom


Stunning, historical neighbourhood with many urban amenities. Close to shopping. www.pw-shannonmews.com | suites@pw-shannonmews.com OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020




Reports about falling rents not always accurate


by Carlito Pablo

obert Patterson says he keeps seeing media reports about rents falling in Vancouver. Rents and other housing issues are important subjects for Patterson. He works as a legal advocate and lawyer with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre. He also rents in the city. A common narrative goes that the pandemic has taken a bite out of rents. Renters are bailing out because they have lost jobs. Landlords are chasing tenants so they can keep their mortgage. There are more units on the market as the crash of tourism freed a lot of short-term accommodations. Every time he comes across reports about rents going down amid COVID-19, the first thing he does is open up the online advertising site Craigslist. “I check the rental listings in my area in Vancouver and other neighbourhoods,” Patterson told the Straight in a phone interview. According to Patterson, what he sees advertised on the market is not clear-cut. “I have to say, in the lower end of the market I have seen almost zero movement on rental units,” Patterson said. This means that for people who need and would really benefit from lower rents, there’s not much relief available. “While there is some downward pressure, I think it’s mostly on luxury properties,” Patterson said. Patterson said he pays about $1,700 for his one-bedroom unit in Vancouver, which he considers the lower end of the market. According to him, many tenants in Vancouver pay about the same amount for a comparable rental unit, and rents have not moved much. So when tenants hear reports about rents

The operations director with LandlordBC, Hunter Boucher, says it’s not that common to hear about tenants renegotiating rents, even though one report suggests that they’ve fallen in Burnaby.

falling, Patterson advises that they should check what’s really going on in the market. “I’m not sure if I would say a blanket suggestion to all tenants to go and renegotiate their rent,” Patterson said. On October 15, PadMapper released a report about median rents in Canada. According to the apartment-finder site, Toronto and Vancouver, the two priciest markets in the country, “still had doubledigit year-over-year declines” in the month of September. However, there was a “monthly tapering”, which “may signal that the downswings are decelerating and a rent price floor may be hit soon”. In September, the median rent of a one-bedroom unit in Toronto dropped to $2,050 a month. This represents a one percent decline from the previous month and a 10.9 percent reduction year over year. In Vancouver, the median rent of $2,000 in September for a one bedroom stayed f lat from August. However, the

figure constitutes a 7.8 percent decline compared to September 2019. For two bedrooms, the median rent in Toronto in September increased month over month by 0.8 percent, to $2,650. On a year over year basis, the number represents an 11.7 percent drop. In Vancouver, the median rent for a two-bedroom unit came to $2,750, which was the same as in August. However, the figure amounts to a 14.9 percent decrease compared to September 2019. “The rest of the top markets experienced a mixed bag of changes…,” PadMapper reported. Burnaby, which the site described as the third most expensive city, “saw rents down on all fronts”. Meanwhile, Victoria, the fourth-priciest market, “saw rents grow into the double digits since this time last year”. Also, a “majority of Canadian cities had growing rents on a yearly basis”. Hunter Boucher works as operations

Bill Watt, REALTOR

director with LandlordBC. He said that it’s “not overly common” to hear about tenants renegotiating rents with their landlords. Vacancy rates, especially in Vancouver, are low, and this means that renters have to compete for what is available on the market. That said, “landlords, in any case, should always be willing to at least keep an open mind” about negotiations, Boucher told the Straight in a phone interview. He likened renegotiations to a typical “business deal”, where two parties have to come to an agreement. “You take what they’re saying, understand it, and see you know where that works within your plan,” Boucher explained. “Is it sustainable for you? And be open to that, and then really investigate whether or not this really makes sense for you.” According to Boucher, setting rents is “considerably difficult” for landlords because they have to make sure that their costs are met. He also stressed that tenancy agreements do not preclude the possibility of renegotiating the rent and other terms. There can be real benefits to negotiating terms, such as rents, like keeping a tenant for the long term, he said. As for TRAC’s Patterson, the tenant advocate noted that renters know their landlords best. “It’s always a bit of a give and take,” Patterson said. “What can you provide that the landlord may want?” This may involve taking over some additional obligations, like landscaping, in exchange for a rent reduction. According to Patterson, it’s important to remember that nobody is obligated to agree to the other’s request. g


Gene Watt, REALTOR



-- • genewatt.com • genewatt@telus.net




508-1251 CARDERO ST, VANCOUVER 1 Bedroom - 1 Bathroom





1706-1251 CARDERO ST, VANCOUVER 1 Bedroom - 1 Bathroom

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020



2101-1850 COMOX ST, VANCOUVER 1 Bedroom - 1 Bathroom



#718 - 774 GREAT NORTHERN WAY 1 Bedroom - 1 Bathroom


Weed-industry folks eyeing U.S. election by Charlie Smith

Jocelyn Prefontaine says legalization at the U.S. federal level would help her company, Keirton.


en. Kamala Harris caused a shortterm rise in cannabis stock prices in early October. This came after she declared in the only U.S. vicepresidential debate that Joe Biden would decriminalize marijuana. But weed investors aren’t the only cannabis-industry people who may be affected by Tuesday’s (November 3) U.S. presidential election. A Surrey-based manufacturer of cannabis-harvesting machinery might also benefit from a Biden victory.

“I can’t speak to what the outcome of the election will be,� Jocelyn Prefontaine, growth and innovation manager at Keirton Inc., told the Straight by phone. “What I can say is when it [cannabis] becomes federally legal, it’s going to be massive.� She explained that authorities have granted about 525 various cannabis licences in Canada. In California, where the state has legalized weed, there are 14 times as many licences. Her company only sells products to companies that are operating legally. Ten other states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized cannabis. Another 14 states have decriminalized weed. If a future president legalizes cannabis at the federal level, it could open up business opportunities for Canadian suppliers like Keirton. It’s already selling products in 30 countries and has warehouses in Surrey and Ferndale, Washington. The privately owned company was founded by its CEO, Jay Evans, and is entering its 14th year in business. It has pioneered labour-saving devices, such as a high-volume leaf trimmer. According to Prefontaine, this enables companies to harvest anywhere from two pounds of dry flower per hour to 600

pounds of wet flower per hour. In addition, Keirton has developed bucking machines, which trim leaves off cannabis plants. “You would feed the stem into it,� Prefontaine said, then the top of the flower— or the flower pieces—would then fall onto a conveyor or be put into some type of bin that would then be transported to the trimmer.� This reflects how automated the cannabis industry has become. “Our focus has been ‘single-piece flow’,� Prefontaine said. “Think of Subway sandwiches. You start with your sub and then you build it—and the idea is that it’s wrapped at the end. “That’s kind of the same mentality with our equipment,� she continued. “We wanted it to flow naturally, and that’s what allows companies to scale.� g

Funeral & Cremation Services Inc.

