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FREE | DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

Volume 54 | Number 2758



Check out our recommendations to make your seasonal shopping so much easier this year







Antimaskers ready to up the ante in fight over health rules


December 3 – 10 / 2020



Wondering about consoles, cellphones, computers? Our electronics specialist offers guidance to help even the most techphobic shopper find a great gift.

by Charlie Smith

By Blaine Kyllo Cover photo by Jacob Lund



Just as COVID-19 cases and deaths are sharply increasing in B.C., the antimask movement is planning to get more militant. By Charlie Smith



Indigenous restaurants in Vancouver have joined a national campaign to send holiday feast boxes to people in need. By Craig Takeuchi

16 Antimaskers were in a jovial mood when they gathered at Vancouver City Hall in October (above), but more recently, some have talked about provoking confrontations. Photo by Janet McDonald.


ublic health officials on both sides of the border have declared that wearing masks in public indoor spaces will save lives. So far, more than 12,000 Canadians have died of COVID-19. There have been more than 380,000 positive test results for the novel coronavirus. But antimask activists are claiming that being forced to wear face coverings inside malls and other privately owned sites violates their human rights. And two B.C. members of this movement are recommending actions that could conceivably lead to public confrontations. Ryan Kulbaba is mobilizing people to walk into stores without their faces covered. He says his goal is to “educate” retail workers, their managers, and police about human rights rather than comply with public health orders. In a November 22 speech at an antimask rally in Vancouver, Kulbaba urged hundreds of attendees to videotape their interactions with store managers and distribute them over social media. “I am working with organizers across Canada in every province from the west to the east for an initiative to counter these policies that storm makers are putting on us for people who are violating our human rights,” he said. Kulbaba insisted at the rally that a November 19 B.C. public heath order mandating masks in indoor public spaces violates the B.C. Human Rights Code. Dr. Bonnie Henry issued the order pursuant to the Public Health Act. Five days after the rally on November 27, Air Canada refused to let Kulbaba board a flight to Toronto to attend another antimask demonstration. In a subsequent Facebook post, Kulbaba said that an airline official had seen footage of him conducting anti2


mask activities on a B.C. ferry. This staffer expressed concerns that Kulbaba was going to harass masked passengers on the plane. Meanwhile, another Vancouver antimasker, Alicia Johnson, recently wrote a post on Facebook calling on people to videotape what’s taking place at B.C. hospitals. The B.C. government has authorized fines of $230 on people who violate public health orders, including the requirement to wear masks in public indoor spaces. Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has called antimaskers “idiots”. “They do not have the right to endanger other people’s health,” Farnworth recently said. “It’s time for this small minority to shut up, grow up, and mask up.” Meanwhile in Toronto, two antimaskers tried to visit the home of the city’s medical health officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, in an attempt to conduct an “interview”. Facebook video shows Ed Jamnisek of Northern Guard and Pat King of Yellow Vests Canada driving around her neighbourhood. King provides a running commentary while this is occurring. King claimed that the pair were “just independent journalists” and that they “weren’t criminally harassing anybody”. Police ticketed one of them for not wearing a seatbelt. Back in March, Chilliwack resident and COVID-19 patient Erin Leigh, 38, spoke to CBC News from her hospital bed about the difficulties of breathing and waves of coughing after she contracted the disease. At that time, she urged viewers to follow the recommendations of medical experts. “This virus is so unpredictable and it can hit hard and fast,” Leigh declared. “And it can hit anyone of any age and any level of health. So I would beg that people please do listen to what the government is asking us to do and stop the spread because one person can infect so many people.” g

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020


The Whistler Film Festival has gone virtual this year, which means viewers can enjoy its movies from anywhere in the country. By Charlie Smith

e Start Here

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Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly Volume 54 | Number 2758 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.

1 2 3 4 5

COVID-19 in B.C.: More than 2,000 new cases and 46 deaths on weekend. Price reduced to $339,00, cash only, for unit in leaky Vancouver condo project. White Spot shuts down its West Georgia location after 40 years in Vancouver. Bhupinder Hundal hired as Global B.C. news director and station manager. Video: Prince George driver collides with oncoming snowplow on B.C. highway. @GeorgiaStraight


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Kamala Harris–inspired goodies a hit in 2020


by Charlie Smith

merica’s newest style icon is the vice president–elect. Kamala Harris achieved this distinction by helping to defeat one of the most loathed incumbent presidents in decades with a combination of intelligence, humour, passion, grace, persistence, optimism, and panache. Jo-Ellen Pozner, a Santa Clara University business assistant professor, writes about the intersection of politics, fashion, and meaning on Medium.com. “Harris’s suit game is strong,” Pozner declared in August. “She keeps it simple: classic silhouettes, sharp tailoring, and a palette that stretches from black to charcoal all the way to light gray. She seems to prefer skirt suits but feels good in a pantsuit, too. “She’s not afraid of a tonal plaid or a feminine touch, like a gentle peplum or an interestingly collared blouse. She often sports not-quite-statement necklaces—not dainty, but not too heavy or long, pearls or dark beads (maybe black pearls?) and sometimes a pretty double strand of strung pearls.” To Pozner, that makes Harris the Goldilocks of politics, hitting the sweet spot between being not to prim and not too loud. Harris also attracted plenty of attention with

her suffragette-white pantsuit by Wes Gordon on the night that she and Biden celebrated their victory in Wilmington, Delaware. So what can you buy for the Kamala lover on your holiday shopping list? Here are a few ideas.

in the Social Status retail outlet in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Like everybody’s got their inner kind of Chuck look. I think it has to do with the fact that we all want to get back to some basic stuff about who we are as a country.” Chucks are available for a variety of prices at many shoe retailers. Prior to the election, Harris’s footwear inspired a limited set of Social Status x Nina Chanel Converse shoes, which include custom pins promoting Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, and sensible climate policy. Every pair was donated to students in a course called Sole food: Digestible Sneaker Culture, which is offered at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.


Political junkies know the reference: ”I’m speaking” was Harris’s famous retort to Vice President Mike Pence when he kept rudely interrupting her during their one and only televised debate. There are plenty of “I’m Speaking” Kamala tees on Etsy, but one of the most popular is a handmade, cotton, slim-fit, narrow-cut, black shirt that tapers at the waist. Created by GoingKnowhereToday, it sells for $26.05. For those who prefer Harris’s face on their shirt, there’s another version available on Etsy for $27.66 from Maizys Whimsy Boutique. I’M SPEAKING/KAMALA HARRIS MUG

If you’re not into wearing T-shirts, there are also plenty of Kamala Harris mugs on Etsy. One of the top sellers is by TheJewelryBx21, which is being offered as a stocking stuffer for $27.12.

KAMALA HARRIS CHRISTMAS CARD Vice President–elect Kamala Harris shows off a shirt that’s become a hit with her supporters.


Harris may be the first vice-presidential candidate who went shopping in a sneaker store in pursuit of votes. And it came a month after a photograph went viral of her getting off a plane in Milwaukee in her no-nonsense Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. So why does she love her Chucks? “I think it’s a statement about who we really are,” Harris said

Send this card with Harris’s face and the message “Kama-la la la, la la la la” to every Republican on your list—if there are any. It’s a clever rebuke to Sen. David Perdue’s dog-whistling mockery of Harris’s name before a pre-election Trump rally in Macon, Georgia. Now Harris is the veep-elect and Perdue’s political career could end up on the scrap heap should he lose a run-off election on January 5. This card is on Etsy for $8.07 from LettuceBuildaHouse, based in Vaughan, Ontario. g

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Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 9:00pm Sat - Sun: 9:00am - 8:00pm

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  DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020




Clockwise from upper left: Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, Ekster iPhone case components, the AirFly headphone adapter, Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds, Apple’s MacBook Air with the new M1 processing chip, Apple’s new iPhone 12, Asus Republic of Gamers’ Zephyrus G15 laptop, and Sony’s new and high-powered PS5 with a DualSense controller.

