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2 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017


DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 3


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NEWS

U.S. president Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants has persuaded thousands of Latin Americans to set their sights on Canada—with many choosing to apply for refugee status in B.C. > BY TR AVIS LUPICK

17

COVER

If you’re stumped over what to buy your friends and loved ones, check out our gift guide—it’s chock-full of local presents that just might save you a trip to a mall.

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Two actors who take on the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge talk about his timeliness in the age of renovictions and corporate greed. > BY ALE X ANDER VART Y

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The Disaster Artist is the worst at its best; there are no duds at 19th Animation Show; Wonder Wheel finds Woody Allen in a spin; porno-cheek arrives with Tom of Finland.

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straight talk “It is for long-term opioid

addicts,” she emphasized. “Having CLEAN DRUGS WILL GO TO LONG-TERM OPIOID ADDICTS said that…that’s not the only group

The province is accelerating an expansion of a controversial program where people who are addicted to opioids receive a clean supply of drugs via the province’s health-care system. In a telephone interview, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions, Judy Darcy, said the goal is to see injectable hydromorphone—a drug very similar to heroin—available in all five of B.C.’s health authorities as soon as possible. “We want to get this life-saving treatment into people’s hands,” she told the Straight. “It’s a critical alternative for people for whom first-line therapies don’t work… and I’m pressing as hard as I can to improve access.” Darcy said she has assigned the task to B.C.’s new Overdose Emergency Response Centre, which was announced for Vancouver General Hospital on December 1. “It’s modelled after a traditional emergency management structure,” she noted. “That’s going to really accelerate everything we’re doing across the board for the overdose crisis.” B.C. is on track for more than 1,400 fatal overdoses this year, according to the latest coroner’s report. That’s up from 981 in 2016 and 519 the year before that. In 2017, more than 80 percent of overdose deaths have been associated with the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Since 2014, a small group of select patients in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have received prescription heroin (diacetylmorphine) or hydromorphone (brand name Dilaudid) via injection at a clinic called Crosstown. Because those drugs are controlled and regulated by the government, they’re guaranteed pure, thus eliminating the risk of a fentanyl overdose. Dr. Patricia Daly is chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and the Overdose Emergency Response Centre’s first executive director and clinical lead. She told the Straight that so far B.C. has only made injectable opioid agonist therapy (iOAT), as its formally known, available to patients who have repeatedly failed with traditional oral treatments such as methadone and Suboxone.

for whom this might be appropriate, in the midst of the opioid crisis.” Because the risks associated with street drugs are now so great, Daly said, B.C. health-care professionals are discussing “lowering the bar” for injectable hydromorphone. (Complicated barriers mean that for now the province is not expanding access to prescription heroin.) “In terms of addressing the current [overdose] crisis, we want to engage people in opioid agonist therapy, and if the only way they are willing to start is injectables, let’s start them that way,” Daly said. Darcy instructed B.C.’s five health authorities to draft injectable opioid agonist therapy plans last October. She said Daly will now be working with the regional care providers to hurry that process along. “Fraser Health has indicated that they have plans under way to have injectables, and Interior Health also wants to offer this. So this is going to be provincial,” Daly said. “And we [Vancouver] only have it in the Downtown Eastside. So even in VCH, we need to make this more broadly available in other places. There are plans under way to do that.” > TRAVIS LUPICK

NDP REVEALS FIRST RULES FOR MARIJUANA SALES

The B.C. government has revealed its first regulations for recreationalcannabis sales. The minimum age for purchasing marijuana in B.C. will be 19, same as it is for tobacco and alcohol. The wholesale distribution of recreational marijuana will be handled by the government’s Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB). Details on how sales to individual consumers will occur won’t come until early 2018. But according to a December 5 release, B.C.’s retail model for cannabis will include “opportunities” for both public and private players. In a news conference the same day, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the province is still considering selling cannabis alongside alcohol. He did not indicate whether or not existing dispensaries that have gone through municipal licensing in Vancouver and Victoria

will be guaranteed a place in the retail framework. The federal government set a deadline of July 2018 for the provinces to draft laws and create systems for the distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. Farnworth has made it clear that a provincial licensing system is not in the cards. > TRAVIS LUPICK AND AMANDA SIEBERT

NEW CITY PLAN GIVES REPRIEVE TO TWO POOLS

The Vancouver park board is expected to make a splash with a new aquatics strategy for the city. Park commissioners will vote Monday (December 11) on the strategy and its 10-year plan that calls for three new indoor swimming pools and one outdoor pool. Since the completion of the Hillcrest Aquatic Centre as a legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, there has not been another public pool built in the city. The plan provides for: the replacement of the neighbourhood pool at the Britannia Community Centre with a bigger one at an estimated cost of $35 million; a new citywide-destination pool at Connaught Park for $75 million; and construction of a replacement for the Vancouver Aquatic Centre for $70 million. Under VanSplash: Vancouver Aquatics Strategy, the plan postpones consideration of an earlier recommendation to demolish the Templeton and Lord Byng pools. With the plan to be considered by the board on December 11, the development of a bigger pool at Britannia will be completed first before consideration of whether or not theTempleton pool is still needed. The city will also wait for the completion of the new pool at Connaught Park before deciding on what to do with the Lord Byng pool. South Vancouver will get a new outdoor pool under the plan. According to a staff report, it may be located either at the Killarney Community Centre or the Marpole Community Centre. The plan also calls for upgrades to the Kensington pool, with an estimated cost of $2 million to $4 million. Also included in VanSplash are upgrades to outdoor pools and changing rooms at beaches. > CARLITO PABLO

The Georgia Straight | Vancouver’s News and Entertainment Weekly | Volume 51 Number 2604 1635 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1W9 www.straight.com Phone: 604-730-7000 / Fax: 604-730-7010 / e-mail: gs.info@straight.com Display Advertising: 604-730-7020 / Fax: 604-730-7012 / e-mail: sales@straight.com Classifieds: 604-730-7060 / e-mail: classads@straight.com Subscriptions: 604-730-7000 Distribution: 604-730-7087 EDITOR + PUBLISHER Dan McLeod ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Yolanda Stepien GENERAL MANAGER Matt McLeod EDITOR Charlie Smith SECTION EDITORS

Janet Smith (Arts/Fashion) Mike Usinger (Music) Steve Newton (Time Out) Adrian Mack (Movies) Brian Lynch (Books) Amanda Siebert (Cannabis) EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATOR Doug Sarti ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Gail Johnson, John Lucas, Alexander Varty STAFF WRITERS

Tammy Kwan, Lucy Lau, Travis Lupick, Carlito Pablo, Craig Takeuchi, Kate Wilson SENIOR EDITOR Martin Dunphy EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jennie Ramstad PROOFREADER Pat Ryffranck CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Gregory Adams, Nathan Caddell, David Chau, Jack Christie, Jennifer Croll, Ken Eisner (Movies), George Fetherling, Tara Henley, Michael Hingston, Ng Weng Hoong, Alex Hudson, Kurtis Kolt,