The Best is



Essential Online Cremation Package $845 Funeral Services Package

from $2698

604.831.3023 (24/7) 1209 - 207 West Hastings St, MORE CANNABIS ONLINE AT CANNCENTRAL.COM

Vancouver, BC


If you’re looking for more than work. We’ve got your back. Project openings: om1u;|;-0o†u;uv ;m;u-Ѵ-0o†u;uv &m7;u]uo†m7-0o†u;uv

|b&o1-Ń´Ć?ŃľĆ?Ć?ġ‰;C]_|=ou_b]_;u‰-];vġv-=;uvb|;vġ =†ѴѴr;mvbomvġ-m7u;-Ń´0;m;C|vvo|_-|‹o†Ľu;0†bŃ´7bm]-1-u;;u bmv|;-7o=vblrѴ‹7obm]-fo0Äş!b]_|mo‰ġ‰;Ä˝u;u;1u†bাm]=ou rovbাomv-|l-foubm=u-v|u†1|†u;ruof;1|v-1uovvubাv_oѴ†l0b-Äş

Apply today for a better future liuna1611.org Mukhtaar Weheliye


OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020




Sun Bo Kong proves that dim sum can be meatless


by Rachel Moore

t seems that nobody really knows what time of the day dim sum is meant to be consumed. Even Google is no help when it comes to labelling the meal as breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner. But that didn’t keep us from entering the front door of Sun Bo Kong Vegetarian Restaurant, ready to eat ourselves into oblivion. Upon entering the spot at 1363 Kingsway, it’s clear that the restaurant’s owner loves all creatures. Several televisions are streaming adorable animal videos, which fi ll the warm space with a sense of compassion and joy. At Sun Bo Kong, all the dishes on the restaurant’s menu are vegetarian, so the constant loop of animal videos is of no concern. But if every restaurant played these heartwarming videos, would people still be able to enjoy their meat-fi lled meals? When someone decides to switch to a vegetarian or plant-based diet, there are often a couple meals made with meat that they reluctantly part with. And giving up steamed pork buns and sticky rice is not an easy feat for those with an affinity for Chinese cuisine. Ken Chau, owner of Sun Bo Kong, opened the vegetarian Chinese restaurant in 1992, long before vegetarianism gained mainstream momentum. The eatery’s ongoing success in Vancouver’s challenging restaurant industry is a testament to the staff ’s knowledge of vegetarian cooking. As mentioned on the restaurant’s website, its mission is to “promote a healthy and responsible diet, and most of all, a diet that causes no harm and pain to any living beings

Dim sum at Sun Bo Kong offers many treats that were made without causing pain to sentient beings. Photo by Albert Leung.

that have the capacity for suffering, enjoyment, and happiness as much as we do.” It’s apparent that Chau was ahead of the trend when it comes to caring for the environment, animals, and our own health. But enough about the animals: let’s discuss the dishes that had us feeling grateful for elastic waistbands. Sticky rice is to dim sum what wine is to Friday evenings: one simply could not exist without the other. Sun Bo Kong serves the flavourful rice in exciting formats, all without mystery meat.

Variations include Pan-fried Sticky Rice and the Sticky Rice Roll. The roll option features sticky rice wrapped tightly in the same fluff y white dough that is used for traditional steamed pork buns. For those who still need to meet their carb quota after devouring sticky rice, venture into the noodle portion of the dim sum menu. This includes delicious and slippery dishes like Three Kinds of Mushroom Congee, Sautéed Broad Rice Noodle With Shredded Vegetable, Pan-fried Noodle With Bean Curd Roll, and Veggie Beef Fried Rice With Ginger. The innovative restaurant doesn’t shy away from using plant-based meat alternatives in many of its dishes. The succulent, crispy meatless morsels are the perfect vehicle to deliver spicy and sweet sauces directly to your mouth. The BBQ Pastry Rolls are preposterously close to the real deal. They’re fi lled with tangy sauce mixed with shredded “pork” and are perfectly packaged in flaky pastry dough. Avoid regret and get two or three orders of these tasty tidbits—one plate is not enough. Guests who prefer softer, fluffier dough surrounding the well-seasoned fi lling should opt for an order (or five) of the Steamed BBQ Buns. We may have taken a few of these savoury bad boys home with us for later. Other popular dim sum plates at Sun Bo Kong are piled high with vegetable, mushroom, and taro dumplings, spicy green beans, spring rolls, and potstickers. And soy lovers can dive into dishes of deep-fried tofu and bean curd smothered in umami sauce. g

Zombie is a classic cocktail that takes many forms


by Mike Usinger

hat’s the greatest Halloween cocktail of all time? Sorry, Vampire Kiss Martini, Skeleton Key, and Children of the Corn, but there’s only one that matters. You know it as the Zombie. Legend has it—and this is backed up by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s indispensable Sippin’ Safari—that Tiki-drink icon Donn Beach concocted the drink in 1934. Before coming up with the liquid gold, Beach went through three and a half cases of various rums trying to perfect things.

The payoff ? The Zombie quickly become one of the most famous cocktails in North America. And as is often the case, that meant every Tom, Dick, and Trader Vic wanted in on the action. Figuring out a Mai Tai didn’t take a masters degree in mixology. The Zombie did, partly because Beach kept the contents of the drink a closely guarded secret. Through exhaustive sleuthing, Berry unearthed a recipe that included three kinds of rum, falernum, Pernod, Angostura bitters, lime, grenadine, and “Donn’s mix”. It didn’t take long for the Zombie to

mutate. By 1954 Don the Beachcomber restaurants were adding grapefruit juice, pineapple, and Maraschino to the drink. Other incarnations called for lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, and brown sugar. The rise of chain restaurants made volume more important than craftsmanship, versions of the classic that often landed on tables would have made Donn Beach cry. Despite what your local Thank the Olive Garden It’s Friday at Fuddrucker Applebee’s would have you think, a Zombie does not consist of Five Alive, Kirkland Signature Spiced Rum, and Rose’s Grenadine. Beach’s original tends to be overpoweringly booze-forward. When it’s Zombie time in the Ghetto (a.k.a. my East Van shit shack), I board up the windows and then tweak a recipe from Salvatore Calabrese’s excellent and endlessly informative book Classic Cocktails. The result is sweeter than the original Zombie, which can be attributed to adding orgeat and swapping in grenadine for the cherry brandy Calabrese’s recipe calls for. ZOMBIE

1/2 oz Bacardi white rum 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Signature Blend rum 1/2 oz Lemon Hart and Son 1804 Rum 1/3 oz apricot brandy 6


OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

Dating back to the 1930s, Zombies have mutated over time. Photo by Magnetic Rag.

1/3 oz grenadine (go the Difford’s or craft route instead of Rose’s) 1 3/4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice 1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice 2/3 oz Ceres papaya juice 1/3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice 1/2 teaspoon orgeat syrup 1 teaspoon Lemon Hart 151 Proof Pour ingredients in a shaker except the 151 rum, shake vigorously, and strain into a glass filled with crushedd ice. Float the 151 on top. g


Here are some wines to pair with your Halloween candy by Rachel Moore

What wine goes best with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Ever wondered which wine to drink with a Snickers bar or a Kit Kat? Below, you’ll find delectable pairings. Photo by Branden Skeli/Unsplash.


n October 31, the streets will be bustling with trick-or-treaters followed closely by their parents, eager to get them home. Once the kids are in bed, adults can pour a big glass of wine and rummage freely through their child’s loot bag. This can finally be done without sticky little mitts choosing the few pieces of candy that they’re allowed to take. If you’re not spending this Halloween chaperoning children in near-freezing temperatures, you’ll probably be cozy at home with a $20 box of fun-size candies on your lap. Which is the better way to celebrate Halloween? It’s a real toss-up. Not. Either way, the spookiest night of the year comes with opportunities to consume wine along with a disturbing amount of miniature candy bars. Before you venture out to stock up on tiny treats and wine, though, we want to suggest a number of delectable pairings.



