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Volume 54 | Number 2757





COVID COMMERCE Public-health officials and retailers are going to great lengths to keep shoppers safe on Black Friday





Condo listings increase but prices expected to stay flat


November 26 – December 3 / 2020



It will be a Black Friday unlike any other in Vacouver’s history, with retailers scurrying to implement safety protocols recommended by public-health officials.

by Carlito Pablo

By Charlie Smith Cover illustration by Mark Pilon



The Vancouver Fire Department has ordered MacLeod’s Books owner Don Stewart to remove 75 percent of the merchandise from his store. By Martin Dunphy



Fundraising expert and author Harvey McKinnon says that any nonprofit group can help its bottom line with a monthly-giving program. By Charlie Smith

17 B.C. Real Estate Association chief economist Brendon Ogmundson won’t forecast wild swings in the cost of condos because new supply will match demand. Photo by Lucy-Claire/Unsplash.


rices of condos have flattened since the start of the pandemic. Also, the supply of apartment units on the market is rising. Is it time for condo owners to panic? Not if one appreciates B.C. Real Estate Association chief economist Brendon Ogmundson’s historical analysis of the condo market and the main conclusion he draws. “It means fairly flat pricing in probably the next two years,” Ogmundson told the Straight in a phone interview. For starters, he noted a “divergence” in housing sales in Greater Vancouver, depending on the type of home. To clarify, “Greater Vancouver” is the region serviced by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). The area includes Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, and Whistler. In October and through the first half of November, Ogmundson said, sales of single detached homes are up between 30 percent and 40 percent on a year-over-year basis. The same goes for townhouses. For condos, the growth is about 10 percent. “Apartments are certainly lagging behind other product types,” the economist said. Regarding the rising supply of condos waiting for buyers, Ogmundson said that in the REBGV region, there are about 6,000 active listings. “The last that we were in a recession, we had 8,000,” he said, referring to the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Considering the present economic environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and compared to the last recession, current listings for condos “just aren’t that high”, Ogmundson said. Moreover, listings are comparable to where the market was between 2010 and 2


around 2015, before demand started to rise. According to Ogmundson, listing levels of apartments hit a “historical low” from 2015 to 2018. “While listings are definitely up,” the economist said about the current situation, “they’re not up to a concerning level.” Ogmundson said that prices for condos in the REBGV region peaked in 2018 and started to trend down in 2019. “On a longer scale, we have these peaks and valleys for apartment prices,” he said, “and right now, we kind of had a recovery going on right until the pandemic started, and prices are just flat.” For next year, Ogmundson expects supply of new condos to come to the market and help meet fresh demand. “Demand should recover pretty strongly through 2021 and after that,” he said. This means condo prices will be “essentially flat through 2021”, Ogmundson explained. On November 4 this year, Ogmundson and the BCREA released their fourthquarter forecast suggesting that recordlow mortgage rates and a recovering economy will continue to drive sales. The projection noted that “active listings remain low due to hesitation on the part of sellers to list during the pandemic”. “Some additional supply may come online following the end of mortgage deferral programs, but given the tightness of market conditions, that supply is unlikely to be disruptive,” the forecast stated. The average price of a home in B.C. is forecast to finish 2020 with a 9.9 percent increase, followed by another rise of 2.6 percent in 2021. In 2019, the average price of a Greater Vancouver condo came to $660,594. For 2020, it is expected to finish the year at $685,000. A modest rise is anticipated for 2021, with the average price increasing to $690,000. g



Co.ERASGA founder and choreographer Alvin Erasga Tolentino hopes to transform dance for the virtual world with the world premiere of Offering. By Carlito Pablo

e Start Here

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Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 54 | Number 2757 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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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

e Online TOP 5

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

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COVID-19 in B.C.: 1,933 cases and 17 deaths over three days. High-performance training centre in Metro Vancouver will close permanently. For artists, latest provincial health order has earmarks of a double standard. Three improperly dressed hikers rescued from North Vancouver mountain. Want a designer upgrade to your existing home? Now is your chance. @GeorgiaStraight


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COVID-19 upends usual door-crashing Black Friday Retailers will be keeping items on special for a longer period of time to keep staff and customers safe


by Charlie Smith

lack Friday started early on Vancouver’s West 4th Avenue this year. Rather than falling on the first day after the American Thanksgiving holiday, on November 27, shoppers were lined up on the sidewalk for several evenings earlier. That’s because Comor–Go Play Outside began its blowout sale of skiing and snowboarding gear on November 20, with the deals continuing until Monday (November 30). It’s a similar story all over the Lower Mainland. One example is CF Pacific Centre. General manager Lillian Tummonds told the Straight by phone that hours have been extended over the holiday season to give customers a chance to visit in nonpeak times. “A lot of our retailers have great deals ongoing right now,” Tummonds said. “It’s so everybody is not all jamming in on Black Friday. Obviously, this is not a typical year, so we’re trying to expand the experience over a longer period of time.” Part of the reason is that consumers will feel safer having more space to move through the mall. But according to retail



It’s not just being safe. It’s being seen to be safe – DIG360 partner David Ian Gray

consultant David Ian Gray, a partner at DIG360, it’s also about human resources. Employees feel frazzled when they’re bombarded with customers, especially during a pandemic. And big retailers believe that long periods with little business afterward isn’t the best use of staff time. “They’re hoping it’s more of a steady state,” Gray said. “Together with the Retail Council of Canada, they’ve actually been promoting that idea of starting your shopping early but keeping it on an even keel


The general manager of CF Pacific Centre, Lillian Tummonds, says that stores extended holiday bargains so that hordes of customers won’t show up at the mall on the same day looking for deals.

through the season.” However, Gray acknowledged that there’s no guarantee that consumers will go along with this notion. Then there’s the issue of pandemic safety. At Pacific Centre, as in many other shopping locations, there are plenty of signs, arrows, and hand-sanitizing stations on the premises. Tummonds said extra staff are on the floor to ensure customers abide by a provincial health order to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Those who don’t have face coverings can pick them up for free at the mall’s guest-services area. “We obviously have all the COVID protocols in place,” Tummonds said. It’s a similar story at Best Buy and London Drugs, two retailers that normally do a booming business in electronics on Black Friday. For the first time ever, Best Buy launched its holiday promotions in October, both online and in-store, to spread the demand out over a long period and prevent Black Friday crowds. The company’s Canadian arm says that if the price of an item on special is lowered before Black Friday, Best Buy will refund the difference. And, of course, the company insisted that safety is its highest priority. B.C.-based London Drugs issued a news release on November 23 urging its customers to shop for deals early. And it will match competitors’ advertised prices for up to 30 days. It also declared that safety was its highest priority. And that’s being accomplished through a variety of measures, including decreasing store capacity, installing Plexiglas barriers, increasing physical distan-

cing, and implementing hourly sanitization. “Taking care of our customers and keeping our communities safe remains our top priority,” London Drugs president and chief operating officer Clint Mahlman said in the release. “Ahead of the holiday shopping season, pandemic-related safety protocols at London Drugs are paramount. If you visit your local London Drugs, please help us by maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask and washing your hands thoroughly before, during and after you visit. And please stay home if you have any signs of illness or have been exposed to someone who has.” Retail consultant Gray said it’s critical that retailers maintain safety protocols because to do otherwise could get them shut down by health authorities. “It’s not just being safe. It’s being seen to be safe,” Gray said. “It’s got to be both. You can’t just fake it, because the damage to your business could be astronomical.” For obvious reasons—namely, a pandemic—everyone expects that sales will shift further online this year. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a disaster for business, according to Gray. He said there was an uptick in sales in certain categories in the summer during the pandemic, notably home décor, games, and bicycles. And there’s a possibility that home-oriented goods and winter sports gear could move off the shelves at this time of year, in part because people are spending less money on vacations and dining out. “If the retailer’s expectation is low and dire, I think what they’ll find is it will be better than expected—but not as good as last year,” Gray said. g