Tech gift ideas just in time for the holiday season


by Blaine Kyllo

he holiday season may be different this year, but there are amazing tech gifts that can make it easier for us all to stay home. We’ve got console options that will keep you entertained, computers to help you be more productive when working from home, and smartphones and listening devices to be ready for the world when the time comes. XBOX SERIES SX

The latest hardware from Microsoft comes in two flavours. The Xbox Series X is packed with power and potential, delivering HDR images at 4K resolution and up to 120 frames per second. The all-digital Xbox Series S dials down the visuals a bit and removes the disc drive to reduce cost. Either way, consider complementing a new Xbox with a subscription to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate ($17 a month), which delivers almost 200 games, including everything from Xbox Game Studio developers and titles that are part of EA Play. ($600, $380, respectively, from www.xbox. com/en-CA/consoles) PS5

The new DualSense controller that is included with Sony’s PS5 is revolutionary. With fine-tuned haptics, motion controls, and adaptive triggers, developers can 6


give us games that not only look amazing but can feel amazing, too. The PS5 is a high-powered machine, getting players into games faster and reducing load times significantly. The two PS5 models are the same except the Digital Edition removes the disc drive. ($500, $630 from www.playstation.com/en-ca/ps5/) ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G15

The Zephyrus G15 is from Asus’s Republic of Gamers line of laptop computers, and while it was designed with gaming in mind—including an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card—the understated design means that it’s not out of place in an office or boardroom. Powerful enough to drive virtual-reality headsets, the Zephyrus G15 can also use portable battery packs plugged into its USB-C port in the event you can’t get close to an outlet. ($1,799 and up from www.asus.com/ca-en/Laptops/ ROG-Zephyrus-G15/) MACBOOK AIR

Just a few weeks ago, Apple revealed to the world that its computers are being built with its own processing chip, the M1, and the new MacBook Air instantly became the best all-around laptop available. It’s faster and it delivers better visuals, but what the ultra-

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

efficient M1 chip really impacts is the energy it needs to operate. So there’s no fan in the MacBook Air, which means it’s completely silent. That efficiency also impacts battery performance, giving you up to 18 hours on a single charge. ($1,299 and up from https:// www.apple.com/ca/macbook-air/) IPHONE 12

The flat-edged form factor of the iPhone 12 feels a bit like a throwback, but the latest smartphone from Apple is anything but. With a crisp Super Retina XDR display and fail-safe facial recognition, it’s the most usable handset available. There’s also an array of magnets on the back of the device that will keep it snapped onto MagSafeenabled chargers so everything is aligned properly. ($1,129 and up from www.apple. com/ca/iphone-12/) EKSTER IPHONE 12 CASES

Modular iPhone 12 case components from Ekster make for a great stocking stuffer. Taking advantage of the MagSafe functionality on the new iPhones, these cases grip onto your handset to give it some protection as well as carrying capacity. You can use the cardholder if you only want to have a couple of cards and bills or make the case into more of a wallet with the folio. ($59 from https://ekster.com)


Samsung’s flagship smartphone is solid, dependable, and has an edge-to-edge curved screen with a 120 Hz refresh that is the best you can get. The 5G device has a new camera system with three camera lenses on the front of the device. The wideangle and ultrawide-angle cameras give you 12 MP, and the telephoto kicks it up to 64 MP. ($1,080 and up from www.samsung. com/ca/smartphones/galaxy-s20/) GOOGLE PIXEL 4A 5G

It’s no surprise that Google, which developed the Android operating system for mobile devices, can get Android running better on its own hardware. That’s true for the Pixel 4a 5G, which eschews soft ware bloat in favour of a streamlined soft ware profile. It’s a less costly device, too, giving up wireless charging and some processing speed but still giving you great photography and 5G functionality. ($679 from https:// store.google.com/product/pixel_4a_5g) AIRFLY HEADPHONE ADAPTER

The AirFly, from Twelve South, was created to solve a problem. Now that wireless headphones are necessary for so many of the devices we use, how can we go wireless with devices that don’t see next page

support wireless use? The AirFly transmitter lets you use your favourite wireless earbuds with treadmills and other fitness equipment and gives you cordfree listening if you’re watching a movie on the airplane. The AirFly Duo, USBC, and Pro models also let two people listen at the same time. ($60 to $80 from www.twelvesouth.com/products/ airfly?variant=31242622566457)

to two devices at once. So you can be watching a movie on your iPad and be able to take a call on your phone by simply pausing the film playback. Combined with excellent sound from 12 mm drivers and a case that supports wireless charging, the Jabra Elite 85t are among the best wireless earbuds you can get. ($300 from www.jabra.ca/bluetooth-headsets/ jabra-elite-85t##100-99190000-20)



It looks like a briefcase right out of the ’80s, but the Bassmaker is actually a booming sound system with a handle. Designed by Toronto-born Stewart Orr, the box is equipped with two 6.5-inch speakers and an amplifier. You can connect to it wirelessly with Bluetooth or using the quarter-inch input. The two channels can operate simultaneously and have their own volume control, so you can plug in a guitar to play along with the music or a microphone for karaoke. ($522 from https://bassmaker.io) JABRA ELITE 85T WIRELESS EARBUDS

Jabra has been releasing consistently excellent wireless earbuds, and the Elite 85t continue the trend. New to the line is active noise cancelling, which you can adjust using the Jabra mobile app. One of the best features that Jabra builds into its earbuds—that its competitors lack—is the ability to be connected

The latest addition to the Sonos family is the Move, which brings portability to the line of wireless speaker products. It was designed to be picked up and carried around, so you don’t have to worry about bumping it or having it on the picnic table when the kids are having a water fight. It gives about 10 hours on a charge, and the Move comes with a charging base that will get it to 50 percent in just an hour. ($499 from www.sonos.com/ en-ca/shop/move.html) LOGITECH C920S WEBCAM

So many of us have moved to working from home, and one of the essentials for those endless videoconference calls is a proper camera. The C920s webcam from Logitech will show you and your home office in full high definition, and because it’s independent from your computer, you can give yourself a frame and

see next page

Clockwise from upper left: Bassmaker’s sound system has a handle, the high-definition Logitech C920S webcam, Sonos’s Move wireless speaker, and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 flagship smartphone.

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020



from previous page

background that will make coworkers envious. It has also got stereo microphones and a privacy shutter so you can make sure that nobody can see anything if you don’t want them to. ($99 from www.logitech.com/en-ca/product/hd-prowebcam-c920s) DELL ULTRASHARP HUB MONITOR

If you’re not used to working from home, a monitor is essential. If you’ve already got one, you’ll quickly discover how much a second screen can do for your efficiency; if you’re working from a laptop, you already know how much you can benefit from a bigger screen that doesn’t make you crank your neck to see it. The 24-inch Dell UltraSharp hub monitor (U2421 HE) serves this purpose and also acts as a hub, giving you USB-C and USB ports that you can use to connect and charge your other peripherals. ($380 from www.dell. com/en-ca/shop/dell-ultrasharp-24-usbc-hub-monitor-u2421he/apd/210-awkg/ monitors-monitor-accessories) NEST THERMOSTAT

Nest revolutionized thermostats, and with the latest version of the technology, it’s more effective and simpler to use than ever before. It’s easy to install on your own, and with the Google Home app you can set schedules in a matter of minutes and even control the device when

Clockwise from left: Nest’s thermostats can be turned down automatically, even if nobody is home; the Google Pixel 4a 5G phone can provide terrific photos at a reasonable price, even if it can’t match others’ processing speed; the Dell UltraSharp hub monitor enables users to charge peripherals.

you’re away from home. Remarkably, it will also automatically turn down the

temperature in your home if it senses that nobody’s there, which can lower your

heating costs. ($180 from https://store.google.com/product/nest_thermostat) g

THIS IS NASSIMA AL-SADA. She is behind bars for defending women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, including the right to drive a car and the right to travel without the permission of a male “guardian.â€? Because of her activism, she has spent more than two years in prison, KPENWFKPIC[GCTKPUQNKVCT[EQPĆ‚PGOGPVYJGPUJGYCUPQVCNNQYGFVQ UGG|XKUKVQTUKPENWFKPIJGTEJKNFTGP


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DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020


New décor can ease pain of being stuck at home by Charlie Smith and Blaine Kyllo

There’s no shortage of gift options for the homebody on your list. They include the adjustable Klein 3000K LED headboard reading light, vintage dishes from Attic Treasures, an Ecomix Bull sculpted from natural and reclaimed materials, a giant gold wall clock, Dyson’s latest battery-powered vacuum cleaner, and a handcrafted Orca Lounge Chair designed by Jay Miron.