Both of these sweet delicacies are divine on their own but become an utter game changer when combined. Twizzlers are suitable for candy lovers following a plant-based or vegetarian diet and are lower in fat compared to chocolatey Halloween treats. If you’re feeling adventurous, bite the ends of the Twizzler off and use it as a straw. Few things are classier than drinking wine with a DIY candy straw. Drinking an organic sparkling wine will make you feel less guilty about devouring an entire box of mini Twizzlers—life is all about balance. We recommend the aromatic, bubbly Rosé Organic from Anna Spinato.

Of all the old-school Halloween candies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are still a hot commodity, unlike candy corn. Candy corn simply did not age well. A glass (or entire bottle) of dark-red Cabernet Sauvignon will perfectly complement the chocolate and peanut butter. We suggest choosing a bottle with profiles of blackberries and cherries. Cab Sauv also pairs delightfully with Wunderbars, peanut M & Ms, Oh Henry! bars, and York Peppermint Patties. B.C.-based Bodacious makes a smooth, medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that can be found at liquor stores for less than $10.

For those who prefer sugary sweets over chocolate, the combination of Skittles and a dry Sauvignon Blanc can be truly mind-blowing. Other popular Halloween candies like Sour Patch Kids, Jolly Ranchers, and gummy worms also go well with a bottle of fruit-forward white wine. We suggest the Sauvignon Blanc by Fern Walk, crafted at the Black Sage Bench vineyards in the southern Okanagan Valley. SNICKERS AND SYRAH

A heavily poured glass of rich, jammy Syrah is phenomenal when teamed up with a bowl of fun size Snickers. The sweet f lavours and silky tannins in the wine pair well with the salty peanuts in the chocolate bar. You can snag a bottle of Ontario-based Naked Grape Shiraz/Syrah from a nearby liquor or wine store for less than $10. TWIZZLERS AND A SPARKLING WINE

see next page

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020




Spooky season brings many treats for ESports fans Gaming goblins have options including J Balvin on Fortnite and the Apex Legends seasonal Fight or Fright


by Mike Usinger

s you might have seen recently on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, October is more than a time for pumpkin spice lattes, stuffing your face with mini chocolate bars for weeks leading up to October 31, and wondering why God made trees. (If you’re living in a condo or apartment, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to spend hours each fall raking up leaves in the pissing rain). October is, of course, also the start of Spooky Season. How do we know this? Well, newscasters Down South can’t shut up about it. Much like their fascination with pumpkin lattes. Given that it’s now Spooky Season, it should surprise no one that the ESports world is all in. Here’s a pocket-size roundup of some of the goings-on.

Stormwind battlegrounds are festooned with Hallow’s End decorations. Special tavern brawls, legendary quests, and the return of Hallow’s End cards are part of this year’s fun. You can also wish a happy Spooky Season to your fellow Azerothites. Or whatever they are called. The fun continues to October 31. Remember to take it easy on the Zombies at the tavern. APEX LEGENDS FIGHT OR FRIGHT

tedly, given the kind of year it’s been, is a lot better than going with 28 Days Later or Outbreak. To start reaping rewards like the Ecto-1 Car, Stay Puft Topper, or Ectoplasm Decal, players can start by completing event challenges. The 2020 edition of Haunted Hallows is now live and ends at 6 p.m. PST on November 2.

Always dreamed of walking on walls like Seth Brundle and dancing on ceilings like the always creepy Christopher Walken in that Fatboy Slim video? Then you’re going to be super stoked about the Shadow Legends in Apex Legends seasonally themed Fight or Fright. As part of the event, players can beat the digital pulp out of each other until they see the digital light. But they also get the ability to respawn as a “Shadow Legend”, assuming at least one of their teammates is still alive and kicking on the battlefield. Positives for Shadow Legends include becoming speedier and getting the ability to walk on walls. On the downside, conventional weapons become of zero use. Other Apex Legends perks for Fight or Fright include having Halloween-themed skins laid out for the purchasing in the game’s shop. The Spooky Season mode starts on October 22 and runs through to November 3. For more information, go here. And feel free to ask when Brundlefly will be making an appearance. g


With files from John Lucas.


Let’s face it: you’re probably not doing much this Halloween. Trick-or-treating (if it even happens this year) is for little kids. On the other hand, going to a party is out of the question. No, the most likely scenario is that you’re going to be spending the night of October 31 playing Fortnite, like you do every other Saturday evening. Epic Games gets it. So on Halloween night, Colombian Reggaeton star J Balvin will be taking a break from shilling for McDonald’s and their happy meals. Instead, watch for the man who’d rather not answer to José—perhaps because it rhymes with “No way”—to put on an Afterlife Party concert inside Fortnite. Hey, if Travis Scott can do it, why not him? Put Evil Dead on pause at 6 p.m. PST on October 31, and head over to the Party Royale main stage where Balvin will not only perform his biggest smashes but debut a new track with Sech. According to Rolling Stone, his performance will be shot using extended reality (XR) technology. That means he will be recorded using LED walls and camera tracking to give him a more “real-life in a

Coming up on Halloween night, J Balvin is hoping to haunt your dreams with Fortnitemares.

virtual world look”. (Should you be busy watching Evil Dead, Afterlife Party will be rebroadcast on November 1 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the Party Royale main stage). Showing up gets you a J Balvin edition of a Fortnite Party Trooper outfit currently on the racks of the Item Shop. ROCKET LEAGUE’S HAUNTED HALLOWS

Who doesn’t love Ghostbusters? It’s got the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a thoroughly possessed Sigourney Weaver. Not to mention Rick Moranis panicstrickeningly whispering “Nice doggie” at a gargoyle that’s not going to sit for anyone other than Gozer the Gozerian. The 2020 edition of Rocket League’s Haunted Hallows celebration has chosen Ghostbusters as its theme. Which admit-

from previous page


Pinot Noir boasts profiles of dark fruits like cherries, creating a scrumptious chocolate-covered-cherry taste when paired with a Kit Kat. The light-bodied red wine can also be thoroughly enjoyed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and other goodies made with milk chocolate. We suggest the 2017 Pinot Noir from Monte Creek Ranch in Kamloops. HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE BARS AND ZINFANDEL

Pairing Hershey’s milk chocolate with a glass of red Zinfandel can play down the sweetness of the snack-sized candy 8


While the verdict is out on pumpkin lattes, there’s zero disputing that the fine folks of Azeroth totally love the Season of the Witch. Hallow’s End has Hearthstone fans following a seasonally spooky set of rules where they enter the arena, choose a hero, and opt for individual hero powers. During the Hallow’s End run heroes are in costume, and the Orgrimmar and

bar. The rich, medium-bodied wine will replace some the candy’s sugar with hints of jam berries. A bottle of Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel from California can flawlessly elevate your date with a box of Halloween chocolates. MAYNARDS SWEDISH FISH AND ROSÉ

This combination sounds somewhat juvenile, but it’s really meant for the most mature and developed palates. The vegan-friendly gummies are sweet and chewy with a slight aftertaste of cinnamon. The faint spice from the Swedish Fish pairs perfectly with a sip of chilled Rosé.