I Saw Three Ships: West End Stories Bill Richardson Fiction • Talonbooks

When We Are Kind

Monique Gray Smith Children’s picture book (fiction) Orca Book Publishers

The Diary of Dukesang Wong Dukesang Wong, edited with commentary by David McIlwraith History • Talonbooks

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park Nina Shoroplova Nonfiction • Heritage House Publishing

Rain City: Vancouver Reflections John Moore Nonfiction • Anvil Press Publishers

it was never going to be okay jaye simpson

Poetry • Nightwood Editions

Flying to Extremes

Our Hearts Are as One Fire: An OjibwayAnishinabe Vision for the Future

Dominique Prinet Autobiography Hancock House Publishers

Jerry Fontaine Indigenous Studies • UBC Press

Spirits of the Coast

Edited by Martha Black, Lorne Hammond and Gavin Hanke with Nikki Sanchez Anthology • Royal BC Museum

Something Drastic

Luke Inglis Fiction • Now Or Never Publishing

The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia acknowledges the support of





MacLeod’s glorious clutter was sparked by arson


by Martin Dunphy

he owner of one of Vancouver’s best-known and oldest bookstores might be writing its final chapter as an almost decade-long dispute with the Vancouver Fire Department nears resolution. Don Stewart, proprietor of MacLeod’s Books in the heart of downtown, told the Straight that he has been notified by the VFD that he “must remove 75 percent of the books we have here”. “Here” is a century-old leased building at 455 West Pender Street that is as famous around the world for its rare and antiquarian books and collections as it is for the manner in which they are presented to the browsing public: in huge, teetering stacks piled on tables and on carpeted floors, along winding aisles, and in almost floorto-ceiling bookshelves on the ground floor and in the basement. If Theodor Geisel had illustrated a bookstore for one of his Dr. Seuss books, it would probably have looked like MacLeod’s. Although the sheer number of volumes (at least 100,000 titles) is a contentious issue that has seen Stewart and the fire department butting heads since about 2011, when the VFD increased inspections of commercial and industrial buildings, he said he has always been given time to clear aisles and reduce the notorious clutter of books in seemingly (but seldom actually) haphazard stacks. “This place is awesome if you’re a digger!” one Yelp reviewer wrote about MacLeod’s approximately 3,000 square feet of bound history arranged by author and subject. “Tons of piles and piles on piles.” Indeed, the variety of tomes at MacLeod’s—ranging from philosophy to Canadian history to travel to classics, art, photography, children’s books, Indigenous studies, and much more—often has rapt grazers surprised by the 5 p.m. closing call. “You could say we have a lot of everything,” Stewart muses in a phone interview, “perhaps too much of everything.” “They claimed a safety issue,” Stewart said about what the VFD refers to as his “fire load” and what most everyone else calls “books”. He described the rules being enforced as “well-meaning protective regulations that make it difficult for older businesses in Vancouver”. Ironically, it was a fire that led Stewart to his present location, where he has been selling books since September 1982. After purchasing the business in 1973 from Van Andruss—who had bought it from founder Don MacLeod a few years after its 1964 opening at the southeast corner of Pender and Homer streets—Stewart moved to a larger leased location near the intersection of Hastings and Cambie streets in 1981. The next year, he lost everything in an 6


Owner Don Stewart has been in MacLeod’s Books’ cluttered Pender Street location for almost 40 years. Photo by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

arson fire that targeted a next-door business. “I lost an awful lot of my interesting stuff, many years’ worth, and I had to start from scratch.” Stewart, 69, sounded resigned when he said he would comply with the VFD order, “certainly by next spring”. He said that reducing his volume of volumes involves, essentially, “a boiling-down process, system-

atically reducing portions of our stock”. “We’re putting stuff into storage and selling as much as we can.” Unfortunately, he noted, COVID-19 restrictions hamper his ability to quickly move inventory. ”You can’t advertise a big sale because you can’t have the people.” In terms of the winding down affecting the shop’s financial viability, Stewart

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d BURNING SUGAR, by Cicely Belle Blain (Arsenal Pulp Press) This collection of poems explores the experiences of a Black/mixed queer femme immigrant from London living on unceded Indigenous land. d CARPE FIN: A HAIDA MANGA, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Douglas and McIntyre) This brilliantly illustrated book centres around a man abandoned by fellow hunters on an isolated rock. d TAKAYA: LONE WOLF, by Cheryl Alexander (RMB) Alexander, a Victoria conservation photographer,


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said, his business had been weathering the global pandemic and virtual shutdown of international tourism satisfactorily (overseas collectors and browsing visitors make up about half his business). “We’re still running at 60 to 65 percent of normal, which is pretty good,” he said. “Even during COVID, there are still people turning up from here and there. We get lots of Europeans, and many from China, in particular”. He said that booksellers on the Internet (“the great leveller”) and the advent of ebooks didn’t have a significant affect on his business—“In terms of sales, it has held steady over the years”—but international sales are down. “Now what we are more or less dependent on is being a good book shop.” Nonetheless, Stewart said, the question of whether or not MacLeod’s survives in some form well into the 2020s might hinge on external factors far more relentless than a global pandemic, technological innovation, or even the redoubtable Vancouver Fire Department. “Around us, things are being knocked down or slated to be knocked down and rebuilt,” he said, with perhaps a touch of weariness. “I think that this area is going to be under enormous development pressure over the next 10 years.” g





Real change can be achieved by monthly donations


by Charlie Smith

ancouver fundraising expert Harvey McKinnon comes across as anything but reticent. He’s spoken in front of large gatherings at conferences. He’s written five books and sat on high-profile boards of directors. He also pops up in the media from time to time as a commentator. Most significantly, McKinnon’s company has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations around North America. Yet in a recent phone interview with the Straight, he described himself as “unbelievably shy” when he was a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. But that changed after a friend invited him to attend a small gathering to discuss institutionalized racism back in 1975. Two of the seven people were from Namibia—then known as South West Africa—which was then under apartheid. “I was so moved by the stories they were telling me that I decided to start an antiapartheid group on campus,” McKinnon recalled. “That got me out of being shy. I started bringing in films.” He started raising money for Oxfam, a global antipoverty and human-rights organization. He’s a talented writer. And to

Amnesty International has been encouraging donors to give money each month for years, yielding sufficient income for it to continue advancing human rights. Photo by Amnesty International.

his great pleasure, his fundraising pitches worked wonders on donors. “It’s an unbelievable rush to go get mail and there is tens of thousands of dollars for a cause you believe in,” McKinnon said. When he was just 23 years old, he was invited to join Oxfam Canada’s board of directors, due in part to his fundraising prowess. His first book, Hidden Gold, was published

in 1999. It promoted monthly giving to build donor loyalty and increase nonprofit organizations’ income and financial stability. This year, McKinnon expanded on that theme in a new book, How to Create Lifelong Donors Through Monthly Giving. It showed that virtually any organization can attract monthly donors, which offers a long-term, low-cost revenue stream.