ome is where the world turns for most of us almost all of the time. And we can expect that to continue until we finally get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine pumping through our system. So if you’re like most of us, you may be thinking about what you can buy for the person on your shopping list who’s spending a ton of time within their four walls. Here are a few ideas. KLEIN 3000K LED HEADBOARD READING LIGHT

Many of our friends and loved ones are spending more time in the bedroom reading books or scrolling on their tablets and laptops. And what could enhance these experiences better than a high-powered, energy-efficient LED light that tilts to the perfect position? Once a person is done with the Klein 3000K, it can be folded back into a tighter position, making it the ideal gift for the minimalist in your life. ($177.49 on sale at Robinson Lighting & Bath) ORCA LOUNGE CHAIR

This comfy, hand-sculpted, solid-wood piece is offered in walnut, cherry, maple, and oak and upholstered in leather or whatever else the buyer might desire. The Orca Lounge Chair is crafted in Vancouver, and its designer, Jay Miron, was inspired by an African chief’s chair. (Available at SwitzerCultCreative; no price listed) DYSON V11 OUTSIZE CORDLESS VACUUM

Dyson’s latest vacuum was redesigned for the North American home, which tends to be twice as large as the average European home. The V11 Outsize is exactly that. It has a larger cleaning head, a larger collection bin, and comes with two batteries that can be swapped out in an instant. You won’t notice the extra size, though, as the Outsize is only slightly heavier but is balanced perfectly to make for easy

operation. ($1,100 at www.dysoncanada. ca/en/vacuum-cleaners/sticks/dyson-v11stick/dyson-v11-outsize-nickel-red) VINTAGE HULL POTTERY DISHES, MIDCENTURY MODERN

Impress the vintage dish lover on your list with these delightful pottery pieces. They’ll make the recipient feel like they’re living in a more comfortable time, when our lives weren’t being utterly disrupted by a pandemic. ($10 each and up at Attic Treasures) GIANT GOLD WALL CLOCK

This timepiece is only for someone with a big, empty wall, because it takes up so much space. At 120 centimetres in both height and width and with its Roman numerals, the Kare Design–manufactured Giant Wall Clock looks like it belongs in a medieval castle. So even if a person can’t go to Europe, they can feel like they’re on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. ($1,229 at INspiration Furniture) MOE’S HOME COLLECTION ECOMIX BULL

If you’re shopping for a bullish stock-market investor with an environmental bent, how about an abstract-style sculpture made with natural and reclaimed materials? The Moe’s Home Collection Ecomix Bull stands 45 centimetres high and weighs 4.5 kilograms and was originally created in India. ($169 discounted price at minimalandmodern.ca) ORAL-B IO POWER TOOTHBRUSH

Oral-B is a leader in electric toothbrushes and the iO brings new technologies to the job of keeping your teeth clean and your mouth healthy. A pressure sensor makes sure you aren’t brushing too hard, and a timer helps you keep brushing for the recommended two-minute duration. The iO also comes with a travel case that you can plug in when you’re away from home. ($260

at www.oralb.ca/en-ca/products/compare/ electric-toothbrushes#series=io) g

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020




Craft fairs remain open to shoppers who go online


by Craig Takeuchi

hristmas time is shopping time. Online, that is. While some craft, art, and gift markets have cancelled their inperson versions and haven’t transitioned to a virtual version, many do offer links to their vendors, some of whom are selling their wares online. So be sure to check out the website of your favourite holiday haunts for gift-giving ideas from artisans and craftspeople that can still help you find that unique something you can’t find elsewhere. That said, there are several local artsy fairs that have gone virtual this year, so you can browse and shop from the comfort of home. Here are a select few for your consideration. TOQUE CRAFT FAIR

Until Sunday (December 6) at toquecraft fair.com/ For inspired gifts, this fine annual market and fundraiser presented by artistrun centre Western Front runs the gamut from handblown glass pieces and creative ceramics to woven wall hangings, beaded earrings, and handcrafted wooden objects. Alas, shipping isn’t available, but the good news is that purchased items can be picked

While many craft and holiday markets have been cancelled due to the pandemic, several events have shifted to virtual versions, including the holiday edition of Got Craft, which offers an array of over 70 independent artisans, ranging from Mardy’s Kitchen (left) to Santa Paws Workshop.

up at Western Front (303 East 8th Avenue). GOT CRAFT? VIRTUAL MARKET: HOLIDAY EDITION

Until Sunday (December 6) at shop.gotcraft. com/ This local online market got underway on November 25, with more than 70 indie businesses and makers offering everything from apparel, accessories, and skincare products

to wall decor, stocking stuffers, and holiday ornaments. And food, of course. Arrange for curbside pickup in Vancouver or for shipping in Canada or the U.S. VIRTUAL JAPAN MARKET CHRISTMAS 2020

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DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

and Japanese Hall is offering an online sale this coming weekend. There’s everything from paper art, cards, and chocolates to kimonos and samurai pants. There’s also an option to pick up purchased items at their location at 487 Alexander Street. STUDENT ART SALE AT EMILY CARR

Until Monday (December 7) at buymoreart. ca/ Want to give the gift of adorning an abode with affordable art? This art student sale offers the opportunity to snap up the future Brian Jungens, Angela Grossmanns, and Douglas Couplands of the art world before they graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design—and rise out of your price range. POLYGON GALLERY HOLIDAY SHOP

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store.thepolygon.ca/ For the first time, the Polygon Gallery is offering a holiday shop—featuring an array of design- and style-savvy selections by independent and local artists—on the main floor of its North Vancouver location from Wednesdays to Sundays until January 3. But browsing and shopping is also available online. As a bonus, Little Mountain Shop (which closed its Mount Pleasant space in June) will run its Holiday Pop-Up, featuring a women-led lineup of vendors, from Wednesday (December 2) to December 27 at the gallery too. WEST COAST CHRISTMAS SHOW AND ARTISAN MARKET

shop.westcoastchristmasshow.com/ This annual Christmas shopping event has relocated to an e-shop. With everything from beauty supplies and personal care products to outdoor gear and home decor to sauces, honeys, and teas, this year’s roster of artisans and shopkeepers include the likes of Little Freddy’s Bib Company, Peaches Pouches, and the intriguingly named Splendid Bastard Beard Supply. g


B.C. books make beautiful homegrown presents by Charlie Smith

biology, has many memorable observations in her deeply personal book detailing the impact of climate change in the Arctic. Some are of a scientific variety, such as her explanation of how cyanobacteria can contribute to the massive release of oxygen, which can react with methane to dramatically cool the Earth. That once led to an ice age. Now, she writes, the planet is being remodelled by the massive release of carbon dioxide, once again threatening many life forms. But Watermelon Snow goes far beyond biology. In the following passage, she candidly explains how she came to own the label “settler” in 2014 as she reckoned with

her responsibility to seek true reconciliation. “Having grown up rural and definitely not wealthy, I resisted the label ‘privileged’. Being the fourth generation of my family grounded in this place, I also resisted the label ‘settler’,” Quarmby writes. “But I was learning of residential schools, of genocide, of the trauma of Indigenous people who lived just down the road when I was growing up; I was hearing the strong, clear voices of people who were invisible to me when I was young; I was learning what it meant to belong to the land. I came to recognize my privilege and responsibilities.” Watermelon Snow isn’t a book that’s easily forgotten. g

Claudia Cornwall’s book, British Columbia in Flames: Stories From a Blazing Summer, reveals how residents of the B.C. Interior responded to huge fires in 2017. Photo by B.C. Wildfire Service.


n Straight.com, which is where you’ll find the Georgia Straight online, we’re going to post several articles before the end of this year recommending books either written by B.C. authors or issued by B.C. publishers. In that spirit, here’s our latest installment in case you’re in the mood to buy any books for the readers you love and cherish.