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020


To stick with the vegan theme, pair a packet of the adorable fish with the Narrative Rosé Vegan from Okanagan Crush Pad. MAYNARDS FUZZY PEACHES AND PINOT GRIGIO

Like always, we’ve saved the best for last. This match made in heaven will have you salivating before you even uncork the bottle or open the bag of candy. The flavours of lemon, nectarine, apple, and pear found in Pinot Grigio effortlessly compliment the tangy peach candies. Couple Maynards Fuzzy Peaches with a dry white like the 2018 Pinot Gris from Hester Creek in Oliver. g


Classic horror films top monstrous local offerings Hollywood blockbusters from the ’70s like The Exorcist dominate, with Japanese screamers just behind by Steve Newton


Linda Blair shocked moviegoers with her portrayal of a 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon from hell in director William Friedkin’s 1973 adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s bestselling novel.

here’s no denying that William Friedkin’s 1973 movie The Exorcist is one of the top horror films of all time. The disturbing tale of a sweet 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon from hell has scared the crap out of people for almost half a century, and it still packs a fearsome punch. It will be hitting the big screen of the Rio Theatre in all its nightmare-making glory this Friday and Saturday (October 30 and 31). Unlike many fright flicks that rely heavily on gore and jump scares, the main attraction of The Exorcist has always been its powerful acting. Sure, the green pea soup in the eye and the bloody crucifix in the you-know-what caught people’s attention, but it was the stellar performances of cast members like Ellen Burstyn, Lee J. Cobb, and little newcomer Linda Blair that made the supernatural nastiness originating with William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel so shockingly believable. The guy playing the exorcist, Max von Sydow, wasn’t bad either. When he was doing publicity in 1993 for the Vancouver-shot adaptation of Stephen King’s Needful Things—in which he switched teams, so to speak, portraying the devil instead of a Satan-battling priest— von Sydow commented on The Exorcist and its legacy. “I think that is a very, very well-made film,” he told me for a write-up in Fangoria magazine. “It has become some kind of a horror classic, and I think it really deserves it. And it almost started a trend; it has been

imitated many, many times since then. I haven’t seen all these films, but I doubt that they have been able to really make as good a film as that. It dealt with a very unexpected subject, with an evil child, which is a terrifying idea.” Frightening as The Exorcist was, von Sydow was surprised when he first heard the much-publicized news about weakhearted filmgoers running from the theatre in panic and tossing their cookies when the movie’s nastier bits were flashed on the screen. “The film became something else,” he related. “It became some kind of a mental test where people went to see this film to find out whether they could take it without fainting or throwing up or whatever. Or without having nightmares for two weeks.” The screenings at the Rio of the 2010 director’s cut of The Exorcist will be preceded on Friday and followed on Saturday by a couple of other horror classics that had scaredy-cats freaking out in the 1970s. The first night will see Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s careermaking 1974 novel Carrie bringing the high-school horrors of bullying and alienation—not to mention fiery supernatural revenge—to the fore. And—because what’s Halloween night without a good old-fashioned slasher flick—All Hallows’ Eve will see stab-happy Michael Myers roaming the streets of Haddonfield, Illinois, in John Carpenter’s 1978 blockbuster, Halloween. Masks are encouraged; kitchen knives not so much.

If the all-American horror on display at the Rio isn’t your thing, then across town at the Cinematheque they’ll be doling out J-horror fixes. Friday night kicks off with Japanese extremist Takashi Miike’s 1999 Audition, about a widower who holds an “audition” for a new life partner but winds up on the wrong end of a wire saw. That’s followed by cult director Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s out-there 1989 cyberpunk item Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Described by the British Film Institute’s Lou Thomas as “completely bonkers”, Tetsuo is a low-budget mind messer apparently inspired by the body horror of David Cronenberg and the grotesque surrealism of early David Lynch. It’s about a “metal fetishist” in Tokyo who gets hit by a car and... Oh, forget it. That movie is too weird for words. It has to be seen to be believed. On Halloween night at the Cinematheque, the fun starts on a ghostly note with director Hideo Nakata’s 2002 film Dark Water, about a divorced single mom who moves into a rundown housing complex with her six-year-old daughter before they fall prey to unsettling supernatural happenings. Dark Water was remade in 2005, with Jennifer Connelly as the beleaguered mom. The spooky thrills continue with another Nakata effort, Ringu, which is credited for kick-starting the J-horror craze in 1989. It’s about a cursed videotape that, when watched, brings certain death to the viewer a week later. It was also remade, with Naomi Watts starring, in 2002.

Topping off the night is one Japanese horror film that wasn’t remade for the American market, and it’s easy to see why. According to the description on the Cinematheque website, director Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 movie House is “a campfire ghost story told at the peak of a peyote trip...[that] involves seven giggly schoolgirls who turn up at an aunt’s countryside home and, one by one, meet goofily gruesome deaths by some peeved-off supernatural weirdness.” Doesn’t sound like something your typical Hollywood producer would kill to greenlight. And for those who just can’t get out of the house for in-person Halloween viewing, may we recommend one choice item from each of three streaming services? Those with Netflix would be wise to home in on 2018’s Hereditary, a satanic flick in which the devil’s wrath seems tame compared to the suffering that damaged family members can inflict on one another. If you’ve got Shudder, check out ’80s horror honcho Stuart Gordon’s 2007 film Stuck, inspired by the sad but true story of a homeless man who got hit by a car and was left in the windshield to die. And Amazon Prime subscribers should try 2011’s The Cabin in the Woods, in which a gaggle of attractive young victims-to-be head out for some weekend fun in what looks like your typical Friday the 13th– style slaughterfest but which turns out to be so much more. It could be the best horror flick ever made in Vancouver. g

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020




Bowen gets bluesy and funky for Mother Earth


by Steve Newton

ancouver blues artist Dalannah Gail Bowen has just released an inspiring new video for a funky, pro-environment tune called “Look Ahead”. “This song is an invitation and a reminder for us all as ‘stewards of the land’ to ensure we walk consciously and conscientiously in regard to Mother Earth and all living things,” Bowen says in a news release. “The current climate in regards to Mother Earth is a sign that we must be aware of the damage we are causing; waters are receding and flooding, ancient icebergs are melting. “We have entered a crucial time in our relationship to Mother Earth,” she adds, “and it is our responsibility to be active

“We must carry the torch of respect for Mother Earth.” – Dalannah Gail Bowen Dalannah Gail Bowen has a crucial message about the environment in “Look Ahead”.

in ‘changing the tide’. I encourage everyone to act with consideration and be an example of the positive and good way to

respect the environment and all living things. We must carry the torch of respect for Mother Earth.”