Robin Laurence (Visual Arts), Mark Leiren-Young, John Lekich, Amy Lu, Bob Mackin, Michael Mann, Rose Marcus, Beth McArthur, Verne McDonald, Allan MacInnis, Guy MacPherson, Tony Montague, Kathleen Oliver, Ben Parfitt, Vivian Pencz, Bill Richardson, Gurpreet Singh, Jacqueline Turner, Andrea Warner, Jessica Werb, Stephen Wong, Alan Woo CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Alfonso Arnold, Rebecca Blissett, Trevor Brady, Louise Christie, Emily Cooper, Randall Cosco, Krystian Guevara, Evaan Kheraj, Kris Krug, Tracey Kusiewicz, Kevin Langdale, Shayne Letain, Matt Mignanelli, Mark “Atomos” Pilon, Carlo Ricci, William Ting, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward DIGITAL PRODUCT MANAGER

Chet Woodside LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Jeffrey Li WEB DEVELOPER Tina Luu (On Leave) JUNIOR WEB DEVELOPER Riva Ridley WEB ADMINISTRATOR Miles Keir

ART DEPARTMENT MANAGER

Janet McDonald

SENIOR DESIGNER David Ko PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Mike Correia PRODUCTION

K.T. Dean, Sandra Oswald

AD SERVICES ASSOCIATE

Jon Cranny

DIRECTOR OF ARTS AND SPONSORSHIP

Laura Moore SALES DIRECTOR

Tara Lalanne

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES

Glenn Cohen, Robyn Marsh, Manon Paradis, David Pearlman, Calvin Rasode, Catherine Tickle

CONTENT AND MARKETING SPECIALIST

Tori Macnab ADVERTISING + PROMOTION ASSISTANTS

Maya Keeven (On Leave), Ahlia Moussa

ADVERTISING ASSISTANT

Johnnie Smart CIRCULATION MANAGER

Dexter Vosper

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR

Dennis Jangula

CREDIT MANAGER Shannon Li ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR

Tamara Robinson

The Georgia Straight is published every Thursday by the Vancouver Free Press Publishing SUBMISSIONS The Straight accepts no responsibility for, and will not Corp. Copies are distributed free every week throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, North necessarily respond to, any submitted materials. All submissions should be and West Vancouver, New Westminster, and Richmond. International Standard Serial addressed to contact@straight.com. Number ISSN 0709-8995. Subscription rates in Canada $182.00/52 issues (includes GST), $92.00/26 issues (includes GST); United States $379.00/52 issues, $205.00/ 26 issues; foreign $715.00/52 issues, $365.00/26 issues. Contact 604-730-7087 if you wish to distribute free copies of the Georgia Straight at your place of business. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Vancouver Free Press, Best Of Vancouver, BOV And Golden Plates Are Trade-Marks Of Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp.

Celebrate the Georgia Straight’s

50th Anniversary with a limited edition Bob Masse poster! Available for a limited time and is signed by the artist Bob Masse and Georgia Straight’s publisher Dan Mcleod Visit straight.com/shop to buy the poster V DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 11


NEWS

Fleeing Donald Trump’s xenophobic America Many refugees are seeking asylum in Canada rather than in the United States, but this country’s policies don’t make that easy > BY TRAVIS L UPICK

A

ntonio Mejia travelled more than 7,500 kilometres to get to Vancouver. By train, by bus, and some of it on foot. For one stretch, he waded through water, across the Rio Grande under the cover of night. “I worked for the police department, in El Salvador,” Mejia began, recounting his journey in an interview with the Georgia Straight. Many years ago, in 1999, he sent a member of the notorious MS-13 gang to prison. When that man was released in 2009, he wanted payback, Mejia said. In the years in between, he had gotten married and fathered two children. He had no desire to go a second round with MS-13. Mejia left the police force and his family relocated from Soyapango, a suburb east of the capital of San Salvador, to Santa Tecla, on its far west. The death threats ceased. But one day the gang came for his eldest son. “Now the banditos were trying to recruit my kid,” Mejia said. “We’re all going to leave,” he told his wife. In 2015, the couple and their children fled El Salvador for Guatemala. Mejia continued north, to look for work in America. For two years, he found odd jobs, first in Texas and then California, trying to establish a new life in the United States. Then came November 8, 2016. “When Trump won, everything changed,” Mejia said, interviewed with the assistance of a translator. “There was no way I was ever going to get legal status there,” he explained. “There was never going to be a fair decision. So I began to prepare everything to leave.”

Antonio Mejia sought legal status in the U.S., but he says Donald Trump’s election made that impossible. Travis Lupick photo.

Mejia is part of a wave of Latin American people who are fleeing the United States for Canada. During the first 10 months of 2017, the RCMP intercepted roughly 17,000 immigrants who crossed the border on foot. That compares to 2,486 interceptions the previous year, according to data supplied by the federal police force. The vast majority of that activity has been in Quebec. There, the influx

occurred so fast that in August, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium was converted into a temporary shelter and people were forced to sleep there on cots. But B.C. has also experienced a sharp increase in refugee claims. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), from 2011 to 2016 there were an average of 142 asylum claims filed annually at B.C. land ports. Then,

persecution in Mejia’s home country of El Salvador jumped 208 percent, to a projected 752 (based on the year’s first nine months of data). From Mexico, they rose 394 percent, to 1,235. And yet those jumps are nothing compared to that of Haiti. From 2016 to 2017, asylum claims for the impoverished Caribbean nation leapt from 631 to a projected 8,332—an increase of 1,220 percent. Finally, refugee claims where a person alleged persecution in the United States have also risen sharply, by 574 percent this year, from 129 in 2016 to a projected 869 in 2017. A major factor behind these increases is Donald Trump. Since an earthquake devastated much of Haiti in 2010, some 59,000 Haitians have resided legally in America under a designation called temporary protected status (TPS). Through 2017, there grew increasing speculation that the Trump administration would cease renewing those people’s legal papers. Then, on November 20, fears were confirmed. “The Trump administration has given nearly 60,000 Haitians with provisional legal residency in the United States 18 months to leave,” reads a report in the Washington Post. In addition to Haiti, there are similar TPS classifications for people living in the U.S. who are originally from Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. If the Trump administration decides to end those arrangements as well, the number of people forced to leave America would number more than 400,000. How many might head north is anybody’s guess.

during the first 10 months of 2017, there were 275. A different set of statistics—national figures compiled by IRCC— details where these people are coming from. It shows that asylum claims from several Latin American countries have skyrocketed ON JUNE 16, 2015, a developover just the last year. From 2016 to 2017, asylum er turned reality-television star see next page claims where the individual alleged