By Claudia Cornwall. Harbour Publishing Are you curious to know how the city of Williams Lake was saved in the horrific 2017 wildfire season? Or how the chief of the Bonaparte First Nation relied on his community’s experience in fighting fires to stop the massive Elephant Hill Blaze from razing 40 homes and a new watertreatment system? This and so much more is captured in this deeply researched and literary book by North Vancouver writer Claudia Cornwall. She interviewed people in many B.C. communities affected by the wildfires, telling tales of remarkable courage and astonishing kindness in the face of monumental danger. “Forests are the lifeblood of many B.C. communities,” Cornwall writes. “They are also at the front line of our fight against global warming.” And that’s where this tale becomes even more frightening, as Cornwall explains how these forests, once magnificent carbonstoring sinks, became massive emitters of carbon dioxide in 2017. In fact, she points out, B.C. forest emissions in 2017 matched “the annual carbon dioxide exhaust from 44

million passenger vehicles—almost double the Canadian passenger fleet”. THE POCKET GUIDE TO THE UNHERALDED ARTISTS OF B.C. SERIES

Edited by Mona Fertig. Introduction by Marsha Lederman. Mother Tongue Publishing Most people have heard of famous B.C. artists like Emily Carr and Bill Reid. But what about countless others who pursue their passion in obscurity, getting by on day jobs while labouring feverishly in their off hours to create evocative works? Salt Spring Island writer and publisher Mona Fertig decided to highlight 13 of these artists, including her father, George Fertig, in a gorgeous new book filled with images of lush paintings and intriguing sculptures. “Countless artists toil away in obscurity, making magnificent work nobody will exhibit or buy or give them a grant for,” Globe and Mail arts reporter Marsha Lederman writes in the introduction. “And they keep going. Their passion cannot be quelled by the lack of a paycheque or published review. Long after they gave up any possibility of fortune or fame, they are driven by something more authentic.” A similar level of passion drove Fertig to share these compelling untold stories of mostly dead B.C. artists. What a great gift for the unheralded artist in your life. WATERMELON SNOW: SCIENCE, ART, AND A LONE POLAR BEAR

by Lynne Quarmby. McGill-Queen’s University Press Lynne Quarmby, an SFU professor of cell DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020




Drinking locally a wonderful way to show you care by Mike Usinger and John Lucas


Great liquor-related gifts this year include (clockwise from left) Booze & Vinyl, handy atomizers, whiskey puck chillers. Dachi cocktail kits, and locally produced spirits like Odd Society’s Salal Gin.

here’s a line of thinking that some of us drink to forget, and as much as that doesn’t always seems like a wise coping strategy, it doesn’t seem an entirely awful idea in 2020. The following gifts will help your loved ones take the edge off a year that we’ll all look back upon and be glad we made it through. As always, try to support those working at the grassroots level by shopping locally. And remember, the goal should be maintaining a healthy glow, not passing out under the Christmas tree every morning around 11 a.m. BOOZE & VINYL: A SPIRITED GUIDE TO GREAT MUSIC AND MIXED DRINKS

As anyone who has ever been to Seattle’s excellent record shop/cocktail bar Life on Mars could tell you, booze and vinyl make a pretty great combination. This is especially true in our current paradigm, in which music and alcohol are among the things keeping us sane. If you possess sufficient knowledge of both of those things, you can, of course, come up with your own pairings. For those who might need a nudge in the right direction, however, authors André Darlington and Tenaya Darlington have assembled a selection of 70 LPs from the 1930s through the 2000s, from artists ranging from Run-DMC to Joni Mitchell to Bon Iver. They have given each album a mixed drink for both the A-side and the Bside. Do you really need to be sipping a classic Manhattan while spinning your grandpa’s old copy of In the Wee Small Hours? Of course not, but we think Frank Sinatra would approve. Seasoned mixologists will likely find most of the recipes themselves a little too basic, but those new to the cocktail game will be relieved to see that many of them consist of only two or three ingredients. ($31 at runningpress.com). 12



One of the bright spots in this complete gong show of a year has been the way you can help others while helping yourself cope. After Vancouver bars were forced to close their doors in the spring, those on the frontlines asked themselves a question: if people will pay for takeout food, why wouldn’t they pay for takeout cocktails? Today we know the answer. The lockdowns have seen the city’s talented bartenders step up with cocktail kits that let anyone channel the ghosts of “Professor” Jerry Thomas or Ada Coleman—even if their idea of a great margarita starts with a squeeze bottle of ReaLime. As we gear up for the holiday season, Dachi has just rolled out $75 kits featuring the Natural Cure (Johnnie Walker Red, chamomile, ginger, lemon, and pressed apple). Chickadee’s $99 cocktail kits will have you whipping up a perfect Another Day in Paradise (Cazadores Reposado, St. Germain, charred pineapple, galangal, grapefruit, and hops bitters). The Keefer Bar’s $110 2 in 1 Rum Kit is the first stop to classic Mai Tais and Daiquiris. If you’ve got a favourite bar in Vancouver, odds are relatively good they’re offering up a cocktail kit. Consider it a gift that keeps on giving, especially if there’s a “mixologist” in your life who needs help understanding that SunRype and White Lightning do not an Appletini make. (Various prices and locations). ATOMIZER

Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much, unless you’ve got a thing for spray bottles that happen to come in fancy brushed steel. But your favourite amateur bartender will love the worlds that are opened up by an atomizer. As you go deeper as a home mixologist—which is to say, aiming higher than Sailor Jerry and Hawaiian Punch—you’ll find drinks that call for flourishes like an absinthe wash. Fill your atomizer with To-

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

fino Distillery’s Psychedelic Jellyfish Absinthe, then mist your glass, and you’ve gone full metal jacket. Where the atomizer really proves indispensable is on the subtleaccents front. Want to know how to take classic cocktails like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or even Margarita to an entirely different place? Load up your atomizer with a deliciously smoky Ardbeg, then spritz one or twice before serving. Simple yet amazing. (Starting from $11.95 at Modern Bartender). PUCK CHILLERS

You know what’s one of the worst possible things you could get the serious imbiber on your list? Whiskey stones. Oh, sure they seem like a good idea at first. The notion is that they keep your whiskey chilled without diluting it the way ice does. There are several problems with this line of thinking. First of all, it could be argued that serious whiskey drinkers take their Speyburn Bradan Orach at room temperature the way the good lord intended. Another issue is that, for those who do prefer their single-malt on ice, dilution is sort of the point. As the ice melts, that turns down the high-proof alcohol burn, allowing the palate to savour more nuanced flavours. But enough about all that. These Final Touch puck chillers are predicated on the same principle as whiskey stones, which is that they keep your drink cool without watering it down. The stainless-steel pucks are filled with a nontoxic cooling gel, and they’ll add a bit of shine to the recipient’s Tom Collins or Mojito. Those beverages are best enjoyed in the summer months, of course, when you want to keep things nice and cool. Unlike, say, whiskey, which is arguably best consumed straight out of the bottle while staring into a raging fireplace on New Year’s Eve, fervently hoping that 2021 is a vast improvement over 2020. ($15.99 per pair at the Gourmet Warehouse).


Want a gift that someone is guaranteed to use, especially in the transcendentally shitty year that has been 2020? You’re not going to go wrong with liquor, especially considering stats that show we’re consuming it these days as a coping mechanism. Once upon a time, made in B.C. was shorthand for your cousin Vito’s home-distilled (a.k.a. paint-removing and stomach-destroying) grappa. These days, craft distilleries flourish across the province, producing everything from award-winning vodkas (Per Se from Vancouver Island’s Ampersand) to artisanal liqueurs (No. 82 Amaretto from Sons of Vancouver). So as much as it’s great to give that thrice-removed cousin you see once a year a bottle of Michter’s Sour Mash Whiskey for Christmas, why not go local? That way you’re showing you care not only about a loved one, friend, or boss who didn’t lay you off in the spring but also about those manning the distilling pots in these troubled times. Need some ideas to kickstart your shopping? East Van’s Odd Society Spirits has just released this year’s edition of its gold medal–winning Salal Gin, made with salal berries harvested in Haida Gwaii. Roots and Wings Distillery in Langley has put together gift baskets featuring locally sourced mixers along with spirits like its Johnny Handsome charred-barrel whiskey and Dill Pickled vodka. Continuing with the best-in-show spirits, consider Railspur No. 3 Switch whiskey from the Liberty Distillery, Långbord Akvavit from Long Table Distillery, or the Woods Spirit Co. Pacific Northwest Amaro. And that’s just the cream of an industry that’s booming from Sparwood to Port Hardy and Victoria to Fort Nelson. Get on board with the knowledge that you’ll truly be making these holidays a little happier. (Various prices and locations). g