“Monthly giving is in many ways the best way for charities to raise money because it allows people to make modest gifts once a month, just like you’re paying a bill,” McKinnon said. “But it adds up over the year.” He has been donating monthly to Oxfam for 40 years. And he’s been giving money to Greenpeace on a monthly basis for 30 years. “So the amount of money I can give over time really adds up,” he said. “And I don’t notice it missing.” Another pioneer was Amnesty International, which is one of his clients. “They made a phenomenal amount of money from monthly giving—definitely the backbone of their organization,” McKinnon said. The international human-rights group surveyed its monthly donors to find out why they chose to do this. Nine percent cited Amnesty’s efforts to help end torture. But 51 percent responded that they gave monthly because it’s convenient to them. “I think the key thing is it doesn’t matter if you’re a small organization or a large organization,” McKinnon emphasized. “It helps bring stability and more income to your cause. And, most importantly, donors like it. “It’s easy for them. It’s automatic. They don’t have to think about it.” g

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Community Response Fund offered quick rescue


by Charlie Smith

he arrival of COVID-19 early this year sent an economic shock wave across the province. The closure of retail stores, restaurants, and many other businesses resulted in 132,000 lost jobs in B.C. in March. Another 264,100 jobs vanished in April, lifting the provincial unemployment rate to 11.5 percent. “Every sector of the B.C. economy has been hit and many B.C. families are reeling,” Finance Minister Carole James said at the time. The magnitude of the crisis prompted an unprecedented response from Canada’s largest community foundation. Only a week after the World Health Organization declared on March 11 that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic, the Vancouver Foundation sprang into action, launching the Community Response Fund. With support from Vancity, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver, the CRF distributed more than $19.2 million to various charities in three months. Vancouver Foundation president and CEO Kevin McCort told the Straight by phone that his organization had never given away so much money on an emergency initiative in such a short period of time.

Several organizations came together in a hurry to help those who lost livelihoods in this year’s pandemic. Photo by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

“We were well prepared in terms of financial resources and well prepared in terms of knowledge to be able to deploy the money—and then really fortunate there are

Canuck Place gives:

so many great charities on the front lines doing really important work,” McCort said. “So we had no shortage of good options in terms of who to give the money to.”

The CRF was fully operational three weeks before the federal government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

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“A lot of that funding went into the charitable sector before many of the other federal supports got into place,� McCort pointed out. The CERB provides $2,000 per month to people who have lost income due to the pandemic. It was followed by rent-support, wage-support, and other programs. The Vancouver Foundation was assisted by advisers in the community who read proposals and provided recommendations. They included WISH Drop-In Centre executive director Mebrat Beyene, Eastside Culture Crawl Society artistic and executive director Esther Rausenberg, SFU director of community engagement Am Johal, and Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance executive director Kenji Maeda, as well as representatives from the City of Vancouver, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Coastal Health, and their organizations. “We often work in partnership and collaboration—it’s our preferred way of working,� McCort said. “The partners change depending on what the event is.� Traditionally, the Vancouver Foundation provided stable and predictable long-term funding to registered charities. McCort acknowledged that when he was appointed president and CEO in 2013, the organization didn’t view itself as an “emergency-response actor�. However, that started to change when major wildfires broke out in the B.C. Interior in subsequent years. That’s when the

The charities that we’re funding know firsthand what’s happening for people with disabilities or with the elderly or with children. – Vancouver Foundation president and CEO Kevin McCort

Vancouver Foundation’s Kevin McCort relies on community expertise. Photo by Joshua Berson.

Vancouver Foundation’s board of directors and senior executives realized that they could play a role when disaster strikes. “That picked up even more when the opioid crisis was declared a public-health emergency,� McCort noted. “More people started saying there is a role for us. “We’re not just a funder of long-term and stable programs,� he continued. “We can actually get involved in emergency response.�

So by the time the pandemic struck B.C., the mindset of the foundation had changed dramatically from seven years earlier. “We know who all these charities are that are involved in the response,� McCort said. “A lot of people don’t have that knowledge.� He pointed out that registered charities, including foundations, are playing key roles in promoting good public policies in a number of areas. As examples, he cited the United Way’s efforts on behalf of seniors as well as environmental charities’ insights into ecological issues. In addition, McCort added that international-development charities have done important work regarding gender equality in developing countries. “The charities that we’re funding know firsthand what’s happening for people with disabilities or with the elderly or with children,� he said. “They’re serving this population and they know, but their knowledge

isn’t always tapped into by policymakers and used effectively to bring the voice of the front lines into policy.� McCort hopes that the B.C. government exerts more effort to bring this knowledge from the community into its policymaking processes. Plus, he wants the Vancouver Foundation to be in a position to help arts and cultural groups bounce back quickly from the recent downturn. When asked about the best way to offer financial help to the less fortunate, McCort had a simple response. “Our first advice to people is if you know and love the charity in your community, give directly to them,� he added. “If you maybe don’t know and you want to rely on our knowledge and our systems, we’re happy to accept those gifts. And our gifts will be directed by community knowledge that our volunteer advisers bring to us.� g

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Beer cocktails aren’t as bizarre as you might think


by Mike Usinger

emember when you didn’t need a football-field–size backyard, Latitude Run Geneva fire pit, and MIRA CBRN Hazmat suit to get together with friends? That’s okay—at this point in the pandemic, neither do we. As a refresher, back in olden times 11 months ago, you generally asked folks if they wanted to go out for beers or drinks. If the question was posed for beers, that meant a night at Andina, Red Truck, or Brassneck knocking back flights of Mexican lager, Guava saison, and Zero Visibility hazy pale ale. And if it was cocktails, you settled in at Shameful Tiki, the Keefer, or Key Party for Painkillers, Tokyo Drifts, and Coconut Cream Paralyzers. Here’s something that was for certain: no one ever suggested going for beers, and then sat around bitching that moose-fatwashed mezcal margaritas weren’t on the drink menu. For whatever reason, beers and cocktails have always seemed like separate things, never to be mixed. Except that’s not totally accurate, with the key word there being seemed. One of the first cocktails ever created was the beer-based Purl. Those who paid attention in Literature 12 instead of mouthbreathing while daydreaming might remember Billy Shakespeare name-checking the drink in 1602’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Early mixologists fashioned the drink by infusing ale with sea wormwood. But beer cocktails pre-dated LongWinded William. Scribbled Post-It notes from the tomb of King Midas suggested that back in 750 B.C. the Egyptians were taking the harsh edges off their beers with honey, saffron, and grapes. Flash forward a few hundred years and early North American settlers initially had as much luck making a drinkable beer as your roomate did producing an edible pandemic sourdough. Which was too bad, because the neighbourhood tavern was not only a place to escape one’s husband, wife,

Innis & Gunn’s Golden City drink is one of many cocktails that use beer as a base ingredient.