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descended on an escalator at Trump Tower in New York City and officially announced his bid for president of the United States. Trump had built his political career nagging Barack Obama to release his birth certificate. It was an openly racist suggestion that America’s first black president was illegitimate. Trump’s 2017 campaign launched on a similar note. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” the billionaire said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems.… They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” After he was inaugurated on January 20, 2017, Trump followed through on xenophobic policies he had promised during the campaign. He tried and is still trying to ban travel to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries. His Justice Department is investigating Harvard University for using affirmative action in deciding admissions and he has signalled other institutions could soon be next. In San Diego, prototypes for a new border wall stand 30 feet, and Trump has said that one of them will be selected for construction along the 3,000-kilometre border that separates America from Mexico. Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are conducting nationwide sweeps of undocumented immigrants, deploying checkpoints throughout southern states, and arresting people at schools and hospitals. Thousands are being deported. Mejia said he felt it all coming. “When Donald Trump began to get popular support, I knew that I couldn’t stay in the United States,” he recalled. “I’ve lived the racism there.” In May 2017, Mejia crossed the border from the United States into Canada. “And I put in a refugee claim,” he said. Harsha Walia is an author and activist with No One Is Illegal (NOII), an immigrant-support network that’s active in Vancouver. In a telephone interview, she said the RCMP and IRCC statistics match what she’s observed anecdotally. For example, Walia pointed to a NOII phone number that people can call for information and advice. “And since December, there was a huge uptick in folks calling from the U.S.,” she said. Walia estimated that calls specifically from undocumented immigrants living in the United States increased from one or two a month to more than 10 a week. She added they’ve remained at that higher volume for months now. “People are saying, ‘I’m from this country of origin, I’ve been living in the U.S. for 20 years, but it’s no longer safe for me here,’ ” Walia continued. “Everyone says it’s Trump. Everyone says, ‘I no longer feel safe living in the United States. I don’t know what to expect. I need to leave before it gets worse.’ ” Along with Trump, Walia argued that part of the blame falls on his Canadian counterpart: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On January 27, 2017, Trump signed an executive order that said “extreme vetting” would henceforth apply against refugees and all immigrants hoping to relocate to America. One day later, a message went out over Trudeau’s Twitter account. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith,” it reads. “Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada”. Walia said the problem with that message is an arrangement between Canada and the United States called the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA). It states that an individual claiming refugee status in either country must do so in the first country they reach. If someone who claims persecution in Haiti, for example, travels through the United States and then files an asylum claim at the border crossing at Surrey, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is instructed by the

terms of the STCA to transfer that individual to U.S. authorities. “People thought they could just come and claim asylum because of all the false propaganda that Trudeau was putting out,” Walia said. “We were like, ‘No!’ It was really worrying because there are many people who did that.” The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Canada Border Services Agency both declined to grant an interview. Jenny Kwan is the MP for Vancouver East and NDP critic for multiculturalism, immigration, refugees, and citizenship. She told the Straight that the STCA combined with Trudeau’s warm rhetoric on refugees is why there has been such a sharp increase in illegal border crossings. “It’s all very well and fine for the prime minister to imply on social media that Canada will step up and help,” Kwan said via phone. “But, in reality, we haven’t done the work to reflect that sentiment.” Kwan said that’s why she’s spent 11 months now calling for Canada to withdraw from the STCA. “Canada can no longer have confidence that the American refugee system is providing a safe haven for those who face persecution,” she said last January in the House of Commons. “Suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement,” Kwan repeated in her interview with the Straight, “so that people are not forced to cross through these irregular crossings, risking life and limb.” She criticized the Liberal government for refusing to debate the idea. “Our prime minister and our minister of immigration have persisted to say that nothing has changed since Trump has been elected,” Kwan said. “I think everyone else knows that things have changed, and changed quite drastically.…The president himself is acting to normalize discrimination and fanning hate and fear. If you’re an immigrant or from an ethnic minority, you feel targeted.” CRUZ WORKS with a Vancouver-based immigrant-support group called Sanctuary Health. He told the Straight he’s observed a rise in requests for assistance similar to what Walia described. “We have seen an increase of families and individuals who are coming from the United States,” he said. “Last week, I met with 17. And most of them crossed the border in the last six months.” Cruz noted there are many programs and services available to newcomers to the Lower Mainland, but he added that refugees often face additional challenges and lack extra support. “No one wants to give them a place to live,” he said. “As soon as the word refugee comes, they hear, ‘No, we cannot give you housing.’ They think that they will not be able to pay. And of course a refugee claimant doesn’t have references. And people are racist toward them.” One organization that does offer services specifically for asylum claimants who land in B.C. is the Inland Refugee Society. But its executive director, Mario Ayala, told the Straight that the recent increase in demand has stretched the group thin. Like Cruz, Ayala said that housing is the most pressing concern. “We have a network of churches, organizations, and other housing providers. We even have an account with Airbnb. But, at this point, everything is full,” he said. Ayala asked for empathy. “In El Salvador right now, they are killing police,” he said. “The police are being killed and there is no safe place for them to live.” Ayala emphasized that refugees who end up in the Unites States are often there not by choice, but necessity. “And now they are fleeing the United States, because they fear Trump will implement new policies against immigrants,” he said. “Because they are afraid of the words of the president.” -

BYRON

DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 13


How to beat the winter blues this Christmas (This article is sponsored by Pranin Organic.)

I

f Hallmark movies are to be believed, the holiday season is a time to spend with loved ones, attend parties, fall in love, exchange gifts, eat, drink, and be merry. But if you’re reading this and feeling more fear than cheer, you are not alone. Suddenly, the invitations to social commitments that we accepted weeks ago are here, looming over us as we madly try to finish the proposal that we promised our boss back in October. On top of our usual 24/7 lifestyle, the winter months can be overwhelming. At a time when the days are shortest and our to-do lists are longest, we are expected at the peak of our social prowess. If we had a cent for every time someone told us we looked tired, we’d be rich, which, as it happens, would be extremely useful at this time of year. Our credit card bill is mounting by the day. It’s exhausting. And yet, when it comes to nighttime, we find ourselves staring at the ceiling with a thousand things running through our heads. It’s not until we hear the harsh ring of our alarm the next morning that we’ve found our ability to sleep. But we get up, wrap up, put our heads down, take a deep breath, and walk through the door. Again. It’s a vicious cycle. So with all of this stress, we find ourselves reaching for coffee, sugar, and fast food. And that’s just to get through the working day. Then it’s straight to the after-party where we’re lurking around the kitchen so that we can be the first to get our hands on the canapés, which we’ll wash down with a glass of wine. While we allow ourselves these indulgences in the hope it will make us feel better, we are actually making things worse.

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According to Dr. David Wang, who has been practising naturopathic medicine for over 25 years, there is an epidemic of stress, fatigue, and inflammation. He describes this as the “Human Energy Crisis” and it’s a result of long-term nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Wang tells us, “There are all these people whom I call ‘vertically ill’. They are not quite sick enough to be carted away horizontally to the ER department, but they are looking for answers. And many of these health issues can be reversed by good nutrition and by taking full advantage of the healing powers of nature through food.” After graduating from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1992, Dr. Wang spent 17 years treating people suffering from chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, digestive disorders, and autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.