VICTOR VASARELY Exhibition of Vasarely’s paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and multiples from the 1960s and ’70s. To Apr 5, Vancouver Art Gallery.


RESURGENCE: INDIGIQUEER IDENTITIES Exhibition curated by Jordana Luggi celebrates the work of four emerging artists and their unique identities and stories as queer Indigenous people. To Jan 24, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. $13.

< < < < < < <

ONGOING Haida Now: A Visual Feast of Innovation and Tradition Exhibit guest-curated by Kwiaahwah Jones features more than 450 works by carvers, weavers, photographers and print makers, collected as early as the 1890s. To winter 2020, Museum of Vancouver.

MODERN IN THE MAKING: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia Exhibition examines the furniture, ceramics, textiles, fashion, and jewellery that defined West Coast modern living in the mid-20th century. To Jan 3, Vancouver Art Gallery. THIRD REALM Exhibition curated by Davide Quadrio draws on photography, film, and installation from the FarEastFarWest collection of contemporary Asian art. To Nov 8, The Polygon Gallery.

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

DTES HEART OF THE CITY FESTIVAl Twelveday event will feature music, stories, poetry, films, readings, art talks, and visual arts either online on in pop-up outdoor settings. Oct 28– Nov 8, Online and at various venues. JOKES PLEASE! Standup comedy show hosted by Ross Dauk. Oct 29, 9-10:30 pm, Little Mountain Gallery. $13.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR John Gray’s play based on the true story of Canadian World War I flying ace Billy Bishop. Oct 29–Nov 1, Deep Cove Shaw Theatre. $35. BEIRUT A play about forbidden love in a pandemic. Oct 29-Nov 6,, Performance Works. $12 + $3 membership.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31 BART THE MASKED TROUBADOUR Open mic with live guitar and standup comedy. Oct 31, 5-8 pm, Pacific Arts Market. $7.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4 IN THE BEGINNING: A CULTURAL SHARING Rosemary Georgeson and Donna Spencer delve into the stories and history of the Indigenous peoples in the area that is now called Vancouver. Nov 4-7, Firehall Arts Centre. From $15.

MEMORIAL FOR THE LOST PAGES Moving and still images by late Pakistani artist Madiha Aijaz. To Jan 3, Contemporary Art Gallery.


THE EYES HAVE WALLS Small paintings and ceramic works by Vancouver-based Nicole Ondre and Mina Totino. To Dec 12, West Vancouver Museum.


BUFFOON The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Anosh Irani’s one-person tragicomedy. To Dec 6, Granville Island Stage.

Shame and Prejudice: A STORY OF RESILIENCE Cree artist Kent Monkman critiques Canada’s colonial history and reenvisions it through Indigenous eyes. To Jan 3, Museum of Anthropology at UBC.

ONE CHILD... The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Nilaja Sun’s one-woman play about a substitute drama teacher’s experiences at a hardscrabble high school in the Bronx. To Nov 8, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.


“Look Ahead” is the latest single off Bowen’s fifth studio album, Looking Back, which was produced by Michael Creber and features performances by such local music greats as Jim Byrnes, Tom Keenlyside, Joani Bye, Andreas Schuld, Chris Nordquist, Miles Hill, Olaf de Shield, Jane Mortifee, Brian Newcombe, Rob Becker, and the Sojourners. Singer-songwriter Bowen—who is also an actor, playwright, storyteller, event producer, and social activist—will be performing tunes from Looking Back next Thursday (October 29) at 7 p.m. as part of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. The online event is free, with donations appreciated, and you can register at HeartoftheCityFestival.com. g

EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL Twenty-fourth annual event sees local artists opening their studios to display their work. Nov 12-22, Online and in-person options. Free.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21 CHUTZPAH! FESTIVAL Concerts, comedy, dance, and previews of theatrical works-in-progress will be livestreamed from the stage of the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre to an online audience. Nov 21-28, Online and in-person.


In the Beginning shares early Indigenous stories


By Martin Dunphy

osemary Georgeson didn’t know it at the time, but the events of that sunny day in the 1980s when she was almost killed by the ocean that had fed her and her family for many years set her on a path that led to where she is today. Where Georgeson is today is her position as one of the lead organizers for In the Beginning, a presentation of the Firehall Arts Centre and Vancouver Moving Theatre that is part of the 17th Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. In the Beginning consists of five cultural-sharing events at the Firehall spread over four days (November 4 to 7) of the 12day annual festival. Three of the five events will introduce viewers to members of the First Nations upon whose traditional territories Vancouver now stands: the Musqueam, TsleilWaututh, and Squamish. The other two showcase the stories of Indigenous people who came from outside the Lower Mainland and B.C. to the place we now call the Downtown Eastside (DTES) and who made their lives there and in the surrounding areas. Those events are titled Over the Mountains and From the Waters, the latter of which brings us back to Georgeson and her brush with death. ”We were crossing the Salish Sea,” Georgeson, who has Coast Salish and Sahtu Dene heritage, tells the Straight by phone. “It was a beautiful sunny day.” It was 1986, and she was a single mother, 29, with two young daughters at home on Galiano Island, where she had lived all her life. She was aboard one of the boats that had given her a living in commercial fishing ever since she had started with her dad as a child in Active Pass. Then the vicious gale blew up without warning. Even B.C. Ferries suspended sailings. “There was no way to turn around, so we kept on going,” she says, remembering how her terrified thoughts turned to her little girls, four and five. “If anything had happened to me out there, my parents would have had to have raised them. It was pretty scary. “I wanted to kiss the dirt when I stepped off the boat. I’m very cautious when I go out on the water now.” Her passion for working the boats had taken a serious hit. For the next 14 years, she worked at various dry-land jobs, including as a cook and truck driver, delivering flowers. “At 43, I decided it was time for a change,” Georgeson says. “My cousin Marie Clements asked me [in August 2000] if I wanted to help out with a women’s writing workshop at the Firehall. That’s where I first met [Firehall artistic

We don’t have the right to tell anyone’s stories. – Rosemary Georgeson

Storyteller, playwright, and former commercial fisher Rosemary Georgeson gathered people whose Indigenous stories will be heard during In the Beginning. Photo by David Cooper.

producer] Donna Spencer. “We ended up running that for three years.” Two books of women’s stories and poetry came out of those workshops, and some of those were hers. “They were stories about a life fully lived, fishing, raising kids. Growing up on Galiano, life was so different there. And working with these women on the DTES, they had the same stories. It was the most amazing healing process.” Clements—a celebrated Métis playwright, director, and actor who lives on Galiano Island (Georgeson now lives in Delta)—had helped her find a new passion. “I realized that in the writing process, I was letting out my stories and some of my anger,” Georgeson says. “I thought, ‘This is amazing: I get to come here and do this work and help these women.’ I was more of a support for other women to put their story out.” And stories are what it is all about now, for both her (Georgeson became a playwright and radio documentarist and was the Vancouver Public Library’s storyteller in residence in 2014) and In the Beginning’s large cast of Indigenous presenters. During last year’s Heart of the City Festival, Georgeson, Spencer, and Vancouver Moving Theatre artistic director Savannah Walling explored the history of the cultural communities that made up the neighbourhoods, past and present, in and around the DTES: Chinatown, Hogan’s Alley, Japantown, and others. “It seemed clichéd; it didn’t seem to sit well with me,” Georgeson says. “We don’t have the right to tell anyone else’s stories. “And we couldn’t find a story that we, as First Nation people, could be a part of.