kids, and pet cockatoo, but often the only thing in town resembling a restaurant, post office, general store, or speaker’s corner. Enter the Rattle Skull. The old-time road to oblivion started with a brandy or rum free pour, augmented by lime juice, ginger-honey syrup, and a dash of salt in a tall glass. After a stir, things were filled to the brim with a heavy porter. Three drinks later, another two more drinks before heading home seemed like a world-beating idea—at least until the next morning. Drinking preferences changed with the rise of cocktail culture in the mid-1800s. A Bostonian named Frederic “Ice King” Tudor perfected the art of shipping ice from the frozen farm ponds of Massachusetts to businesses and homes across North America. And that led to an explosion in the way people drink. There’s a reason Mojitos and Manhattans didn’t exist in the pre–Ice King world. Whip one up sans frozen cubes, take two swigs, and then try not to gag. That will drive home why cocktails are served ice

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cold instead of room temperature. Add the novelty factor of shiny and new things, and by the 1920s imbibers were knocking back Sidecars, French 75s, and Angel’s Tits instead of Rattle Skulls. And so, beer-based drinks became novelties—with offerings like the Irish Car Bomb about as classy as green beer and Donald Trump Jr. But then something exciting happened at the beginning of this century. As bars like Milk & Honey became one of the big reasons for visiting New York, bartenders began pushing themselves. Suddenly there was nothing weird about using preserved lemons, muddled galangal, fresh cedar bark, or triple-distilled butterfly pea tea in a drink. And as part of

P ocket FLASK d AS A VALUABLE public service, we crack open spirits from B.C. to Bahrain and beyond, and then give you a highly opinionated, pocket-flask-sized review.

TODAY’S FREE POUR: Ardbeg 5 Years Old Wee Beastie

THEIR WORDS: “Intense aromas of

cracked blacked pepper mingle with sappy pine resin and a sharp tang of smoke. Suddenly, an explosive mouthfeel bursts forth with chocolate, creosote and tar.”

TASTING NOTES: For the sweet love of Robbie Burns, do you ever read something and ask yourself “Dè fo shealbh?”. Honestly, thanks to the endlessly creative folks at Ardbeg for providing a leaping off point, but, um, “creosote and tar”. You know what smells like creosote and tar? Country railroad tracks on a hot summer day and commercial fishing wharfs. Be

that, mixologists rediscovered the magic of beer, which can give a cocktail hops notes and roasted malt flavours that are as unique as they are bold and varied. Yes, varied. As any card-carrying Yeast Vancouverite knows, beers don’t begin and end with ickily sweet big-brewery lagers. From saisons to stouts to IPA to pale ales to lambics, there are dozens of different styles to work with. Next time you’re in Mexico try a Michelada (lager, lime, Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce) instead of a Magarita. Need a pick-me up at 11 a.m. as you debate whether to change out of your PJs and into your sweatpants? Whip up an Espresso Stout or three (cold coffee, coffee liqueur, and stout in a pilsner glass) to pep up the morning. From the Fidelito to the Beermosa, if a drink calls for something bubbly, you can often swap in beer for champagne or soda. Assuming, that is, you know the difference between a German pilsner and an Icelandic whale-testicle porter. Here’s a beer-based drink you can make, with the recipe courtesy of the fine folks at Innis & Gunn in Scotland. GOLDEN CITY

3/4 oz lemon juice 3/4 oz grapefruit juice 1 oz whiskey 4 oz Innis & Gunn Lager Stir in mixing glass & pour into tall glass. Garnish with grapefruit slice and pink salt. g

honest—have you ever found yourself humming “I Walk the Line” while walking the tracks outside of Cache Creek in the Fraser Canyon, and then thought, “If only someone could make a drink that tastes just like this creosote-dipped lumber?” Because of its young age, Ardbeg is billing this as its “rawest and smokiest” whisky ever. As with its more refined cousin Ardbeg 10, Wee Beastie is indeed all-in on the smokiness, bringing to mind rural Scotland when it’s fall and the only way to heat the castle is with another peat log or six on the fire. After a couple of seconds in the glass Wee Beastie goes down smooth and syrupy with little afterburn. Tastingwise, a friend of mind likes to suggest that all Ardbegs are beautifully redolent of brushed suede. And that’ll certainly do here—mostly because, really, who wants a glass of creosote when it’s time to fire up the cigars? g


Uniquely Filipino cuisine on Magkasama menu by Carlito Pablo

rice, the inihaw na liempo is your ulam. Juju Foods will provide frozen choices like Bicol Express, a spicy ulam from the southern areas of Luzon, a main island in the Philippines. Bicol Express is a creamy dish made of pork, coconut milk, and chili peppers. Often, ulam becomes pulutan, or bar chow, during inuman (drinking). Pulutan comes from the word pulot, which means “to pick up”. One of the most popular pulutan items among Filipinos is sisig: chopped meat, liver, onions, citrus, and chili peppers, usually topped with egg and served on a hot plate.


New York Times writer Ligaya Mishan has described sisig, a popular Filipino meal, as “the greatest pork hash—arguably greatest pork dish—on Earth”. Photo by BonChan/Getty Images.


virtual Vancouver market featuring unique Filipino foods and gift items will be online until Sunday (November 29). Organizer Corvette Romero told the Straight that 25 vendors will participate in the market called Magkasama, which means “together” in Tagalog, the basis of the national Filipino language. The food choices include distinctively Filipino favourites like bibingka, cake made with rice flour and coconut milk. Online bakery Bellie Bake will offer bibingka packs with four different f lavours. These are itlog na maalat (salted egg); cheese; ube macapuno (purple yam and soft coconut); and coco pandan (pandan-f lavoured coconut jam; pandan is a fragrant tropical plant often used as a dessert f lavouring). Bibingka is typically sold during the Christmas season in the Philippines. The rice cake goes well with coffee, and one of Magkasama’s vendors is Kapé, a social enterprise founded by Paolo and Iona Santos featuring ethically sourced coffee from Philippine Indigenous growers. One coffee brand that will be available for shoppers is called Ate Roselyn’s, which comes from Davao del Sur, a province in southern Philippines. Ate means “elder sister”. Romero and her partner, Matt Brennan, created the concept of Magkasama. They also own and operate Shameless Buns, a

food truck that celebrates Filipino food. According to the Shameless Buns website, Filipino food is the “unsung hero in the Asian food lexicon”. For this year’s Magkasama event, Romero said, Shameless Buns will offer items like mango bars. Another vendor is Grit and Grub Catering, which especializes in pan de sal, or Filipino bread roll.

Ulam is a Filipino word for any dish that goes with rice.