But when he saw the strange and often negative effects like nausea, vomiting, and headaches that came with traditional vitamin and mineral pills, he questioned the cause. His research into how these “nutrients” were made shocked him. First of all, isolated vitamins do not exist in nature, so our bodies weren’t designed to use these isolates. In fact, we need a combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and, phytonutrients—all components of food—to best absorb nutrients. Synthetic supplements can also contain a scary list of toxic ingredients, which are processed with chemicals and can cause horrible side effects. Upon making these realizations, Dr. Wang immediately switched over to 100 percent whole-food nutrients and saw remarkable results. From there, Pranin Organic was born.

The philosophy behind Pranin Organic is rooted in a firm belief in the transformative power of pure, organic food to make the world a healthier, happier place. For that reason, Pranin Organic’s supplements are unique, expert blends of 100 percent organic fruits, vegetables, and superfoods. Unlike other vitamins and supplements, Pranin Organic supplements use only organic, nontoxic ingredients that are nutrient-dense and better for the planet. You can also rest easy—literally—in knowing that they don’t contain pesticides, capsules, fillers, binders, or synthetically derived nutrients. And they are free from common allergens like dairy, soy, corn, nuts, and gluten. At this time of year, it’s crucial that we’re giving our bodies the nutrients we need, especially when we realize

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that our adrenal glands and our hormones work in alignment with the planetary cycle, or more specifically, the sun. Physiologically, we should be awake when the sun comes up and then at the end of the day we should be trying to unplug and allow our bodies to relax. Dr. Wang recommends going for a gentle walk, meditating, or doing yoga. And before you think you’re doing all that already, squeezing in a quick moment of “Namaste” between picking up the kids from soccer practice and after-work parties, is not enough. In fact, he recommends that between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m., we should be making a conscious effort to limit our screen time and indulge in some self-care instead. Dr. Wang also suggests adding the Pranin Organic “PureFood trio” to your routine comprising of the PureFood A to Z, PureFood B and PureFood C supplements. The PureFood A to Z supplement can be taken as a foundational nutrient that has all the essential vitamins and minerals. So if you’re taking one scoop of the PureFood A to Z in your daily smoothie, water, or juice, then you’re getting a good portion of the fruits and vegetables are that are needed to fight against the most common-onset diseases in North America. Ultimately, Dr. Wang is passionate about what he does because he wants us to feel better. “To me, the Pranin Organic approach is about education and it’s about using key, foundational vitamins and minerals that are absorbable, and that are going to give people the long-term sustainable energy that they’re looking for.” -

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$ There will be 22 choirs singing in the streets of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood on Thursday (December 7) evening as part of an annual holiday tradition.

Yule Duel carols bring Gastown holiday cheer > BY C A RL ITO PA BLO

W

hen it comes to setting the holiday mood, few things beat the sound of Christmas songs. This is why Gastown is a good place to be when the largest outdoor carolling competition in Vancouver returns for its third year on Thursday (December 7). With 22 choirs performing on Water Street, Yule Duel promises to spark that magical feeling that makes this time of the year a season of wonders. “It’s a wonderful event for family, for friends, for people who just want to hear some great songs. It’s a good launch to Christmas,” Leanore Sali, executive director of the Gastown Business Improvement Society, told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. Yule Duel is also an opportunity for the public to contribute to a worthy cause. Proceeds from the choral competition will go to May’s Place, a hospice in the Downtown Eastside run by the Bloom Group Community Services Society. For $5, spectators can purchase a ballot to vote for their favourite choir. They can buy as many ballots as they want. The two choirs that receive the most ballots will duel on the main stage for the people’schoice award. The winner will be decided by audience applause. Even before the event, participating choirs started to raise funds online for May’s Place, a six-bed hospice that provides care for people with mental-health issues and addictions. The choir that raises the most money gets the right to be among those that will showcase their vocal abilities on-stage later in the night. “For us, it’s about sharing, giving back to the community,” Sali said.

The idea for Yule Duel was suggested to the Gastown business association by the Bloom Group, a nonprofit that has been delivering social services in the Downtown Eastside since 1961. The event starts at Maple Tree Square at 6 p.m. with the Jen Hodge All Stars warming things up with lively versions of traditional tunes like “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”. It will be the first time that Vancouver bass player and musical arranger Hodge’s jazz band will play as guest performer at Yule Duel. According to Sali, this year will also be a fi rst for two medical choirs entering the competition. These are the Songcology, which is composed of health-care professionals from the B.C. Cancer Agency, and the UBC Med Choir of medical and dental students. Other choirs are coming back, like the Notre Dame Platinum Girls, a group of high-school students who won the most-creative-performance award in 2016. Also returning is Sweet Scarlet, a Vancouver ensemble of six women that won last year’s people’s-choice award. While that is determined by spectators, a panel of judges selects the winners of the most-creative and bestvocal awards. Judges include Morna Edmundson, cofounder and artistic director of the Vancouver-based Elektra Women’s Choir, and Michael Boucher, SFU director of cultural programs and partnerships. “Yule Duel is all about the gift of music,” Sali said. With the weather forecast predicting no rain on December 7, Sali is positive that it’s going to be a perfect evening for the Gastown event, which wraps up at 9 p.m. Sali said: “It’s a great place to be on the street at that time of night and listen to these beautiful voices.” -

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DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 15


HOUSING

Renters of Vancouver: “I loved that property” > B Y KATE WIL SON

Renters of Vancouver takes an intimate look at how the city’s residents are dealing with the housing crisis. Tenants choose to remain nameless when sharing their stories.

“I

’ve been living in a property in East Van for eight-and-ahalf years. The landlord when I moved in was fantastic. I was a single dad with a seven-year-old son. Along with a person who was recently forced to leave a very bad relationship, and a couple with a three-month-old child, we formed a really great community together. Now the landlord has to sell the property, and the new owners have chosen to evict me. “For a period of seven years, the landlord didn’t raise the rent once. Last year, he had to, and it was really hard for him. Through his business, he had been audited by the CRA. They said he was perhaps trying to keep his income at a lower tax bracket by not increasing our payments, and therefore that he was skirting some laws. They said that he could either be heavily audited by them, or he could raise the rent to the market value. He told me that he was thinking of fighting it. He said he felt like he had a moral obligation to give a single father an opportunity to raise a son. In the end, he was advised by the CRA, his lawyer, and his accountant not to take on the battle, because it would be hard on his business. So he very begrudgingly raised the rent for the first time—but only 3.7 percent. “In October, we got a letter from him saying that due to the new stress test for all mortgages coming in, he’d have to sell the property. We had an open house on the Thursday, and within two weeks, possession had passed to a new owner. Our landlord made it a condition of sale that the buyer would respect our long-standing commitment to the community we had built

This single father was telling his son that they were being evicted when the landlords knocked on the door. Kate Wilson photo.