This [In the Beginning] is looking at who was there on the land first. It’s about telling our own stories, finding our places in this land.”

Georgeson started calling a lot of “people I know”, and the result will be unstructured evenings of storytelling, visual art, and oral history from activists, chiefs, and everyday people involved in cultural revitalization and tribal journeys. “I think that their conversations will be really, really interesting,” Georgeson says. “Nobody is telling the participants what to say....It probably will be a surprise for everyone, including us!” Maybe In the Beginning should be calling Georgeson’s story the first one in From the Waters. g

8, 2020

rs of 20 yea

ing perform acious


2 ber 21Novem




Hotel Sponsor

Presenting Media Sponsor

Media Partner

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020



Vancouver Moving Theatre with the Carnegie Community Centre and the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians with a host of community partners presents



HEARTTHEOF CITY FESTIVAL OCTOBER 28 TO NOVEMBER 8 live & online info: heartofthecityfestival.com



Director Louisa Phung finds hope and grace in pandemic by Charlie Smith


AN EVENING WITH DALANNAH GAIL BOWEN: Looking Back & The Returning Journey Blues Hall of Fame inductee performs two sets featuring her powerful voice, original songs & poetry. Thursday October 29 | 7pm Online | registration available Post-event Q&A with Dalannah

SPOTLIGHT ON THE EAST END Featuring Khari Wendell McClelland, Rup Sidhu, Hannah Walker, Geoff Berner and Son of James (Shon Wong). Friday October 30 | 8:30pm Online | registration available

DTES FRONT & CENTRE SHOWCASE: All Together Now! A big virtual celebration of the many talented community performers of the Downtown Eastside. Enjoy performances from some of our favourite musicians, storytellers, dancers, poets, writers, singers, actors, and spoken word artists. Saturday October 31, 7pm Online | registration available

EAST END BLUES & ALL THAT JAZZ A soul-stirring tribute to the strength of the historic East End Black community and the legendary Gibson family. Featuring Candus Churchill, Tom Pickett, Khari Wendell McClelland, Bill Costin, Tim Stacey with special guests Dalannah Gail Bowen and local legend Thelma Gibson. Tuesday November 3, 7pm | Online registration available | post-event conversation



OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

Louisa Phung’s short film “Hope and Grace” premiered at the Edmonton International Film Festival, and her one-minute horror film, “Day Break”, has become a sensation. Photo by Shimon Karmel.


ouisa Phung shares something in common with many of her fellow Vancouverites. She’s the daughter of immigrant parents. And like many second-generation Canadians, she has worked exceptionally hard to succeed in her chosen career, the film and television industry. As a second assistant director, she has piled up a long list of TV credits. “I always loved directing,” Phung told the Straight by phone. “And basically being in film, they were training me to direct—and paying me to do so as a trainee.” One of her mentors was the late Kim Manners, whose credits include The XFiles, Supernatural, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Phung said Manners helped give her the confidence to eventually start making her own short films during slow times in Hollywood North. Her most recent film, “Hope and Grace”, premiered in early October at the Edmonton International Film Festival. It’s loosely and partly based on her parents’ first six months in Canada after arriving as refugees from Vietnam in 1979. “In the dead of night, my mother and my uncle were woken up and stuck on the back of a moped and taken to the airport,” Phung said. “It’s not just my family story,” Phung explained of the film. “It’s other people’s stories as well.” On the plane, her mother, then 17 years old, met her father. They wound up working on a farm in Malaysia. From there, her parents moved to a camp in Hong Kong.

“Canada was one of the first countries to say, ‘Yes, we’ll take refugees,’ ” Phung said. “They jumped at the chance.” Phung was born a year after they moved to Canada and she didn’t know much about this family history as a child. It was only in her 20s and 30s that she started to ask questions. The family’s story was recently told in a book by her uncle, Andy Lieu, called My Children’s Horrific Journey to Freedom.

And basically being in film, they were training me to direct… – Louisa Phung

One of her earlier short films is the terrifying “Day Break”, which has become a Halloween favourite. It won the “1 Minute Ultra Short” prize at the 2019 Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Phung is also directing a one-act play, Beirut, which will be performed as part of the third installment of this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. Written by Alan Bowne, it focuses on a heterosexual love affair in the midst of a pandemic. “I’m on a bit of a hot streak right now,” Phung said with a laugh. g


Could Funny Boy be Canada’s answer to the Oscars?

Deepa Mehta’s film about queer brown love in Sri Lanka demonstrates how far she’s come as a director


by Sirish Rao

early 25 years ago, Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta released Fire, a film that proved as incandescent as its name. When it hit the screens in her motherland, India, it would be the first time a mainstream film explored and presented homosexual love: two sisters-in-law (played by noted actors Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das) in a traditional Delhi household fall in love with each other. Fire took on a subject so taboo that it resulted in a death threat for Mehta and violent protests and vandalism at cinema halls where it was showing. After all, few things are more threatening to the patriarchy than women saying they don’t need men. It also was a major box-office success, spurring a civil movement in support of queer rights and free speech, with men and women holding candlelight protests in front of cinema halls and insisting the film continue to be screened. At about the same time, just over 25 years ago, another Canadian of South Asian origin—Sri Lanka–born novelist Shyam Selvadurai—released his evocative coming-of-age novel Funny Boy, about growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict, one of that country’s most turbulent and deadly periods. It, too, was a rarity, questioning brown masculinity and making a space for brown queer love. It went on to win a “Lammy” (as the Lambda Literary Award for gay fiction is called). In October, fans of Mehta and Selvadurai were delighted to see an announcement from another path breaker, Ava DuVernay, whose incredible directorial work includes the films 13th and Selma. DuVernay tweeted that her distribution house, Array, was set to release Mehta’s latest film, Funny Boy, on Netflix on December 10: “When you get to distribute the latest feature film from one of your cinematic heroes, it is a good day. Wow. An honor. A dream.” Mehta spoke from New Delhi, where she went to be with her inspirational 95-yearold mother, who has had to suspend her regular game of bridge with her friends because of the pandemic. What follows is an excerpt of the conversation. Sirish Rao: Deepa, every time I see a film released on this side of the planet that features a cast comprised almost entirely of brown people, I realize how rare that is. And, of course, it [Funny Boy] is set in Sri Lanka, a part of the world that gets very little representation, and it’s a story of brown queer love. Isn’t it odd that in 2020, even representation of these worlds is a rarity?

Brandon Ingram (left) plays Arjie and Rehan Mudannayake plays Shehan in Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy, which will be released on Netflix December 10.