Handy appliances make kitchen work more fun by Charlie Smith


The Breville Smoking Gun cold-smokes food and beverages without hassles; the company’s citrus press keeps fingers clean; and the Zojirushi Rice Cooker relies on technology to make fluffy rice.

here’s no shortage of potential gifts for those with a passion for all things culinary. Just drop by a local Gourmet Warehouse, Cook Culture, or Williams Sonoma store and you’ll see aisles upon aisles of products. Here are three recommendations.

movable burn chamber, making it easy to clean and to load and unload wood chips. There’s also dual-speed control, allowing users to adjust how much smoke they want to emit. What a way to wow some guests—after the recent public-health order banning gatherings is lifted, of course. ($99.99 on sale at Gourmet Warehouse)



There’s perhaps no better way to add smoky flavours like applewood or hickory to food and beverages than with the Breville Smoking Gun. This machine includes a re-

This device enables users to maximize the amount of fresh juice squeezed from citrus fruits of any size. All a person needs to do is pull down the handle and let the quiet mo-

tor do its work. No sticky fingers. And no juice left on the counter. Hallelujah for that. ($199 at Cook Culture) ZOJIRUSHI RICE COOKER

It’s amazing that so many people still boil rice on the stove when there are machines that make this task so much easier. The Zojirushi Rice Cooker relies on computerized technology to make the most out of a variety of rices. It always comes out soft and fluffy. There’s also a basket to enable users to steam meats, fish, and veggies. ($249 at Williams Sonoma) g

Indigenous eateries will offer meal kits to the poor by Craig Takeuchi

The Indigenous Feast Boxes campaign is now underway. Photo by Salmon N’ Bannock Bistro.


ndigenous chefs and restaurants are uniting in a national campaign to ensure Indigenous people in need receive warm and healthy meals during the upcoming festive holidays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Winnipeg-based Feast Café Bistro owner and executive chef Christa BruneauGuenther, from the Peguis First Nation, announced the launch of Indigenous Feast Boxes on November 27. It’s a fundraising campaign to support Indigenous chefs across Canada and their teams. “This fundraising campaign is a way to secure jobs but also support families, elders, people with health risks, and the larger community as a whole,” BruneauGuenther, a board member of the In-

digenous Culinary of Associated Nations (ICAN), explained in a news release. “The holidays can be hard financially, but they are also a time of warmth and giving.” The meal kits will be provided to Indigenous families and community members in need during the fast-approaching holiday season. Indigenous chefs from across Canada will participate in the campaign to create feast boxes, made with local ingredients and inspired by heritage and contemporary influences, for four to six people, with a minimum value of $50 each. The boxes will either be partially or fully prepared, with recipes and cooking instructions that will provide details about the significance of the ingredients. The chefs chose local Indigenous community groups to receive the boxes. “When COVID-19 hit and all our Taste of the Nations events got cancelled, we decided to redirect those efforts by funding $25,000 for the creation and distribution of Indigenous Feast Boxes,” ICAN board chair Joseph Shawana stated. Shawana pointed out that people can visit IndigenousCuisine.ca, which offers profile, blogs, and recipes, as well as a map of Indigenous restaurants, food trucks, caterers, and culinary experiences across Canada. Michele Visser, codirector of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Family Centre, explained what it’s like to receive a feast box. “At a time when getting groceries is

difficult, having all the necessary ingredients within one package made cooking a healthy meal so much easier,” Visser said. “The portions were generous! The stew was supposed to make six servings, but it was so rich and hearty that it served six for supper and there were leftovers for the next day. The ingredients that were chosen were mostly local, and the recipe was simple and well explained, which made the meal easy to reproduce at a later date.” In addition, Visser pointed out that it reminded people that they’re not alone and provided them with both assistance and food education.

In British Columbia, the participating chefs and community organizations include Mr. Bannock (442 West 1st Street) in North Vancouver, led by chef Paul Natrall, with distribution by Dude’s Club; and Salmon n’ Bannock (7–1128 West Broadway) in Vancouver, with a team led by owner Inez Cook and delivery by the Helping Spirit Lodge Society. The campaign has a goal of raising $60,000 to ensure Indigenous families across Canada receive a healthy warm meal during the holidays. This campaign, which runs until December 18, is being shared online at GoFundMe. g

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More info at eatlocal.org

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020




Give your favourite music fan a reason to rejoice by Mike Usinger


From the Beatles and Billie Eilish to 2Pac to Neil Young, and from rolling papers to iRigs, there are many gift ideas to help you through, and help you forget, what has been a very challenging 2020.

e’re all in this together this year, so here’s a suggestion: if you’re looking to pick up any of the below items, try to do some additional homework by sourcing at a bricks-and-mortar Vancouver store, preferably of the mom-and-pop variety. And for God’s sake, wear a mask.


Remember the ’60s, when folks would set aside a day to drop two tabs of Orange Sunshine and then repeatedly play the Beatles’ Revolver backwards on warped vinyl? Frantically telling themselves to enjoy the ride because at some point everyone comes down and, no, an acid trip has never caused anyone’s eyeballs to melt like a Creamsicle at high noon in Bombay? Help a loved one relive that time in a much less terrifying way with Lego Art: The Beatles. Geared to the over-18 crowd, each kit features 2,993 Lego pieces and a suitable-for-hanging Lego board to place them on. Here’s the mindblowing thing: depending on how they’re arranged, those Lego pieces can be used to create each of your favourite Fab Four members. There’s also a downloadable Beatles soundtrack to listen to while you work. Or you could just dump all the pieces into a pile, drop two tabs of Purple Jesus acid, and then sit there freaking the fuck out as the Lego pieces arrange themselves while calmly informing you the toaster is morphing into Rocky the Racoon. ($149.99 from lego.com). ANKER LIFE Q30 HEADPHONES

Enough already. There’s no shame in admitting—no matter how much you love your partner, kids, cat, or Siamese fight14


ing fish—that you’d rather not be cooped up with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Give them the green light to tune you out with a pair of Anker Life Q30 hybrid active noise-cancelling headphones, which they can slap on and then crank up Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile”, the Subhumans’ “Fuck You”, or Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In the Name”. Offering 60 hours of playing time per charge, they’re designed to maximize low frequencies while making the highs clearer than Prague crystal. The real selling point (beyond, that is, the budgetfriendly price tag)? That would the active noise cancellation with three modes to filter out things like airplane noise, traffic, wind, and the person you live with bitching about how you left the dirty dishes on the counter. Again. ($104 at anker.com). ROCK BAND FACE MASKS

Just as no true gentlemen left the house in 1910 without a custom-fitted bowler hat, this year will be remembered for face masks becoming an essential accessory. Why bother looking like every other person in Walmart by wearing a generic surgeon mask when you can pledge allegiance to your favourite band for charity? We’ve Got You Covered offers face masks emblazoned with the logos of artists ranging from Slipknot and Black Sabbath to 2Pac and Queen. For the TikTok generation, there are offerings featuring the likes of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Partial proceeds from We’ve Got You Covered purchases are funnelled to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, a nonprofit run by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The academy has earmarked the money for artists and other

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

music-industry workers who have had their lives uprooted by the pandemic. ($19.50 at wegotyoucoverednow.com). IK MULTIMEDIA IRIG HD 2

When you think about it, the Dumpster fire that has been 2020 is ending on a hopeful note. COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, and the four-year clown show south of the 49th parallel is drawing to a longoverdue close. This is all great, but the fact remains that we’ll all be in this state of semilockdown for the foreseeable future. Musicians find themselves with no venues to play and rehearsals cancelled (because it’s pretty hard to maintain the requisite physical distance when you have five people crammed into a 12-square-foot jam room). The only real recourse is to work on songs while isolating at home. IK Multimedia’s iRig HD 2 digital interface is a great tool for doing just that. Plug an instrument (like, say, an electric guitar) into the iRig, then plug the iRig into your iPhone, and you essentially have a pocket-sized recording studio. You can record tracks directly into GarageBand or your audio software of choice. It’s so easy that you never have to be in a room filled with sweaty humans and their music gear ever again. Although you’ll probably want to be, for the sake of your own sanity. ($111.99 at Long and McQuade) NEIL YOUNG HOMEGROWN ROLLING PAPERS