and that none of us would be displaced. He even took less money for the place in exchange for that assurance. “The buyer went back on that agreement almost immediately after closing. By the end of that week, they said that their son and daughter-inlaw would be moving into one of the suites and asked us whether we were prepared to pay between 30 and 40 percent more rent. That was a shock. Aided by the realtor, they tried to divide and conquer our community and throw us into a bidding war that pitted us against each other to stay. “We weren’t going to do that. We jokingly call the place the Miller Mansion Compound, and it’s what I consider to be an incredible culture of sharing. We sit on each other’s porches; we have drinks; we talk; we have dinners; and we all have

a very high respect for each other. I couldn’t look at the two new parents and their newborn in the eye and say that my interests were more important than theirs. “We all wanted to maintain our community, so we had a dinner to discuss our strategy and our rights. We confirmed that as a group we’d say no to their demands. Not an hour into the meal, everyone got a phone call from the new landlords. None of us picked up. But within 50 minutes of everyone leaving and going back to their homes, we got a knock at a door from them, asking if we’d decided to agree to their rent increases and sign a new lease. They said that because of their time line, they needed us to make a decision within two or three days. We said that we needed a bit more time

to think about whether to negotiate the price increase or learn what our rights were or look for a new place. “On Sunday morning, I got the email telling me that I was the one who was going to be evicted. My son was coming home with his mother from Victoria. They arrived at 2:30, and at 2:35 the landlords drove from White Rock again to knock on my door. I was very stern when I saw them. I was literally in the process of breaking the news to my son that we wouldn’t be living there anymore. I asked them to please leave us alone. I shut the door pretty hard, sat down, and then got back up and said: ‘You can’t just show up at my door. Please call or email in advance.’ “I loved that property. When I first moved in, it was a rough place. In 25 days, I painted almost every square

inch of the home. I tried to respect the integrity of the historical space, so I didn’t do it in a modern way. I picked colours that went with the theme of the house and its history. With the help of my mother, I transformed the entire frontage of the property. It is probably the single most lovely home that has reflected who I am as a person. “I met my partner eight years ago, and we could have moved in with each other then. We decided not to so that we didn’t disrupt our kids’ routines. Her son was still attending his school, and I wanted my son to grow up like I did, right across the street from his elementary school and 50 feet from the high school. We’ve been very lucky. “My partner and I are happy that we’re now going to live together— it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time—but we always hoped to make that move on our own terms. Right now, her twobedroom place isn’t big enough for the four of us. The real human impact is that I won’t get to see my son for a week on and a week off now. I may see him a quarter of the time that I used to. That’s the hard piece for me, because I love my son—even though he’s a teenager. We’re trying to make the best of it, but there’s this absolute feeling of powerlessness. You think you have a little bit of control as a renter, but really there’s very little. “The sale was handled so poorly from the beginning. It was just a transaction for the new owners. We went from our last landlord, who was such a wonderful person, to people only concerned about the money. The other tenants and I have decided that I will write a letter on behalf of us all to the realty board to complain about what we consider to be unethical behaviour. We want to prevent this from happening to someone else.” -

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778-786-0977 16 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017


GIFT GUIDE

Clockwise from left, Paperbacknote Archie gift set; Russell Hackney Ceramics half-litre jug (Peter Williamson photo); MushAppreciated pendant (Dylan Hamm photo); Beauty Secrets of Japan soap.

Local makers get crafty at seasonal affairs ingredients for her skin care,” she tells the Straight by phone. “And she ith an abundance used to make soaps, too.” of holiday markets Employing traditional methods happening between that have been passed down in her now and Christmas, family, Mizutani makes soaps, bath there’s one less reason to hit the bombs, and face and body oils under busy, bloated, and borderline un- the apt name Beauty Secrets of Japan bearable malls this time of year. In from plant-based components like fact, we’re advocates of shopping for revitalizing yuzu (Japanese citrus much of your gift list at locally pro- fruit), exfoliating azuki (red bean), duced fairs, where you can discover and hydrating sake kasu (leftover lees hundreds of talented craftspeople, from sake production). Each lathery support the city’s creative commun- object is labelled with Japanese cality, and find a one-of-a-kind present ligraphy, which Mizutani writes herin one fell swoop. Not sure where self. “This is what I love the most,” she to start? From Japanese seaweed- says. “Every process that I do, from infused soaps to mushroom-encased combining the oils to finishing my jewellery (yes, really), here are a few packaging, everything I just love.” of our favourite makers we’re watchFor Make It! Vancouver, which ing for—and where to find them— takes place from Thursday to Sunday on the seasonal pop-up circuit. (December 7 to 10) at the PNE Forum (2901 East Hastings Street), the soapBEAUTY SECRETS OF JAPAN Lo- maker will be stocking Beauty Secrets cal soap-maker Mami Mizutani’s of Japan’s entire line (from $4), which products stand out from their mass- uses ingredients such as green tea, produced counterparts in every soybean, and Japanese basil, too. way. Instead of the conventional rectangular or oval shape, they take PAPERBACKNOTE At first glance, the form of a neat circle; rather than Paperbacknote’s signature workwhite, they’re shaded in colours books seem like any old tome, but like pink, black, and jade green; flip through the pages and you’ll find and in lieu of harmful chemicals a blank slate waiting to bear all sorts and additives, they’re crafted using of notes, doodles, and ideas. Run by all-natural elements such as cherry local architects Herman Kao and blossoms, bamboo charcoal, and Helen Pang, the company upcycles seaweed—many of them sourced paperbacks into covert notebooks from Mizutani’s homeland of Japan. that carefully retain the original and “Ever since I was a little girl, my often hard-to-find covers. “It’s kind grandma was only using those natural of about that nostalgia and also the > BY L UC Y LA U

W

are awash in muted shades of grey, blue, and taupe—hues easily discernible around Hackney’s Bowen Island dwelling—while the clean line where the glaze meets the porcelain is a calming interpretation of the shoreline. “The style is sort of a relaxed elegance, very West Coast,” the artist explains by phone. “I wanted something very simple that you might find at the weekend cabin.” The laid-back feel is a decided departure from Hackney’s past pieces, which were characterized by a slick all-white palette and embossment techniques that left fantastical illustrations of owls, bears, and deer stamped on vases, lanterns, and churns. As minimalist as Cabin Vibe is in comparison, however, the collection still boasts the refinement and handcraftsmanship that have come to characterize Hackney’s work. At Shiny Fuzzy Muddy, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday (December 9 and 10) at Heritage Hall (3102 Main Street), the ceramist will be on site with his full Cabin Vibe series (from $42), which includes half-litre pitchers, mugs, and RUSSELL HACKNEY CERAMICS a category of items he’s especially Local maker Russell Hackney was fond of, teapots. You can also find born and raised in England’s pottery the vessels at the Craft Council of industry, where he began following in B.C. (1386 Cartwright Street). the footsteps of his ceramist father and grandfather at an early age, but it’s his MUSHAPPRECIATED Think jeweladopted home of B.C. that’s reflected lery, and sparkling gemstones, beautiful beading, and delicate brilliantly in his latest collection. Dubbed Cabin Vibe, the line’s gold and sterling silver bands likely functional jugs, canisters, and bowls come to mind. But Talya Florian’s reuse of an old product,” says Pang. The two source pre-loved books— which range from classic George Orwell and Jane Austen titles to more contemporary names like Harry Potter and the Archie comics—from friends and thrift stores. The pages are then replaced with blank ones, the edges neatly trimmed before they’re sold. Kao and Pang have even begun fashioning the paperbacks’ sheets into paper ornaments and coasters to reduce waste. At Got Craft?, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday (December 9 and 10) at the Maritime Labour Centre (1880 Triumph Street), you’ll find an assortment of notebooks (from $25) with covers spanning genres such as sci-fi, mystery, and teen, plus titles like Star Wars and The Handmaid’s Tale, which, according to Pang, have seen a spike in popularity in recent years thanks to television and cinematic adaptations. “It’s so fun to kind of see multiple versions of the same cover that have gone through different lives with different owners,” she adds.