New York Times writer Ligaya Mishan wrote that sisig, pronounced “see-sig”, is the “greatest pork hash—arguably greatest pork dish—on Earth”. “Say the name with two flicks of the tongue, somewhere between a whisper and a hiss,” Mishan, a poet, suggested. Juju Foods will have crispy-fried chicken skin, another great pulutan, which can be eaten as ulam as well. Items can also be picked up from Magkasama between December 4 and 6 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday) at 302 Industrial Avenue. For more information, visit https://magkasama604.com/. g

Visit freshstmarket.com to order now! SOUPS LY WITH LOCAL LES MADE NOOD + MORE

– Carlito Pablo

Pan de sal, literally translated as “bread of salt” (although it’s actually sweet, not salty), is a popular Filipino breakfast fare. Grit and Grub choices include a pack with two pieces each of ham-and-cheese pan de sal and pan de sal with turkey, gravy, and cranberries. Shoppers looking for ulam will also have their fill. Ulam is a Filipino word for any dish that goes with rice. For example, if you’re eating inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly) with

1423 Continental St. • Open Everyday 11am-6pm NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 3 / 2020




UBCP/ACTRA’s big awards go to Cassini and Moore

by Charlie Smith

Catherine Lough Haggquist (left, photo by Kristine Cofsky) and Alvin Sanders (upper centre, photo by CW Network) received lifetime achievement awards from UBCP/ACTRA in a virtual ceremony that saw Carmen Moore (right) win the prize for best leading role, female, in Rustic Oracle, and John Cassini (photo by Charles Zuckerman) capture the award for best leading role, male, in Daughter.


he resilience of the Vancouver acting community was on display when its union included a virtual red carpet and amusing skits as part of its annual awards show. It’s normally a glitzy affair at Vancouver Playhouse, but that was kiboshed by the pandemic. Instead, the ninth annual UBCP/ACTRA Awards were presented online for free on November 21, preceded by interviews with many of the nominees. Carmen Moore won Best Lead Performance, Female for playing Susan, the mother of a missing Mohawk girl in the late 1990s in Rustic Oracle. During the virtual red carpet, Moore quipped to host Sabrina Furminger that she showered for the event and put on a nice top. But she delivered a very serious message in her videotaped acceptance speech, emphasizing that Rustic Oracle is “first and foremost for the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls”. “I would like to thank UBCP/ACTRA for spotlighting our very important film,” Moore said. “If you’re not aware of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls epidemic that is ongoing in Canada and the United States, please do some research on that,” she added. “And if you’re up for it, read the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.” The mammoth final report, which was issued last year, concluded that Canada perpetrated “deliberate race, identity, and gender-based genocide”. Veteran actor John Cassini, the incoming vice president of UBCP/ACTRA, won Best Lead Performance, Male for his role 14


It means a lot to have your peers…give you a thumbs up. – John Cassini

in another serious film, Daughter. Cassini played Jim, a man struggling in the aftermath of his daughter’s death. He also produced the film, which was written and directed by Anthony Shim. “Shoutout to all the other nominees in my category, wonderful actors all of them, and I guess someone’s gotta win every year—and this year’s my year and I’m thrilled,” Cassini said in his virtual acceptance speech, which he jokingly referred to as a “hostage video”. “It means a lot to have your peers watch your work and give you a thumbs up,” he continued. “It was a real passion project, right from the beginning. So thank you; I miss that we can’t be all together at the Vancouver Playhouse tonight. I wish we could be dancing and having a couple of cocktails.” Cassini, a costar on the FOX show neXt, also produced Daughter. It featured his wife, Jenn MacLean-Angus, who won the UBCP/ACTRA award for Best Supporting Performance, Female.


“There was so much heart, both in front of and behind the camera, from everyone,” MacLean-Angus said in her videotaped acceptance speech. “It was the kind of experience and the kind of role that was just so satisfying—and really fulfilled for me why I love acting.” The Best Supporting Performance, Male went to Brendan Fletcher for his role in Night Hunter. Fletcher played Simon, a man with a mental disability who was arrested for several kidnappings. The film starred Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley. “Night Hunter was my first job back from being grievously injured on a set in Ontario,” Fletcher said in his recorded acceptance speech. “So a lot of pain and angst and ultimately love went into this role and it truly changed my life. So I want to thank the wonderful writer and director David Raymond for probably the best collaboration of my career.” Giles Panton won the UBCP/ACTRA award for Best Voice Performance for voicing Norman Osborn in Marvel’s Absolute Carnage. “This is one of the most fulfilling character—character duos—I’ve gotten to play,” Panton declared in his videotaped acceptance speech. “I was physically exhausted at the end of this. “I spent four hours fighting myself,” he added. “Literally, I was a puddle on the ground by the end and [it] was one of the coolest experiences.” The Best Stunt Performance award was shared by Corry Glass and Adrian Hein for a car crash in “The Sister” episode of the TV comedy series The Detour.

Glass was behind the wheel when the vehicle struck Hein. “I got hit by a car,” Hein said with a smile in his acceptance speech. “It was awesome.” On a more serious note, Hein added: “Thank you to UBCP/ACTRA Awards for honouring our stunt performers that put their lives on the line. Thank you Stunts Canada.” UBCP/ACTRA also honoured two pillars of the performing community for their long-time service. Catherine Lough Haggquist received the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award. The presenter, friend and actor Bronwen Smith, described Haggquist as a “true leader” who has amassed more than 140 credits. In addition, Haggquist operated a filmoriented bookstore that employed many actors and now offers web-based acting education through dramaclass.com. “She’s thoughtful. She’s filled with empathy. More importantly, she acts with compassion,” Smith said. In accepting this award, Haggquist quoted writer Maya Angelou: “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” The John Juliani Award of Excellence went to veteran actor and longtime UBCP/ ACTRA president Alvin Sanders. In presenting this award, veteran actor Jackson Davies pointed out that Sanders was a founding member of Seattle’s Black Arts/West Theater. By 1973, it had become one of the largest Black see next page


Arts companies step up to provide holiday music


by Steve Newton


ith the latest COVID-19 restrictions putting the kibosh on live concerts for the immediate future, it’s good to know that local arts companies like Vancouver Opera, Chor Leoni, Music on Main, Vetta Chamber Music, musica intima, and Early Music Vancouver are offering online alternatives.

(December 19 at 7:30 p.m. and December 20 at 2 p.m., operaboxcompany.com) OperaBox Company and Burnaby Lyric Opera present a virtual performance of favourite selections from George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. CEREMONY OF CAROLS

(December 19, 7:30 p.m., musicaintima.org) Musica intima livestreams a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.


(To December 21, 7 p.m., chancentre.com) Navajo Nation composer from Fort Defiance, Arizona, dips into colours and timbres from across the spectrum of sound. CRISTINA PATO

Vancouver Opera’s virtual production of Amahl and the Night Vistors (left) will be available next month, as will composer Raven Chacon’s online performance (photo from the Chan Centre).

(To December 21, 7 p.m., chancentre.com) Master of the Galician bagpipe moves between jazz, classical, and folk styles.

voice, with fortepianist Alexander Weimann. After this free premiere, it will remain online for a year.

free online holiday concert featuring five new virtual-choir videos and live performances by the UGC ensemble and band.