Ol’ Shakey has never been the most famous weed consumer in pop culture—Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg continue in a twoway tie for first where that’s concerned. But there’s something about Neil Young that

suggests he’d be far more interesting to roll a blunt with than those two. Forget getting mellow and playing dominoes—with Young, odds are better you’d get a megastoned tirade that flits from the war crimes of Donald Trump to the insanity of the NRA to the unending sonic superiority of the Pono. Young is billing his homegrown hemp papers as “Never Known to Fail”, which makes them a no-brainer for 2020. Everything else has gone fucking wrong in this train wreck of a year—the last thing you need is your joint canoeing when you’re doing your best to forget, well, everything. ($9 at neilyoung.warnerrecords.com). FENDER BILLIE EILISH SIGNATURE UKULELE

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you want the groupies, you play the guitar, not the ukulele.” (Gentlemen—that goes for you too). That said, a fun music-biz fact is there are no shortage of folks who’ve embraced Hawaii’s favourite four-stringed instrument as a go-to songwriting tool, including Eddie Vedder, Taylor Swift, and Bruce Springsteen. It’s lightweight and, more importantly, compact, which means you don’t have an extended fight on your hands when it’s time to stuff it into the overhead bin on the Greyhound bus,. Now, thanks to a deal between Fender and mope-pop queen Billie Eilish, the ukulele has scored bonus cool points. Ms. Bad Guy’s signature offering channels her Blohsh art style in a colour best described as “none more black”. Being a Fender, it’s going to cost you more than, say, an immortal Hola! Music uke, but that will be offset by your giftee’s future royalty cheques. (From $388 at fender.com) g


Bahr offers respite from sadness of these times


probably equally surprised when it dawned upon them that they were central characters. After a quick break, Bahr returned as a rough, tough Jewish mother who left Russia many years ago. She claimed that she had previously worked as a political consultant to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. And the interactive comedy continued. When one woman said she was a music teacher, Bahr’s character offered a brusque response: she hoped that this instructor had a ruler with which to bang the kids on the hands. That elicited more laughter. The accents were splendid, including that of her third persona, Moti, the crude and colourful Israeli owner of Moti’s Limousine. As this segment unfolded, people in the audience were sharing stories of their children and their careers. This occurred even as Moti made wisecracks about how antidepressants hurt the libido and how she had never heard of a Presbyterian genius. But Moti also had a considerate side, telling a well-dressed 94-year-old woman that she reminded her of Jackie Onassis. The show evolved into a heartfelt evening of new and old friends, mostly but not all Jewish, sharing details of their lives with the party host. Bahr was the quick-witted ringmaster. But underneath the zaniness, she turned out to be remarkably sweet for trying so hard to forge connections at a time like this. Nobody left with any bruised feelings—just a whole lot of love for Bahr for delivering a delightful one-night departure from the solitude and sadness of the pandemic.


Livestreamed by the Chutzpah! Festival on November 26. No remaining performances

d THE CHUTZPAH! FESTIVAL billed actor and producer’s Iris Bahr’s performance as interactive comedy. And the organizers weren’t kidding. No, there weren’t any hecklers for the Jewish comedian best known for her recurring role on Curb Your Enthusiasm. This online audience was uniformly polite and courteous as Bahr engaged in rapid-fire and uninhibited chatter in the guise of some comedic characters she has created. She began as Rae Lynn Caspar White, speaking from her home in Los Angeles. Rae Lynn is her blonde-mulletted, southern-accented podcaster and self-described intellectual who claims to have had hundreds of sex partners. What unfolded was like any party held on Zoom, except this time the host, Rae Lynn, had no compunctions about urging people to liquor up and blurting out whatever crossed her mind. Tea is a diuretic, she advised at one point. And she didn’t want people running away from their screens to go to the bathroom. One couple connected via Zoom revealed that they had been married since 1961. Another had been together for 45 years.That prompted the following reply from the always colourful Rae Lynn: “If I’m in a relationship longer than 45 minutes, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

Comedian Iris Bahr performed comedy therapy at the Chutzpah! Festival, providing solace to an audience that was stuck at home.

She told a man that he had a “very non-Jewish forehead”. (This was the Chutzpah! Festival, after all.) When one woman said she was from Dayton, Ray Lynn erupted in glee. “Ohio is a destination! There’s Oaxaca! There’s Paris! And there’s Dayton!” As time went on, the audience increasingly loosened up. Bahr’s show wasn’t what I expected—and others were

by Charlie Smith

Super-deluxe box sets: they’re still a thing


by Steve Newton

of the original’s songs, as well as live tracks recorded by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from 1995 to 2017. Who else misses Tom real bad? ($240.32 at amazon.ca.)

ox sets are still a thing. Here are five primo gift choices for those stubborn old rock fans on your list who refuse to go digital and don’t like music unless they can hold it in their hands.



Thin Lizzy A super-deluxe box set featuring 99 Thin Lizzy tracks, 74 of them previously unreleased. The six-CD, one-DVD package was compiled from a collection of newly discovered tapes and boasts numerous demos, radio sessions, live recordings, and rare single edits. The set also includes the hour-long BBC documentary Bad Reputation, tour programs bound into a hard-backed book, Phil Lynott’s poetry, and four prints by Lizzy cover artist Jim Fitzpatrick. ($189.99 at amazon.ca.) STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT

UFO UFO was one of those bands from the ’70s that should have been huge, so here’s good news for those diehard fans still clinging to their worn-out vinyl copies of Phenomenon. Strangers in the Night, the live album from 1979 that was chock-full of Michael Schenker’s stellar guitar wipeouts, has been reissued as an eight-CD deluxe edition. The original

Elton John is one of several aging musicians who’ve put out box sets. Photo by Ernst Vikne.

double disc was compiled from recordings made at six shows on a 1978 American tour, and the new box set includes all six complete concerts for the first time. That means no less than seven versions of “Rock Bottom”, mofos. ($79.21 at amazon.ca.) WILDFLOWERS & ALL THE REST

Tom Petty As if Tom Petty’s 1994 Wildflowers album wasn’t good enough in the first place—and with tunes like “You Don’t Know How it Feels” and “It’s Good to Be King”, we reckon it was—then hardcore Petty fans can revel in this seven-LP deluxe edition (also available in other formats). It includes a plethora of unreleased alternative versions and demos

The Allman Brothers Band Anyone else who’s ever thrilled to the band’s progressive, southern-fried blend of blues, jazz, R & B, and country stylings—driven by the scintillating slide guitar of Duane Allman—may want to consider shelling out for this deluxe vinyl box set. The 10-LP collection—also available as five CDs or digitally— features 61 Allman Brothers Band studio recordings, live performances, and rarities, and it also includes seven previously unreleased tracks. ($419.99 at amazon.ca.) JEWEL BOX

Elton John If you think you’ve heard everything Elton John ever recorded, think again. Jewel Box is an eight-disc box that delves deep into his archive, boasting a vast array of rarities, demos, alternative mixes, and Bsides. Of its 148 songs, spanning the years 1965 through 2019, no less than 60 are previously unreleased. That dude is prolific AF. ($150.54 at amazon.ca.) g

Holiday Sale Gifts that Last a Lifetime

Virtual Art Show

Gallery Open Until Dec 23, 2020 Browse a collection of 200 original paintings from the convenience and safety of your home, and give a gift that lasts a lifetime.

DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

www.nsartists.ca THE GEORGIA STR AIGHT



Whistler Film Fest aims for large virtual audience


by Charlie Smith

ow entering its 20th year, the Whistler Film Festival is going national for the first time. And there’s another first—it’s also going to run for almost three weeks, from December 1 to December 20, rather than the weeklong event that it has been in the past. And because it’s being held virtually, due to the pandemic, the Whistler Film Festival’s 30 features and 67 shorts can be seen from the comfort of people’s homes no matter where they reside in the Great White North. “It’s been an interesting transition from a physical festival where you invite everyone to go up to Whistler,” managing director Angela Heck told the Straight by phone. “The team here has really risen to the challenge.” Like in previous years, this festival will feature conversations with industry leaders. American-Canadian actor Colm Feore will receive the Canadian Icon Award for his career in film and television, which included playing Pierre Trudeau in the miniseries Trudeau and Det. Martin Ward in Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Feore stars in Sugar Daddy, which was directed by Wendy Morgan and which had its world premiere at the festival on opening night. On Wednesday (December 2) at 4 p.m., Feore and costar and writer Kelly McCormack will join CBC broadcaster Eli Glasner in an online discussion as part of the festival’s Talent Talk Series. Heck said that Sugar Daddy’s production crew was entirely female. “The tenets of diversity, equity, and inclusion are baked into how we’re proceeding with all of our programing,” she noted. More than 70 percent of the Whistler Film Festival’s titles are Canadian, which organizers say exceeds any other festival. This year, 56 percent of the movies were made by firsttime filmmakers. And 47 percent were created by women or nonbinary directors. On December 9, Irish actor Gabriel Byrne will speak about his film, Death of a Ladies’ Man, in which he plays a man who loses his

It’s been an interesting transition from a physical festival… – managing director Angela Heck

Whistler Film Festival managing director Angela Heck says that 50 percent of the ticket sales go directly to filmmakers or the rights holders, which will help directors in tough economic times.

mind to the music of Leonard Cohen. Byrne will speak to the Globe and Mail’s Johanna Schneller at 4 p.m. on the same day that the film, directed by Matt Bissonnette, premieres at the festival. Byrne has also been named the winner of the festival’s Maverick Award. That will be followed two days later by Quebec actor Rémy Girard (The Barbarian Invasions), who will be in conversation with the festival’s director of film programming, Paul Gratton, again at 4 p.m. Girard will talk about his new film, You Will Remember Me (Tu Te Souviendras de Moi), which will have its English-language premiere. The festival has granted its Career Achievement Award to Girard, who is a household name in Quebec. And on December 13, Hong Kong– American actor Tzi Ma will be the Talent Talks guest in recognition of his Trailblazer Award. It coincides with the Canadian premiere of his film A Shot Through the Wall. While the celebrities always attract



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plenty of attention at the Whistler Film Festival, Heck is equally proud of the role that it plays in incubating Canadian talent. To cite one example, N’Quatqua First Nation writer-director Allan (A. W.) Hopkins will be premiering his new feature film, Indian Road Trip, at the Whistler Film Festival. It was developed through the festival’s

Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship program, originally as a short film in 2015. “So the news to me is really how the Whistler Film Festival incubates the talent through its talent program and provides the opportunities to meet the decision makers and the people who can greenlight your film and get it made,” she said. Festival patrons can watch any film at any time following its premiere date. They’ll have 24 hours to view it after the purchase is made—all the way until December 31. “All of the proceeds of the films are being shared 50-50 with the directors or the rights holder,” Heck said. “By supporting the Whistler Film Festival, you’re not only getting great curated content, you’re also supporting the filmmakers themselves in these challenging times.” g

Whistler FILM FEST TIP SHEET c MARLENE In Ontario in 1959, Steven Truscott was sentenced to death at age 14 for the rape and death of his female classmate but he was released on parole in 1969—filmmaker Wendy Hill-Tout spotlights the great lengths that his later wife (portrayed by Kristin Booth) pursued to prove his innocence.

WE MAY BE unable to trek across the country but we can still take a crosscountry journey at this year’s Whistler Film Festival, which continues online until December 31. (Photo from Québexit.) c ALL-IN MADONNA This feature directorial debut of Victoria’s Arnold Lim follows 17-year-old Maddie (Melanie Rose Wilson) as she attempts to transition from rural homeschooling to public school—but comes up against the community’s dark perceptions of her family. c THE CORRUPTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE When a missing 16-year-old Métis girl from Frenchspeaking Manitoba reappears with stigmata, religious fanatics descend upon her small town in Jeremy Torrie’s Exorcist-alluding thriller.

c QUÉBEXIT A multilingual Canadian political satire about Quebec declaring its independence from Canada and a face-off at the Quebec–New Brunswick border that, in lieu of gunfire, results in insults being exchanged—you can’t get more Canadian than this. c STILL THE WATER A hockey player, fired from his team, returns to his Prince Edward Island hometown, his two brothers, his abusive father, and their dysfunctional family past in this first feature by writer-director Susan Rodgers. c UNDERGROUND (SOUTERRAIN) When an explosion causes a Quebec mine to collapse, a troubled miner is forced to draw upon his inner resolve to rescue five trapped men in this disaster drama by filmmaker Sophie Dupuis. g


Choosing between renting or buying isn’t so simple Millennials are at an age when they’re expected to be homeowners, but does that guarantee stability?


by Carlito Pablo

ertified financial planner Nico Felipe often hears a common question from his clients: is it better to rent or buy a home? The Vancouver-based coach with the Paper & Coin financial company works mostly with millennials, who are also his peers. He is 25 years old. Even clients who are not interested in buying a home ask this question out of curiosity, Felipe said. “They feel a lot of pressure that they need to own a home,” Felipe told the Straight in a phone interview. Millennials belong to the generation born (generally) between 1981 and 1996. They’re now 24 to 39 years old. “As millennials are at an age when homeownership becomes an expectation, many get ‘house fever’ when they see their friends and family becoming homeowners,” Felipe said. Plus, there is a “misconception that rent is wasted money”, he added. “Fortunately, there is a lot of evidence that support that one’s financial future is not defined by this one decision,” Felipe said. “You can still have a stable financial future being a renter.” He explained that the question is “less about renting versus buying and more about what you are doing with the excess money as a renter”. “How you use that excess money will determine the financial future of young people who choose to rent,” Felipe said. According to the BCIT-educated financial planner, just because one owns a home does not guarantee a stable future. Felipe said he knows homeowners who refinance their mortgage every year to pay off their credit cards and line of credits. “Homeownership has turned into a vanity metric in gauging one’s financial success,” he noted. “Although I may seem like an advocate for renting, I am a huge fan of homeownership. It is a powerful vehicle to create long-term wealth.” As a financial planner, Felipe wants to provide his clients context to show that renting isn’t a waste of money. The Straight asked Felipe to illustrate what happens in a situation involving a $500,000 home on the market. Under current rules, a buyer needs a minimum five percent down payment for a residence of that value or less, which is $25,000. The financial planner went on to add three additional assumptions. It’s a 30-year mortgage. The buyer pays a monthly amortization of $2,000, while the renter pays a rent of $1,500. Lastly, to keep it simple, rent stays the same.

Financial coach Nico Felipe, 25, says that people in his age group feel pressure to buy a home, but he thinks that renting might make more sense for those who prefer flexibility in their careers.

If the renter has $25,000 to start with, Felipe explained, they can invest the money in the stock market, making roughly seven percent with mutual funds or exchangetraded funds. On top of that, they also have an extra $500 per month to invest as their rent is cheaper than the homeowner’s mortgage by that amount. “By the end of the 30 years, the renter will end up with roughly $813,000 in their investment account,” Felipe said. Turning to the homeowner, Felipe said that if the value of the property grew three percent every year, it would be worth about $1.2 million after 30 years. According to him, it may look like the homeowner is the clear winner. However, according to Felipe, there are some variables that many people often overlook. These include ongoing costs that a renter does not have to worry about: property taxes, maintenance and repair costs, potential strata fees, and possible increases in interest rates. “When you consider these extra factors, it makes it a lot more difficult to see which one of the two is the winner,” Felipe said. Felipe has been working as a financial planner since 2016. “As a 25-year-old professional, I have a unique perspective on financial planning for millennials,” he said. Felipe was inspired to go into his profession by the example of his mother, Nicky, who is active in the field of financial planning and credit counselling. “She is such a big part of why I do what I do,” Felipe said. Felipe was four years old when he and his family left the Philippines and settled

in Canada, in 2000. He and his mom often team up to provide financial literacy to newcomers. “We’re big on understanding the challenges of immigrant families,” Felipe said. As to the question of whether to rent or

buy, Felipe said that instead of a blanket answer, it makes better sense to point out situations that suit a particular millennial. On one hand, buying a property is a better option if one values the idea of homeownership and is looking for the asset to appreciate over time. On the other hand, renting makes sense for a young person who prefers flexibility in changing careers and freedom in moving to other places. Felipe said that based on his experience with clients during the past four years, the decision to be a renter or homeowner has little impact on their financial health. “Clients who are stressed and anxious about money before becoming a homeowner are just as, if not more, stressed after becoming a homeowner,” he said. According to him, stress and anxiety have to do more with one’s confidence in making financial decisions. “This confidence comes from our level of financial education and feeling of being in control of your own financial situation,” Felipe said. g