HYPERLOCAL GIFTS FOR DIE HARD VANCO U V E RITE S Yes, Vancouver has its fair share of prob-

ing just one of them—but the holidays are all about recognizing and appreciating what you have (and by extension, where you live), right? Plus, we all know at least one born-and-raised Vancouverite or staunch West-Coast-BestCoaster who would rather die than relocate even a few kilometres outside the temperate, pot-friendly, and lush metropolis they call home. If anything, the below items—many of them designed or produced right here in B.C.—make an apt memento for those planning their departure in the New Year. (Just keepin’ it real.) It’s not quite as sizable as Ken Lum’s Monument for East Vancouver, which glows at the corner of Clark Drive and East 6th Avenue, but Vancouver Christmas Ornament’s East Van Cross ($20) is just as striking. Crafted from blown glass and hand-painted to capture every distinct detail, the decorative piece offers evergreens a tough, I-came-up-on-thestreets edge. Find it at Bird on a Wire Creations (2535 Main Street).

> BY LUCY LAU

chain ($60) offers a more subtle way to show your love to Vancouver. Produced by local accessories label Maple Co., the made-inCanada patch is inscribed with the words Great Northern Lodge and a drop-in-anymailbox postage guarantee seen on vintage room rings. Find it at Haven (52 East Cordova Street).

2 lems—astronomical housing prices be-

CROSS MY HEART

Celebrate the city with a blown-glass trinket from Vancouver Christmas Ornaments.

post with “#westcoastbestcoast”—comes a collection of equally minimal “Home is Vancouver” threads designed to inspire pride in B.C. dwellers. Check out the taupe crewneck ($64.99) for men and women, which goes swimmingly with the region’s decidedly lowkey steeze. Find it at Front & Company (3772 PHONE HOME From the people who brought Main Street). you those “Toronto vs. Everybody” shirts that anyone who spends even five waking minutes ROOM SERVICE Modelled after traditionin Hogtown seems to acquire—yes, includ- al room keys typically found at mountain ing your one friend who captions every Insta lodges on the West Coast, this leather key-

MushAppreciated bling showcases a slightly more natural and offbeat element: freshly picked fungi, their caps and soil-stained stems frozen in various stages of decay. A local jewellery-maker of eastern European descent—a group among which foraging is the norm—Florian sees a beauty in mushrooms that, according to her, often goes underappreciated by the masses. “I find there’s a huge taboo around them,” she says. “People don’t understand them or they immediately think of psychedelics.” Depending on the species, mushrooms can help treat contaminated soil and water, she explains, and produce natural dyes. Some may also act as detoxifiers, boosting health in the human body. It’s these qualities that Florian strives to bring to light through her mushroom pendants, which feature fungi encased in ecofriendly resin surrounded by a reclaimed-wood frame. From tiny red-capped russulas to classes of tubaria, the bottoms of which grow to form intricate, gill-like patterns, the plants are hand picked by Florian around town. At the inaugural Weirdos Holiday Market, which takes place on December 16 and 17 at Betamax Art Studios (2244 East Hastings Street), you can browse these pendants (from $30)—many of them enclosed in asymmetrical woods—as well as a handful of earrings, prints, and fungus-identification books for the curious. -

OFF THE GRID For the graphic-design nerds

on your list, there’s Typecart’s Greater Vancouver map ($22.50). Combining the arts of ty pography and cartography, the locally founded group produces maps that illustrate neighbourhoods using a rainbow of fonts, sizes, and colours. The collective also makes prints devoted to icons such as the much loved and loathed Vancouver Special. Find it at LonCITY IN COLOUR Vancouver’s most vibrant don Fields Shoppe (692 East Hastings Street). neighbourhoods get even brighter—thanks to your choice of crayon, pencil crayon, or mark- HEAD TO HEAD A gift guide dedicated to er—in Pender Gai Books’ locally illustrated Vancouver-centric items wouldn’t be comcolouring book ($15) inspired by the people, plete without something from local apparel places, and things that make our city unique. biz Vancity Original. The streetwear shop is Depicted areas include Kitsilano, Commercial known mostly for its red, black, and white Drive, and Chinatown, while Science World, Vancity logo caps and Ts, but we’re especially the West End’s A-maze-ing Laughter statue, fond of the leather-patch beanie ($30), which and the SeaBus also make appearances. Find displays the familiar graphic in a slightly elevated way that keeps your noggin warm. Find it at Paper-Ya (9–1666 Johnston Street). it at Vancity Original (819 Hornby Street). LIGHT UP You’ve likely seen Vancouver Candle Co.’s neighbourhood lights around TOWEL OFF Prove your allegiance to Vantown—boasting scents that cleverly bring couver’s West or East Side with Riding the to life areas like Fairview and Mount Pleas- Pine’s bus scroll tea towel ($17). The locally ant—but the company’s new Great White hand-screened prints take from the destinaNorth collection includes a candle (from tion scrolls employed on trolley buses in Van$20) that pays tribute to the West Coast as couver during the ’50s with text indicating a whole. With woodsy notes of fir, spruce, stops like Jericho, Kerrisdale, and Marpole and oakmoss, it’s the perfect gift for those on the West Side and Gastown, Strathcona, itching for the aroma of B.C.’s great out- and Killarney on the East. Find it at Favourdoors at home. Find it at LYNNSteven Boutique ite Gifts at Lonsdale Quay Market (123 Carrie Cates Court, North Vancouver). (225 Carrall Street). DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 17


GREEN LIVING

Lumber finds new life > B Y LU C Y LA U

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alvaged lumber typically sees new life as reclaimed-wood furnishings, fixtures, and small household objects. But one local maker is preserving the precious resource by transforming it into a collection of particularly festive pieces: Christmas-tree ornaments. Garet Robinson, founder of First Growth Reclaimed Design, began crafting the decorative items three years ago. While his company was initially known for its handcrafted and recovered-timber coffee and dining tables when it was launched in an East Van garage in 2013, the laser-cut ornaments—available in a slate of quirky shapes like acorns, electric guitars, and bicycles—have been a consistent hit among Vancouverites. For Robinson, producing the one-of-a-kind and extremely giftable curios is simply a way to reuse first-growth lumber, wood grown naturally in forests over hundreds of years that he rescues from residential teardowns around town. Although much of this timber is no longer sent to landfills—the City of Vancouver implemented a clean-wood-recycling program in 2015 that chips it for mulch, composting, and fuel—the selftaught woodworker felt compelled to showcase the durability and rough-sawn character of the material in a tangible object. “Most of that wood is in structures, it’s in buildings,” Robinson tells the Straight by phone. “So I have a passion to preserve at least some of that and that history and heritage, so to speak.” Robinson sources much of his wood from demolitions and renovations of pre-1940s houses via sustainable contracting company Naturally Crafted and the Maple Ridge–based Western Reclaimed Timber. Many of these homes were constructed with solid Douglas fir, which, for the Vancouver native, represents the old-growth forests that once populated B.C. Because these trees matured slowly thanks to limited light and competition from other plants, they boast tight growth rings, making their wood stronger and more resistant to rot and termites. “The grain is very beautiful,” notes Robinson. While manufacturing furnishings, wall hangings, and mirror frames, he discovered