(November 19, 5 p.m., musiconmain.ca) Music on Main presents the world-premiere broadcast of composer Jeffrey Ryan’s new song cycle, featuring baritone Tyler Duncan and pianist Erika Switzer. DREAM PIANO TRIOS

(November 26 to 29, 2 p.m., chancentre.com) Vetta Chamber Music presents pianist Arthur Rowe, violinist Joan Blackman, and cellist Brian Yoon performing a tribute to Eugene Osadchy, featuring works by Haydn, Brahms, and Schubert recorded live at the Chan Centre. HAYDN’S ARIADNE AUF NAXO

(December 9, 7:30 p.m., earlymusic.bc.ca) Early Music Vancouver presents Canadian mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel performing one of Haydn’s most spectacular works for

(December 11, 7 p.m., huroncarole.ca) Canadian actor-singer Jackson’s annual evening of contemporary and signature Christmas music, along with stories, is one of several across Canada raising funds for local food banks and family-services agencies. AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS

(December 12, 7:30 p.m., digital.vancouveropera.ca) Vancouver Opera presents a digital version of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, which depicts the Three Kings stopping for shelter at the home of a poor shepherd boy and his widowed mother on the way to Bethlehem. THERE’S STILL MY JOY

(December 12, 7:30 p.m., universalgospelchoir.ca) The Universal Gospel Choir performs a

theatre groups in the United States. Sanders moved to B.C. in 1984 to perform in Barkerville and, later, he sang in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Arts Club Theatre. He joined UBCP/ACTRA’s board in 2002, became treasurer in 2009, and served as president from 2010 to 2017. In his acceptance speech, Sanders emphasized the importance of respect. He noted that actors must respect each other before they’ll get it from agents, producers, and others in the film sector. “Without us, we performers, this multibillion industry we helped bring to B.C. wouldn’t be here,” Sanders said. This industry continues to thrive, even in the face of a pandemic. UBCP/ACTRA’s director of member services, communications, and community relations, Sue Brouse, credits the provincial government for recognizing the importance of the Film and TV sector to restart B.C.’s economy in the pandemic and to the entire industry working together along with the union to develop safety guidelines early on. That includes wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) wherever possible.

(December 17, 8 p.m., capilanou.ca) Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are featured in a Celtic holiday concert that includes candid moments around the kitchen, decorating the tree, and other bits of Christmas chaos. THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS: UNPLUGGED

(December 17, 7:30 p.m., Kay Meek Arts Centre) Unplugged Christmas concert features West Van’s Creber family: Monique, Michael, and their daughter Michelle. CHRISTMAS WITH CHOR LEONI

(December 18 to January 1, chorleoni.org) Enjoy the beautiful voices of the Chor Leoni Men’s Choir under artistic director Erick Lichte with a free concert.

“There are now zones on film sets,” Brouse told the Straight by phone. “Obviously, when performers are in their scenes, they can’t wear PPE, so there are a lot of protocols in place to ensure their health and safety onset—and to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t pass from one person to another on-set.” In the same call, UBCP/ACTRA president-elect Ellie Harvie told the Straight that the pandemic has changed everything for people in the film-and-television industry. “You used to go into casting directors’ offices to do your auditions,” she said. “They have studios, but now everything is considered self-tape. Where I am sitting right now, I have a blue screen, lights, and a circle ring-light that I put my phone in to record my audition. And everyone does that.” Brouse added that the union has given a great deal of support to members—even reimbursing some of them for equipment and creating how-to videos—to help them understand how to self-tape. UBCP/ACTRA advocates for better policies and regulations to encourage production in recorded media, as well as improved pay and better working conditions. That leads to more opportunities for performers.


(December 22, 7:30 p.m., musicaintima.org) Musica intima explores the sweet and salty sides of Christmas music, from the Pogues to the Pretenders. AN ITALIAN BAROQUE FESTIVE CELEBRATION

(December 23, 7:30 p.m., earlymusicbc.ca) The Pacific Baroque Orchestra and mezzo soprano Krisztina Szabó perform baroque music for Christmas, streaming by donation. MUSIC FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE 2020 WATCH PARTY

(Mid-December [date TBA], musiconmain.ca) Music on Main presents concert performances by Caroline Shaw (voice and violin), Rachel Iwaasa (piano), Steve Maddock (voice), Couloir (cellist Ariel Barnes and harpist Heidi Krutzen), Veda Hille (voice and piano), Adrian Verdejo (guitar), Nicole Lizée (composer and performer), Wallgrin (violin and voice), Carman J. Price (vocals), Corey Payette (vocals), Julie McIsaac (vocals), Karen Gerbrecht (violin), and Gabriel Kahane (vocals and piano). g

In addition, UBCP/ACTRA is committed to achieving gender equality, equity, and inclusion. In a speech at the beginning of the awards ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the film industry has experienced challenging times due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “That hasn’t stopped you from bringing our stories to life,” Trudeau said. “It is a testament to your professionalism and dedication to the film and television industry right here in British Columbia. Our government is always here to support talent and Canadian industry.” UBCP/ACTRA president and ACTRA vice president Keith Martin Gordey celebrated how the virtual awards ceremony allowed members to come together to celebrate their best and brightest, despite the pandemic. “These accomplished individuals, from a field of accomplished individuals, truly deserve this recognition,” Gordey added, “and we are delighted to have found a way to honour them in these challenging times.” During the recorded speech, Gordey also quipped: “I kind of miss the rapturous applause that accompanied my entrance in the past.” g





The masturbation panic paralleled war on drugs


by Dana Larsen

uring most of the 1800s, there was a widespread belief that masturbating would drive you insane. There was a huge cultural fear of masturbation. This natural act was punished, criminalized, and pathologized. Academics call this “The Great Masturbation Panic”. When people saw someone with a mental illness who was masturbating in public, or in a mental asylum, they believed the mental illness was caused by masturbation and didn’t realize it was the mental illness causing the socially inappropriate behaviour. It’s hard to overemphasize how obsessed Victorian culture was with masturbation. There was intense, widespread fear that

Scan to conffess

young people were touching themselves for sexual pleasure and that this would lead to insanity, crime, and social breakdown. Doctors and religious leaders regularly warned about the severe dangers of “self-abuse”. Young people were constantly threatened about masturbating. Parents were encouraged to spy on their children and burst into their rooms at night to see if they were touching themselves. If caught masturbating, they would be severely punished or sent to an asylum for treatment. Psychological torment plus vicious punishments and horrifying restraints were used to stop people from doing the normal act of touching and exploring their own bodies. 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.

Disgusting Habit When my wife drives our kids to school in the morning I turn on the laptop and look at pornography for 30 minutes right before I start my work day as I work from home. I love my wife and we have a great sex life its just she doesn’t approve or pornography as she feels it is demeaning to women and since I have two daughters I should be disgusted by it. I just feel so ashamed of my disgusting habit.

I’m stuck at... my parents’ place and my father is turning alcoholic and becoming abusive towards me. I have no income right now and nowhere to go, and no one I can ask for help. He was always abusive to me and now it’s starting again and I’m 38!! My Mom invited me here and wants me to stay but she enables him even though he’s abusive to her also. Never thought I’d be in this situation at my age. And now we are heading into another lockdown.

Bad Vibes I found out that my significant other has been telling lies about me to people we both know. I wondered why I was getting weird looks. It’s interesting how most people still haven’t learned that there are two sides to a story and that you shouldn’t believe someone until you get the full story because there are a lot of manipulative people out there. Needless to say, this drama addict is getting dumped.

WFH oops I pasted a porn link into a chat with my manager by accident. He said that he’s “seen worse”.

Visit 16


to post a Confession NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 3 / 2020

This collage includes 36 of the 157 drugs that were self-administered by the author of The Drug Users Bible, Dominic Milton Trott, as part of his research. Photo by Dominic Milton Trott.