Deepa Mehta: What can I say? In a way, all of my films are about being brown. It started from childhood in India, where there’s plenty of shadism. People would look at me as a young girl and say, “Oh, she’s a bit too brown—who’ll marry her? Poor thing”. See how much is packed into that sentence? It’s about our colonial masters and our desire to emulate them, to be them in every way. What a legacy… But in terms of the narrative, for me, whether it was Fire or Earth, it is always about what do you do with the oppression of thought? What do you do with the repression of a fact? Why don’t we talk about things? In terms of Funny Boy, and my work, well, I just feel it’s about time we owned our narrative. For too long, South Asia has been a backdrop for the western gaze—something exotic out of a tourist brochure (when it’s not about the slums) or it’s all about Bollywood and yoga. And you know what these narratives do: they reduce us to preconceptions. I’m tired of that, I’ve always wanted to show what we are also about—which is complexity. I don’t want to be denied my history, which is that of a complex being, and, yes, sometimes that history is devastating. It took me a while (and a lot of people of my generation certainly feel it) to break free of the need to speak to the white gaze. SR: In many ways this is also a Canadian story—both you and Shyam are celebrated Canadian artists. It’s also great to see

people like Agam Darshi from Vancouver and Ali Kazmi from Toronto playing major roles. How has the Sri Lankan reaction been to the film? DM: First of all, I’m not pretending for a minute that I’m Sri Lankan. But I think it’s really, really important that this wasn’t made by a white person, who more often than not get to be the storytellers. It wasn’t so long ago that the parts of brown people were played by white people—this is not Alec Guinness in Passage to India in brownface. This film was a project where some of us who are not Sri Lankan are helping to tell a Sri Lankan story. A story that because it is deeply local becomes a universal one. So the non–Sri Lankan actors did their best to learn Tamil and Sinhala for their roles. It’s not always perfectly spoken, but imagine how ridiculous if everyone spoke in English, as often happens when you make a film for a global audience? I’m proud of the fact that 50 percent of this film is not in English. We took a lot of advice and guidance along the way, from local writers, speech guides. And once the film was done, I decided the first audience should be Sri Lankans. So we hosted underground screenings in the homes of the actors, and such a huge cross-section of people came. There were Tamils, Sinhalese, Burghers, young, old, human-rights activists, LGBTQ activists, cricketers, grandmothers, students. And

what was amazing is that the overwhelming thing they felt was the power of seeing themselves on-screen. Their lives, their history, their beloved, violent land. I’ve had people in the Sri Lankan diaspora say how it’s the story of their own life. There’s a deep personal resonance. And, you know, that personal resonance is also for others who are not Sri Lankan—people from Palestine and Egypt who’ve said that they know what it feels like to leave a homeland behind about which they have mixed emotions. To come to Canada and find their sexual identity but give up their cultural identity. SR: Funny Boy is essentially a Bildungsroman about Arjie, who is coming to terms with his sexuality at the same time he is becoming aware of the political and ethnic divisions in his country. The people who make any sort of space for him at all are rebellious women: his mother and his aunt. And the people who you centre in the film are usually the ones who have to hide or are actively silenced: queer folks and rebellious women. DM: I’m so glad you saw that! Yes, it’s about the people who are silenced. But it’s also about strong, compassionate women. What a power compassion can be! Arjie’s Aunty Radha (played by Agam Darshi) is amazing. Someone saw the film and said, “Everyone needs an Aunty Radha in their life”. And I want one too! I want an Aunty Radha.” g

OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020




Jealous girl should jump before getting dumped by Dan Savage

b I’VE BEEN IN a relationship with a wonderful guy for the past year. The only problem is that he works with a girl he used to fuck. It wasn’t just sex: they would go on dates and even went on vacation together. He kept this little “detail” to himself for six full months before giving himself away by mistake. He then apologized, said he hadn’t told me so that I wouldn’t worry for no reason, and that he no longer has any feelings for her whatsoever. Disclaimer: I’m an extremely jealous person with huge trust issues, so knowing he kept all this from me is devastating. I no longer trust him. Just thinking that he’s seeing—on a daily basis—a woman he used to sleep with is driving me nuts! I repeated-

ly asked him to let me meet her in person, at the very least, but it didn’t happen. So one night, after giving him a headsup, I showed up at their workplace. He had said it would be okay for me to stop by sometime, but once I got there he freaked out. He accused me of not trusting him! My question: am I being crazy and overreacting—I’ll admit I’ve been agonizing nonstop about this—or is he acting like an asshole with something to hide? I’ve been struggling to curb my anxiety about this, and I’ve even had a few panic attacks he’s not aware of. Him changing jobs is out of the question. - I’m Terrified About Losing It And Nuking Everything

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 conffess 70s bods

I spent all night watching made for TV movies from the 70s last night. They were cheesy but good. One thing I noticed were people’s bodies. I know it’s a movie so they’ve hired good looking and fit people but honestly everyone looked so fresh and naturally trim and healthy. I just don’t find that people look like that anymore. I think factory farming and fast food has really messed with people. Since when did XXS become a size? That used to just be a size 4 or a small. I think we all need to get serious about our health and the planet. Don’t just watch documentaries and think that things are doomed. Actually do something.

Tears For Ears Lying on my back in bed and crying gets tears in my ears and makes me even more of a mess.

Masks are good for something I didn’t have a mask so I had to buy one from 7-Eleven so I could get on the bus. After I opened it and put it on I realized it reminded me of woman’s panties and I thought well, that’s a switch. One that I’m very okay with. Who needs fantasies when you can wear a mask. Don’t hate me for what I like. Women are delectable and everybody pretends that this isn’t a thing but it definitely is. A very enjoyable one. ewww there I said it for you. Let’s move on.

zit zen So I really needed a haircut and got one, even though I had a zit on the back of my neck. That’s life sometimes.

Visit 14


to post a Confession OCTOBER 29 – NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

you dating this guy before you outed yourself as an extremely jealous person (EJP)? I’m guessing at least a few weeks, ITALIANE, if not a few months. Because, as you’re no doubt aware—as all EJPs are aware—it’s not a desirable trait, which is why very few EJPs disclose on the first date. (“I grew up in Milan; I have two sisters; and I’m the type of person who’ll show at your workplace and cause a huge scene if I think you might be fucking someone else or have ever fucked someone else.”) If you’re anything like EJPs I’ve dated and dumped, you didn’t show your boyfriend this side of yourself until long after he’d developed feelings for you, making it harder—harder by design—for him to end things. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess he found out his new girlfriend is an EJP before you found out your boyfriend works with a woman he used to fuck. At some point before the six-month mark, ITALIANE, you blew up at him about a waitress or someone he follows on Instagram. And at that moment he realized he couldn’t tell you he works with a woman he used to fuck. Because now he feared—because now he knew—you would lose your EJP shit over it because he’d seen you lose your EJP shit over far less. The only thing more exhausting than being with an EJP is dealing with an EJP who resents you for hiding something from them—something like working with an ex— that would set them off for days or months. I get it; I get it: he kept this from you. But if the last six months (!) are proof of anything, ITALIANE, they’re proof your boyfriend was right to keep this from you. Since changing jobs wasn’t an option and since he can’t jump in a time machine and go unfuck this woman, what other option did he have? Given a choice between telling you and spending the next six months dealing with your bullshit or keeping his mouth shut and hoping you never found out, he quite understandably chose the path of least bullshit. If you can’t see how your own behaviour may have contributed to his omission— and if you can’t forgive him and you can’t take, “No, I’m not fucking her now,” for an answer and you refuse to see this as your problem, not his—then do your boyfriend a favour and dump him. If you don’t, and if you keep this shit up—if you keep saying you can’t trust him one minute and then complaining about him accusing you of not trusting him the next (?)—be prepared to have your ass dumped. Because there’s only so long a person, guilty of wrongdoing or not, will put up with an EJP’s bullshit. And finally: your boyfriend was under no obligation to disclose the current location of every girl he’d ever fucked at the start of your relationship, ITALIANE—or at any other point, for that matter. While