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Long-distance lesbian relationship needs rules by Dan Savage

b I’M A LESBIAN and my girlfriend is bi. I’ve read your column and listened to your podcast for a long time, Dan, and I always thought I’d be fine with having a partner ask me about being monogamish. Then my girlfriend of about a year and a half told me she wants to see what other women are like. She says the thought of me sleeping with other people turns her on, but the prospect of her sleeping with other people only makes me nervous. She came out later, and I’m the only woman she’s been with. I understand that, as a woman, I’ll never be able to give her what she might get from a man sexually and that sometimes she’ll want that, so there’s also

that. We’ve talked about it, and it would have to be a don’t ask–don’t tell agreement: I would also get to step outside the relationship; the other people would have to know we’re in a relationship; and there couldn’t be any “dates”. On top of all that, we’re long distance for now. She says she loves me, and I believe her, and she says she doesn’t want to lose me. But she also says she’s been dealing with these urges for a while and needs to address them. I don’t want to lose her. Do you have any advice? - Fretting Endlessly About Relationship Situation

I understand your fears. People in committed

nonmonogamous relationships have been 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 Anti-Vaccination

My son-in-law is American and does not believe in vaccinating my grandchildren. My daughter will just follow his lead. Every year they go on a 3 to 4 week vacation and this is the time I vaccinate my grandchildren without telling them. I understand what I am doing is wrong but I couldn’t live with myself if my grandchildren got the measles or some other deadly disease. I have to hear this idiot brag about how none of his children got sick because vaccinations are a liberal hoax every single Christmas and Thanksgiving though. I know what I did was wrong but it was so right and I can live with the consequences.

Misunderstanding? I bumped into someone I thought was a friend today who made an excuse not to stop and chat. When she walked away she said “see you around.” I know what that means. It’s too bad people don’t talk things out anymore. Vanishing without a trace is somehow easier than having a conversation. I don’t get it.

Spidey Sense Bad things are a happening. I live in a building near a bunch of other apartment buildings. The number of people I see moving out this month has skyrocketed. I hope it just a coincidence, but I worry this might the start of a new wave of homelessness and poverty.

Life imitates art When I yawn, I make Swedish Chef noises.

Visit 18


to post a Confession DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

All relationships come with a risk that one partner might be attracted to someone else, but sometimes a key to moving on is to accept that reality. Photo by We-Vibe Wow Tech/Unsplash.

known to catch feelings for their outside sexual partners. And although that doesn’t always doom the primary relationship, FEARS, catching feelings for someone else inevitably complicates things. And while a nonmonogamous couple can make rules that forbid the catching of feelings, feelings aren’t easily ruled. But people in closed relationships have been known to catch feelings for people they aren’t sleeping with: i.e., coworkers, friends, friends of friends, partners of friends, siblings of partners, partners of siblings, etcetera. So the risk that a partner might catch feelings for someone else isn’t eliminated when two people make a monogamous commitment—and yet sane, stable, functional people in monogamous relationships manage to get through the day without being nervous wrecks. Because they trust that their partners are committed to them. And even if their partners should develop a crush on someone else, which they almost inevitably will, they trust that their partners aren’t going to leave them—which they still might. By which I mean to say, there’s risk in every relationship and it’s trust that helps us manage our fears about those risks. So if you trust your girlfriend to honour the terms you’ve agreed to—DADT, fucks are okay, dates are not, the other women know she’s taken—and you trust she’s telling the truth when she says she loves you and doesn’t want to lose you, FEARS, then you should choose to believe her. Just like a person in a monogamous relationship chooses to believe their partner when they say they won’t fuck anyone else (even though they might) and won’t leave them for anyone else (even though they could), you can choose to believe your girlfriend will honour the rules you’ve laid out. b I’M AT A bit of a loss. I met a guy that I really like at a nudist resort, of all places. I didn’t realize at the time just how much I was falling for him. He was trying to be more in the

beginning, but I missed some very obvious signs. Hindsight is 20/20. I’m incredibly guarded after growing up in an emotionally abusive household and am still dealing with some trauma after being raped a few years ago. By the time I realized how I felt about him, he surprised me by telling me he had a girlfriend. I was trying to arrange a time to see him after I disappeared for a bit to face some demons from the past. I wanted to tell him how I felt in person. Before I got that chance, he already had a girlfriend. He and I run in the same kinky circles and I ran into them at an event. I actually got a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach, which I didn’t expect. I never told him how I felt about him. I’m happy that he is happy with her, but it hurts, nonetheless. He matters enough to me that I would be content keeping him in my life even if it’s just as a friend. My question is, should I tell him how I feel and risk losing him altogether or do I let him be happy with his girlfriend and not tell him that I fell hard for him? I know he might not reciprocate my feelings. That’s okay if he doesn’t, but the not knowing, I think, hurts more than the truth would. - Hopeless Romantic Nailing The Hopeless Part

knowing hurts more than losing his friendship would—not knowing whether you had a shot with him and blew it—then you should tell him how you feel (or felt) and express regret for missing the obvious signs and disappearing on him. And as painful as it might be hear that he wouldn’t want to be with you even if he were single—and that’s the worst-case scenario—you will get over it and get over him. Best-case scenario, HRNTHP: he had no idea you were into him; he’s not serious about the new girlfriend; and he’d rather date you. Less-than-best-case scenario: he might be willing to date you if 1. things don’t work out with his new girlfriend and 2. you’re still sin-

If the not

see next page

gle at that point. In the meantime, don’t pass on any other opportunities that come your way, and be courteous, polite, and nontoxic when you run into them together at kinky events. b I’M WRITING TO beg you—to implore you— to make some sort of desperate, last-ditch attempt to hold back the tide of linguistic confusion over the word come. Yes, that is the word, readers of Savage Love. It’s come; it’s not cum. The past tense is came, not cummed. (Yes, Dan, people are now saying and typing cummed.) In the past, I’ve been content to merely grumble cantankerously. The final straw

came over the last several months when, while watching a lot of international TV and movies, I noticed—to my horror—that the people responsible for the subtitles are using cum. Yes, the semiliterate usage of online free-porn posters has now polluted the entire planet’s comprehension of this simple English word. I turn to you, DS, to do something about this. To come out loudly and proudly for coming, loudly and proudly. This isn’t just about spelling. It’s about losing the meaning of the word: it signifies an arrival.

gers, refer to their home, affectionately, as “The ’Peg”. You’ve turned any reference to my hometown into a source for snickers amongst the same sort of childish people who use cum. The least you can do, in recompense, is to restore the simple dignity of come. side, COME. I’ve been fighting a lonely battle against cum, cumming, and (shudder) cummed for as long as I’ve been writing this column. I confess to having sinned a few weeks ago when I used the term cumblebrag. But in my defence, that was obviously a pun and—for the record—my onetime use of cum in the service of a joke should

I’m on your

- Canadian Opposes Mangled English

P.S. You owe me one, Dan. I was raised in Winnipeg, whose inhabitants, Winnipeg-

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is looking for Drywall Installers and Finishers. Job location: Greater Vancouver, BC Perm, F/T, wage - $ 28.00 /h. Requirements: Experience 3-4 years, Good English. Education: Secondary school Main duties: Preparation of the drywall sheets for installation; Installation of drywall sheets; Securing of drywall sheets in metal or wooden studs or joists; Filling joints, holes and cracks with joint compound; Applying successive coats of compound, sand seams and joints. Company’s business address: 20448 – 90 Crescent, Langley BC V1M 1A7 Please apply by e-mail: heritagewall@gmail.com

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not be construed as an endorsement of cum. (The eye stumbles over comeblebrag, so it wouldn’t have worked to use come.) As I’ve written before, we don’t have alternate spellings for other words that have both sexual and nonsexual meanings. Seeing as we don’t “suk dik” or “eet pussee”, there’s no earthly reason why we should “cum” on someone else or be “cummed” upon ourselves. P.S. Sorry about that, Winnipeggers. g


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DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020





DECEMBER 3 – 10 / 2020

Profile for The Georgia Straight

The Georgia Straight - Holiday Gift Guide - December 3, 2020  


The Georgia Straight - Holiday Gift Guide - December 3, 2020