Masturbation was considered so dangerous that brutal suppression was justified. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (inventor of corn flakes) was one of many medical leaders who considered masturbation a great health risk and urged parents to stop masturbation by torturing their children with electric shocks and circumcision without anesthesia. Instead of being seen at worst as a vice and at best as a pleasant indulgence, masturbation was treated as a severe medical issue where mandatory health treatment needed to be enforced with legal and social punishments. Of course. most people likely still masturbated, but they would feel ashamed and guilty. They would never admit to it in public, and if they did they would be ridiculed, punished, and criminalized. This “War on Masturbation” went on for more than a century, causing pain and anguish for generations. Nowadays, we know that masturbation is normal. We recognize that some people can have issues with masturbating too often, or in an unhealthy or antisocial way. But for the vast majority, touching our own bodies for pleasure is normal and not a big deal. Instead, we have pathologized drug use. The modern “Drug Panic” is essentially equivalent to the “Masturbation Panic” of the past. Both are “Moral Panics”, where our society has developed an intense and irrational social fear. Many people now believe that drug use drives you insane. There is a huge cultural fear of drug use. This natural act is punished, criminalized, and pathologized. When people see someone with a mental illness who is using drugs in public, or

in a socially inappropriate way, they often believe the mental illness was caused by drug use and don’t realize it is the mental illness causing the socially inappropriate drug-use behaviour. Most drug users live “normal” lives. It’s hard to overemphasize how obsessed our culture is with drug use. There is intense, widespread fear that young people are taking drugs for pleasure and that this will lead to insanity, crime, and social breakdown. Doctors and religious leaders regularly warn about the severe dangers of “drug abuse”. Young people are constantly threatened about drug use. Parents are encouraged to spy on their children and test them to see if they are taking drugs. If caught, they get punished or sent to an asylum for treatment. Psychological torment plus vicious punishments and restraints are used to stop people from doing the normal act of exploring their own mind and body with drug use. Drug use is considered so dangerous that brutal suppression is justified. Of course, most people still take drugs for pleasure, but they are taught to feel ashamed and guilty. One day we will look back at the Drug Panic the way we now look back at the Masturbation Panic, with a sad smile as we see how incredibly silly and incredibly harmful it all was. g



Co.ERASGA’s dancers make a selfless Offering


by Carlito Pablo

ance makes for magic to Vancouver choreographer and artist Alvin Erasga Tolentino. The fleeting movements that a performer delivers are moments of wonder. “It’s ephemeral,” Tolentino told the Straight by phone. According to the founder and artistic director of the Co.ERASGA dance company, each motion is unique, never to be repeated. “There is an essential component that is really special to this practice, which is the delivery of it in the moment,” Tolentino explained. Dance is unlike art forms like painting or sculpture, he said, where a work is preserved as a final, unchanging entity. “In dance, every moment is different from yesterday and for tomorrow,” Tolentino said in an interview before the launch of a major production by his dance company. The work is titled Offering, and it will make its world premiere with a two-day livestreamed run at the Anvil Centre (777 Columbia Street, New Westminster) on November 28 and November 29. The show will be performed at 3 p.m. each day. Offering features solo dances by Molly McDermott, Olivia Shaffer, Marissa Wong, Joshua Ongcol, Marc Arboleda, and Antonio Somera. For the production, Tolentino asked the performers to reach deep and offer themselves like an act of prayer to the divine. Tolentino said that the dancers committed themselves not only to the idea of the show but also to the act of merely making it possible. They showed up for daily rehearsals amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic like a “ritual”. “They surrendered themselves, and to me that’s an act of being selfless and making an offering,” Tolentino said.

Now it’s time to share with an audience the magic moments they create. “We perform not for ourselves but for somebody, for an audience, and when we do that, dance is elevated into another kind of energy,” Tolentino said. The Filipino-Canadian dancer noted that the pandemic has hit patrons of the performing arts, as live shows have been cancelled after the latest provincial emergency orders. In response, Tolentino said, “we’re transforming dance for the virtual world”. Offering was supposed to be an ensemble production to celebrate a major milestone for Co. ERASGA, which turns 20 this year. Because of health protocols related to the pandemic, the work became a collection of six solos. According to Tolentino, artists and arts groups face serious challenges because of the health situation. “We try to be as strong as we can,” Tolentino said. Co.ERASGA took its identity from the maiden name of Tolentino’s mother, who left the Philippines during the 1970s to work as a seamstress in the Canadian Prairies. He was a young boy at the time. The entire family reunited in Canada in 1983 after years of separation. Tolentino continues to be enthralled with dance. “I’ve seen some performances where I was really blown away,” he said, “and I don’t think I could see it again, because it was only given at that particular time.” This is where, for him, the magic lies in dance. “It’s a vanishing act,” Tolentino said. “It’s never the same.” g

Clockwise from upper left: Joshua Ongcol, Marissa Wong, Antonio Somera, Molly McDermott, Olivia Shaffer, and Marc Arboleda will do solos in Co.ERASGA’s Offering. Photo by Yasuhiro Okada.


Tickets to see Offering via livestream are available through the Co.ERASGA website.

T heatre TIP SHEET THE PROVINCIAL health order means that live theatre will be nonexistent until December 8. But it won’t be “virtually” nonexistent. Here are scheduled shows.

d TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS (To January 3, artsclub.com) d THE RED PRIEST (EIGHT WAYS TO SAY GOODBYE) (To December 6, 8 pm,

b THE ARRAY: FIRST CONTACT (December 3 to 5, 7:30 p.m., upintheairtheatre.com)

b EAST VAN PANTO: PANTO COME HOME! (December 17 to January 3, thecultch.com)



to 19, 7:30 p.m. [extra show Dec. 19 at 3

d PATHETIC FALLACY (November 25 to 29, 7:30 p.m., rumbletix.org)

p.m.], live at Firehall Arts Centre)

d THEATRE: THE PLAY (November 29 to December 6, langara.ca) .

(December 18 to January 1,

b HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS gatewaytheatre.com) g


Featuring Jonathon Young Nov 25 Arggy Jenati Nov 26 Aryo Khakpour Nov 27 Omari Newton Nov 28 Jivesh Parasram Nov 29

November 25-29 Tickets - pay what you decide at rumbletix.org

Online — Live stream at 7:30 pm PT each night Performance recordings available on-demand for a limited time Unceded Coast Salish Territory

Rumble Theatre acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia





Sexless relationship means it’s time to break up by Dan Savage

b MY BOYFRIEND AND I were friends for a couple of years (we’re both 30-year-old gay men), then I stopped travelling around the world and pursued him. We’ve been boyfriends for a year and a half now. We were both happy and we had sex on a regular basis during the first year. I’m more into anal (as a top), but we mainly did oral because he isn’t into anal. We tried a few times early on, but every time I mention it now he doesn’t seem keen, so I’ve left it alone. Six months ago, he started having trouble “getting it up” even for oral. After it happened a couple of times he basically said, “I’m sorry, it’s because I think people aren’t attracted to me.” After that happened, I started to lose my interest in sex between us and now

we rarely have it. Even if he did offer to try anal, I don’t even think that would motivate me to have sex with him. Apart from that, we get on great, but I feel as though I’m starting to see him more as a friend. I’ve been thinking about breaking up for the last three months, but I would feel terrible for a few reasons: his previous boyfriend broke up with him without giving him a reason, which he struggled to come to terms with, and he’s very self-conscious about his weight. So I can’t tell him the reason I want to break up—I don’t find him attractive anymore—because that might erode his mental health. (He is seeing a therapist.) If sex was great between us, I would be happy to remain boyfriends, since everything else is working

> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < CASHIER AT THE MOST POPULAR COMMERCIAL DR. LIQUOR STORE



I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 21, 2020 WHERE: Community Oriented Brutalist Government Run Liquor Store You were a super free spirited cashier who made buying liquor fun... I am glad that I picked you and not another cashier. You ID’d me, which was a big compliment, asked what I was doing tonight, which was personable, and you were totally sincere about all the other jazz in our conversation... I hope you get into that program once Covid is over. I’d really like to pull you away from your mother and take you out to dinner on the Drive. I suspect we would have fun... We’re both a little bit whimsical.