How long were

Dan Savage thinks that jealousy is exhausting for a relationship. Photo by Henri Pham.

some people can be open with their partners about their pasts and their partners can be open with them, it’s not compulsory. And if someone wants to try and make it work with an EJP, it’s not a good idea. I don’t know why anyone would want to make it work with an EJP, ITALIANE, but there are people out there who do. Your boyfriend might be one of them. But don’t push your luck. b I’ve been with my partner for a year and a half and have been long distance from the start, and she’s working toward moving closer to me in a more permanent way. But I’m worried about the sex, as I feel a lack of desire for her. I believe it could be my newfound awareness of “patriarchal gaze”. I used to enjoy kink, but I no longer consider it sexy. I used to have a lot of sex with my ex-boyfriends and used to feel some conflict, but power games were a turn-on. Loving care has replaced dirty games, and I feel wrong for now if I try to watch porn, and I no longer enjoy touching myself because I cannot get off without thinking in sexist ways. I’m feeling pretty confused. Although I love my partner in a very special and deep way, it’s quite confusing. Please advise on how to feel sexy again without being destructive. - Still Horny Deep Down Somewhere

see next page


Polstar Construction LTD

is looking for Carpenters.Greater Vancouver, BC. Permanent, Full time. Wage - $ 27.30 per/h Skills requirements: Experience 3-4 years, Good English. Education: Secondary school Main duties: Read and interpret blueprints, determine specifications; Measure, cut, shape, assemble, and join lumber and wood materials; Use measuring, hand and power tools; Build foundations, install floor beams and different wood forms; Fit and install trim items as required; Supervise helpers and apprentices; Follow established safety rules. Company’s business address: 1101-1225 Kingsway Ave, Port Coquitlam BC V3C 1S2 Please apply by e-mail: polstarconstruction@gmail.com

Mind EMPLOYMENT Body & Soul Healing Arts

Spiritual Healing By donation amordeus@protonmail.com Support Groups A MDABC peer-led support group is a safe place to share your story, your struggles and accomplishments, and to listen to others as they share similar concerns. Please Note: Support groups are not intended to provide counselling/therapy. Please visit www.mdabc.net for a list & location of support groups or call 604-873-0103 for info. AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS Does someone else's drinking bother you? Al-Anon can help. We are a support group for those who have been affected by another's drinking problem. For more information please call: 604-688-1716 Anorexics & Bulimics Anonymous 12 Step based peer support program which addresses the mental, emotional, & spiritual aspects of disordered eating Tuesdays @ 7 pm @ Avalon Women's Centre 5957 West Blvd - 604-263-7177

Parkinson Society BC offers over 50 volunteer-led support groups throughout BC. These provide people with Parkinson's, their carepartners & families an opportunity to meet in a friendly, supportive setting with others who are experiencing similar difficulties. Some groups may offer exercise support. For information on locating a support group near you, please contact PSBC at 604 662 3240 or toll free 1 800 668 3330. Battered Women's Support Services provides free daytime & evening support groups (Drop-ins & 10 week groups) for women abused by their intimate partner. Groups provide emotional support, legal information & advocacy, safety planning, and referrals. For more information please call: 604-687-1867 ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION Looking to start a parent support group in Kitsilano. Please call Barbara 604-737-8337 Join a FREE YWCA Single Mothers support group in your local community. Share information, experiences and resources. Child care is provided for a nominal fee. For information call 604-895-5789 or Email: smacdonald@ywcavan.org

Professional EMPLOYMENT Services




Diamond Bodycare

Awakening Your Bliss Tantra Massage Somatic Sexologist Zara 604-222-4178

Personal EMPLOYMENT Services Men Seeking Women


Mature professional man, very clean and safe, seeking mature woman over 30 for daytime fun. You might need some Chri$tma$ fund assistance. Let’s chat. Send me an e-mail to:

secretariatguy@gmail.com This urban man looks for a marriage partner or companion. Voice mail & personal phone: 604-566-2280 (no text)


30 min / $30



(Incl. 45 min. Hot oil massage)

75 MIN

Reg 120





Thai Jessica

Burnaby. No text or Outcall

604-566-5544 NEW MANAGEMENT!

$180 / 7 HRS (Only $25/HR) $67 (Tip inc.) 2 for 1 Free FR EE


$10 Off

with this ad!

8642 Granville & 71 Ave., Van.


10am m - 10pm











3272 W. Broadway (& Blenheim)

$28 / 50mins





wouldn’t see a problem. But you aren’t opening up to something new in this relationship, SHDDS, you’re shutting down. Even if your partner hasn’t said or done anything to make you feel ashamed of your sexual desires or history, SHDDS, I’m not sure she’s right for you. And I don’t think it would be right of you to let someone you don’t desire move across the country to be with you. g



Dating Services

Milano Dating Services Date Local Russian & Ukrainian Ladies 604-805-1342

history that you’re incapable of enjoying sex anymore—if you can’t even masturbate anymore—and those awful feelings entered your life at roughly the same time your partner did, then maybe your partner is part of the problem. If you were evolving in a different direction with her sexually, if you were moving away from power games—which can be very loving—and toward something else, I

HAILEY 236-777-6661


particularly for women. But we shouldn’t let assholes (mostly men) who can make people (mostly women) feel unsafe or uncomfortable with a look ruin what isn’t just enjoyable when consensual but is also affirming and at times transcendently pleasurable. To be perfectly frank, SHDDS, I’m concerned about your relationship. If you feel so awful about your sexual desires and sexual

with objectifying someone who wants to be objectified by you and there’s nothing wrong with being objectified by someone you want to be objectified by. To gaze at someone who desires your gaze, to touch them and play dirty games with them, isn’t inherently sexist or dehumanizing so long as it’s consensual and mutually pleasurable, which I realize it all too often isn’t, There’s nothing wrong


Phone Services

604.436.3131 www.greatpharaoh.com

5-3490 Kingsway, Van. NEWLY RENOVATED! ESTABLISHED 1993 HIRING: 778.893.4439

DREAM & CITY Massage



FREE 2 TRY LIVE CHAT! 1-855-538-8866 1-900-783-5446




MOBILE #4565

emax ax MA MASS MASSAGE S AGE E Totally Renovated! Welcoming Old & New Clients!

604.568.5255 3-3003 KINGSWAY @ RUPERT Companion

ATTRACTIVE PETITE 42YR OLD for Ultimate Escape...... D/Town 11am - 9pm. 7 Days. By appointment.

Hailey 236-777-6661




OCTOBER 29 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; NOVEMBER 5 / 2020

Profile for The Georgia Straight

The Georgia Straight - Fright Night - October 29, 2020