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 21, 2020 WHERE: Union - Adanac Bikeway Eastbound - Main to Woodland We were riding along Union - Adanac heading east around sunset. We started talking at the light at Gore. You were on your way to a car dealership. I really enjoyed the conversation and I’d like to see the smile under your mask. Rachel, if you see this and are interested, let’s get drinks and go for a walk or ride sometime?




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 31, 2020 WHERE: Commercial Drive I was part of the Halloween parade up and we locked eyes a few times as you watched from the sidewalk. I couldn’t stop thinking about a fella as handsome as you. If you remember catching my eye too, what sort of costume was I wearing?




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 15, 2020 WHERE: Flea Market We ran into each other at the Flea Market both hunting for vintage eyeglass frames. You offered to fight me over glasses, but I declined as you would kick my butt. You wear black and have cat’s eye frames, a black mask and torn jeans and an awesome leather jacket. You seemed intelligent, funny and attractive in wonderful kooky goth way. It is most likely that you will never see this, but if you do maybe we should go for coffee or a drink. Something tells me we have a lot in common.




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 22, 2020 WHERE: Theatre on Smithe Street Delivered twice to you, BC finest. You're so sweet. We met in the lobby with your pretty feet. Special delivery from me to you.




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 4, 2020 WHERE: Nelson and Broughton Streets There was an older lady, quite frail, trying to figure out how to cross a huge puddle with her shopping cart. It was pouring rain; you jumped out of your work truck, swept her off her feet, and carried her across the puddle, putting her down on the sidewalk and then bringing her her cart of groceries. I didn’t know Park Rangers did that? Can I call 311 and ask for you? Not going to lie, I’m a little wet after watching that, and not because of the rain! Chivalry is not dead - thanks, Ranger!




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 14, 2020 WHERE: Kobe You were my server at Kobe on Saturday night (Nov 14th). Your eyes were incredible, and that snake Tattoo on your arm, beautiful. I was there with family/friends, tattoos sitting at the end solo. If you want to grab a drink, hit me up.




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 5, 2020 WHERE: 99 B-line, Granville Commercial Never done one of these or ever thought I would but hey, why not. You were talking on the phone about an original theatre show that involved parody songs and I was super curious. We made eye contact a number of times, and I had just worked up some nerve and made the decision to go over and say hi before you started talking on the phone again. Would love to hear more about the show if you see this, I’m all about that stuff and have a good skill set to help.




I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 5, 2020 WHERE: Little Mountain Gallery You were sitting in the front row at Jokes Please at LMG. One comedian singled you out and I was pretty nervous for you, but you were cool as a cucumber. You’re British and incredibly cute. I was sitting with my friend, who got singled out for having a poet’s ponytail, in the front right section. I was tall and wearing green, maybe you remember me? If yes, let’s go for a walk sometime, I’m curious why you had two phones.

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When one partner’s insecurities about their appearance are amplified by the other’s total lack of attraction to them—and sex is absent—say “Buh-bye”. Photo by Mariya Georgieva/Unsplash.

out and I’m fairly certain he’s happy with our relationship as it is, which makes it even harder to end it. Advice? - Promising Relationship Is Sexless Or Nearly So

A sexless relationship may be fine for your boyfriend—it may be what he wants—but it’s not fine for you, PRISONS, and it’s not what you want. And a guy who’s too insecure about his own attractiveness to get it up for a guy who’s attracted to him is unlikely to be secure enough for an open relationship, which means staying with him and getting sex elsewhere isn’t a workable option. So unless you’re prepared to spend the next 50 years of your life in a sexless relationship to avoid hurting your boyfriend’s feelings, PRISONS, you’re going to have to end it. But instead of saying, “It’s over because I’m not attracted to you anymore,” say, “It’s over because we clearly aren’t attracted to each other.” He might claim he’s still attracted to you, PRISONS, and that might even be true, but if he’s too insecure to have sex with you—if his insecurities are such huge stumbling blocks—then he’s not in good enough working order to be in a sexually exclusive relationship. You should, of course, be as considerate as possible about his insecurities when you end things, PRISONS, but you don’t have an obligation to stay with him forever because of them. He has an obligation to work on them with his therapist before entering into a new relationship.

b MY MARRIAGE OF 10 years recently fell apart. My ex, who is a piece of shit, told me she would have to leave or I would have to leave. I moved out but continued to pay her

bills and rent for a year on top of my own expenses. We both agreed not to see other people until we either reconciled or divorced. On more than one occasion, she convinced me that we might be close to reconciling. She basically led me on. Unfortunately, she was shacking up with a “Dom” who was old enough to be her father and this was going on long before we separated. When I confronted her, she told me she did it because you said sometimes cheating can save a relationship. She tried to get me to agree to having a poly relationship with them but the trust was gone. I know she was just saying things to cover her ass, and I moved on. Now I am looking for your advice on what steps to take, please. - Your Fan The Quiet Mouse

is sometimes “the least worst option” for all involved. But to say something isn’t always the worst option isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. And I’ve said it’s foolish to define cheating as unforgivable, considering how common cheating is. But to say something is forgivable is not to say it isn’t wrong. Quite the opposite, in fact, as non-wrongs do not require forgiveness. And, yes, I’ve said that cheating can sometimes save a relationship. For example, a person in an otherwise loving, low-conflict relationship that has become sexless might, after exhausting all other options (difficult conversations, couples counseling, etcetera), cheat in order to “stay married and stay sane”. It’s not ideal, of course, but it may make it possible for the cheater to remain in a relationship that neither the cheater nor the

I’ve said cheating

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to feel the shit out of your feelings. Ask your friends to let you freely vent for the next few months. After three months, they’re allowed to gently change the subject when you start in on your ex; after six months, they’re allowed to insist you talk about something else; after a year, they’re allowed to block your calls if you can’t get through a conversation without rehashing your divorce for the millionth time.

it’s not the kind of cheating that typically saves relationships. This kind of cheating, the kind your wife engaged in, more often than not destroys relationships. Sorry—I’m issuing clarifications, not answering your question. You asked about next steps. I don’t have to tell you to give yourself permission to be angry, as you sound pretty in touch with your anger, so I’ll just tell you

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cheatee wants to end. That’s not what your wife did. She lied, she cheated, and she only floated the idea of an ethically nonmonogamous relationship after she got caught being nonethically nonmonogamous. While this has been known to work—there are couples out there that were able to create functional and healthy open relationships in the wake of messy and painful affairs—




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