Garet Robinson transforms salvaged wood into festive, laser-cut ornaments like these.

that the lumber looks great fashioned as holiday-friendly trinkets, too. Drawing inspiration from seasonal motifs and West Coast landmarks and symbols, First Growth produces Douglas-fir ornaments (from $10) modelled after mittens, the North Shore mountains, maple leaves, and even artist Ken Lum’s now iconic East Van Cross. Elsewhere, you’ll find surprisingly detailed keyboards for the musically inclined, snowshoes for outdoorsy types, and the Vancouver skyline—an apt present for those who take pride in where they live. There’s even a piece that depicts the logo of the East Van Baseball League, a recreational group that Robinson plays in. (Partial proceeds from the sale of this design benefit the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.) The woodworker’s favourite ornament, however, is one that illustrates three fir trees, bringing the company’s cause full circle. “I want to preserve the wood that’s remaining from all these forests that have gone,” Robinson reiterates. First Growth Reclaimed Design products can be purchased online (firstgrowthreclaimed. com/ ) and at various craft markets happening ahead of Christmas. Coming up, you can find the brand at Handmade at Highstreet Market (December 8 and 9 at 3122 Mount Lehman Road, Abbotsford) and the Vintage and Handmade Society’s Woodwards Atrium Market (December 16 at 128 West Cordova Street). -

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For the food lover in your life, Dine Out Vancouver Festival has just the ticket. Choose from up to 40 different culinary events and a experiences—everything from wine brunches to global guest chef dinners, and from cocktail masterclasses to neighbourhood food tours.

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BI STRONIC FUSION The Bi Stronic Fusion is like a futuristic rabbit vibe. It's a rechargeable silicone waterproof thruster that vibrates. Remember when the Terminator came back, but he was a way better Terminator than the last time? That's this toy. Made in Germany.

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DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 19


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20 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017


GIFT GUIDE

Vancouver authors provide holiday goodies From ambitious works of fiction to revealing environmental treatises, there are plenty of opportunities to please the pickiest bookworms > BY C HA R LIE SMITH

T

his has been a year worth celebrating for Vancouverarea writers. As a result, there’s no shortage of terrific books to recommend for the voracious readers on your holidayshopping list. Vancouver’s David Chariandy took home the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize—and the $50,000 that comes with it—for his second novel, Brother, a critically acclaimed tale of two siblings and their love of music. The Straight’s Alexander Varty described it as “slim but perfectly proportioned” and as “a kind of literary alchemy, creating a believable world in just 180 pages”. Two other Vancouver writers, Anosh Irani and Jen Sookfong Lee, were nominated for next year’s International Dublin Literary Award. Lee’s Downtown Eastside– based crime story, The Conjoined,, which came out last year, was also a fi nalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; Irani’s The Parcel, about a transgender sex worker, was a fi nalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and last year’s Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Another nominee for next year’s Dublin Literary Award is former Vancouverite Madeleine Thien. She continues racking up honours for her phenomenally successful 2016 novel about musicians in China, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which

won the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Thien’s novel was nominated for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2017 Rathbones Folio Prize. It’s never too late to pick this one up. One of the great local historians, North Vancouver writer Daniel Francis, also won a big prize this year—the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award. Francis has written for Harbour Publishing (Where Mountains Meet the Sea: An Illustrated History of the District of North Vancouver Trucking Vancouver, in British Columbia: An Illustrated History and Far West: tory, The Story of BritColumbia and ish Columbia) Arsenal Pulp Press (Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 191819, Canada’s First Terror The War on Terror; Indian Imaginary Indian; and LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver It’s rather couver). fitting that Francis would win an award named after Berton, because both have written compulsively readable books about Canadian history. Th is has also been an exciting year for current and former Georgia Straight writers. In September, Rocky Mountain Books released The Georgia Straight: A 50th Anniversary Celebration, which was written by publisher Dan McLeod and writer Doug Sarti. It includes penetrating and revealing essays on the history of the Straight and

David Suzuki cowrote Just Cool It! to promote climate-change solutions.

the city by former music editor Bob Geldof, former staff writer and environmentalist Paul Watson, former mayor and premier Mike Harcourt, and musician and I, Bificus author Bif Naked. The coffee-table book features more than 100 exceptional Straight covers from the past 50 years, supplemented with Sarti’s crisp descriptions of what was taking place in the city at that time. Then, in November, Arsenal Pulp Press released Straight writer Travis Lupick’s Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle With Addiction. A rollicking good read, it offers page upon page of astonishing revelations about the history of Vancouver’s harm-reduction movement. One section on former mayor Philip Owen’s travels with long-time

addict Dean Wilson, fi lmmaker Nettie Wild, and harm-reduction advocate Ann Livingston is supremely memorable. But perhaps the most noteworthy sections involve imaginative street protests, often orchestrated by Mark Townsend when he was one of the leaders of the Portland Hotel Society. Former Straight editor Ian Hanington and Straight.com contributor David Suzuki cowrote Just Cool It!: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do, which offers sensible prescriptions for saving the planet. A former Straight proofreader, Alisa Smith, came out with a new novel, Speakeasy.. According to Straight contributor George Fetherling, the title isn’t about U.S. Prohibition, but “refers instead to the anguish that sometimes results from having to keep dark secrets”. “Th is fi rst novel is a remarkable leap for a writer who often gets awards for journalism but whose only previous book (the winner of multiple prizes) was The 100Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating,” Fetherling wrote. Another well-regarded novel about that era is John MacLachlan Gray’s The White Angel. It offers a fictitious look into the sensational real-life murder of 22-year-old nursemaid Janet Smith in Shaughnessy in 1924. A Chinese domestic worker was fi ngered as the suspect and was later tortured by the local Ku Klux Klan. Gray, father of the Zolas’ frontman Zachary Gray, is perhaps best

known as the cowriter and composer of the Broadway musical Billy Bishop Goes to War. He’s also had a distinguished career as a novelist, newspaper columnist, and theatre, TV, and stage performer. B.C. has long been a hothouse for environmental books and this year was no exception. Victoria writer Thom Henley’s autobiographical Raven Walks Around the World: Life of a Wandering Activist includes tales of kayaking in Haida Gwaii, working with Indigenous and non-I nd i ge nou s youths on a wilderness program, and meeting then prime minister Pierre Trudeau and his five-yearold son Justin. Another fascinating environmental book is The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism, by Joel Solomon with Tyee Bridge. Solomon is one of Canada’s most influential green capitalists, and in this book, readers learn about his solitary stay at OrcaLab, discrimination meted out against him and his Jewish father in Tennessee, and his $100-trillion vision to save civilization by 2050. Because of space limitations, I’m only going to recommend one more environmental book by a B.C. writer: David Boyd’s The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World. The title says it all, and those of a greenish bent should put it under the tree for any judges and lawyers on their list. -

DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 21


GIFT GUIDE

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22 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

Gifts for Vancouver’s ganja enthusiasts > B Y A M A N DA SIEBER T

W

ith so many Vancouverites embracing cannabis, it’s likely you’ll have at least one pot consumer on your list this year—but don’t count on them for gift ideas. Let’s face it: cannabis users, though often creative, resourceful, and outgoing, aren’t exactly known for being decisive. The good news is we’ve taken the guesswork out of shopping by curating a list of items suitable for everyone from your pot-obsessed friends to your canna-curious grandma. FOR THE TECHY Its slick appearance isn’t the only thing separating the intelligent IQ vaporizer by DaVinci ($370) from other portable units. It’s made just for vaporizing dried cannabis, and its precise temperature control gives users the option of choosing between four preset settings or dialling in their own specifics. Tech geeks will love the IQ for its Bluetooth-app integration, which allows users to track their sessions. Plus, the IQ’s ceramic zirconia air path makes for some of the purest, most flavourful vapour we’ve ever inhaled. Available at the Village Bloomery (206–1540 West 2nd Avenue) and www.davinci vaporizer.com/.

There are several ways to communicate to the rest of the world that you’re a cannabis enthusiast, and while some prefer to go the way of the pot-leaf-emblazoned T-shirt, most self-respecting cannabis users a) know full well that that trend fell out of fashion in the ’90s, and b) would prefer something a little more subtle. Enter local artisan Kristin Lamont of Koko and Kai, whose line of handmade genderneutral ganja jewellery pays homage not just to the plant itself but to the compounds within it. Her individual THC and CBD molecule necklaces ($25 to $35) come in silver, gold, and black, while other pieces bearing the ever-recognizable pot leaf can be ordered on a chain or a choker. Find more molecules and jewellery at www.kokoandkai.com/shop.

FOR THE ADVOCATE

($70 for 60 mL), a little goes a long way. It’s handcrafted with ingredients like pure hemp oil, shea butter, beeswax, and lavender for a topical that looks, smells, and feels nothing short of heavenly. Available at local dispensaries and www.canna lifebotanicals.ca/. We’ve grown weary of Instagram’s obsession with tea cleanses, but one Vancouver-based company has found a way to make them a little less tacky by bringing cannabinoids into the picture. FLEURS tea ($30 for 10 servings) combines healing herbs with full-spectrum hempderived CBD in three different blends: Woke, an energizing focus tea; Clean, a detoxifying tea; and Doze, an antistress sleep aid. And because CBD isn’t psychoactive, these soothing teas won’t interrupt your day with an unwanted wave of euphoria. Available at local dispensaries and www.fleurstea.com/.

FOR THE HEALTH NUT

FOR THE FOODIE Those who have

braved the stovetop decarboxylation process will know all too well that making your own cannabis-infused oils is a hassle in every sense of the word: it’s costly, time-consuming, messy, and often leaves you wondering how strong your end product is. But with the LEVO oil infuser ($199.99), the guessing game ends. With precise temperature settings, easy operation, and complete creative control, experienced bakers and cooks won’t miss the painstaking process of stirring and straining. Available at www.levooil.com/.

FOR THE PURIST No matter how

many vaporizers make their way onto the market, some cannabis users will always prefer to smoke. For this, we like SilverStick’s modern take on an old favourite: the one-hitter. Instead of ceramic, the SilverStick is made of aircraft-grade alloy pipe and features a compartment for cotton filters. We like SilverStick’s Bubinga Dugout ($55), which comes complete with a large SilverStick one-hitter, 15 filters, a stainless-steel poker, and a handcrafted wooden dugout. Available at www.thesilverstick.com/.

FOR THE BUSYBODY Vape pens make discreet consumption easier than ever, especially when you’re on the go, but with so many different options on the market, it can be hard to figure out which one provides the most bang for your buck and buzz for your brain. The Flyte pen kit ($70 for a battery pen and one cartridge plus charger) is a locally made distillate vaporizer boasting thick vapour and tasty flavours like blueberry, sour diesel, and tangerine. Plus, Flyte’s oil is made using a proprietary technique that removes all impurities. Available at local dispensaries and www.flyte.life/. -

FOR THE FIRST-TIMER If you happen to be the cannabis enthusiast in your circle of family and friends, you’ve likely answered a few questions about “CBDs”. The good thing about cannabidiol, the secondmost-common compound in cannabis after THC, is that it doesn’t cause feelings of euphoria, which makes it more friendly to those who might be interested in the medicinal properties of cannabis but don’t want to get high. Local brand Cannalife Botanicals has harnessed the power of CBD in its new collection of products, with tinctures and salves made for both humans and pets. With our Visit Straight.com for more cannabisfavourite, the CBD Healing Salve related gift ideas.


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www.pointgreyvillage.com/2017-Holidays DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 23


GIFT GUIDE

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> B Y G A IL JOHN SON

S

thing from stews to risotto, pressure cookers have an added (and often overlooked) benefit for healthy eaters: shorter cooking times mean pressure-cooking tends to preserve vitamins and nutrients better than other cooking methods.

hopping for the healthconscious loved ones on your list can be tricky: chocolates are out, and wellness books could come across as insulting. Read on for gifts that will delight those who place value CLEANSED BY NATURE Soaps, lotions, bath products, and the like are on all things good for them. lovely gifts, except when they’re loadBEST FOOT FORWARD Through ed with substances that are harmful the application of pressure on certain to the planet, never mind your own areas of the extremities that are said delicate skin and cells. Sea Wench to correspond to organs and muscles, Naturals, based in Tofino, draws on reflexology helps diminish stress, im- its astounding oceanic surroundings prove circulation, and enhance the for inspiration and ingredients. Seabody’s overall optimal functioning. weed extract can be found in both its For its classic pedi treatment, My body wash and body lotion (from $16 Foot Reflexology (various locations) at seawenchnaturals.ca/), while the starts you off with a cup of green bubble bath contains extracts of kelp, tea to sip and a foot soak before you dulse, and bladder wrack, a shoreline sit back in a big, comfy chair while seaweed. Saltspring Soapworks, too, a practitioner presses, rubs, and uses natural ingredients: check out strokes your toes, feet, and calves the Dragon’s Egg bath bomb ($8.95 ($53 for a 45-minute session). Unlike at www.saltspringsoapworks.com/), most spa sessions, you don’t need to which is made of activated charcoal undress, and earplugs and blankets for a detoxifying black-water bath. are available for extra comfort. Its seasonal Cranberry Collection features Cranberry Orange Body Gelato FOOD HEALS Wholesome food is ($14.95 for 240 grams), a made-freshcentral to the health nut’s lifestyle, daily bath product containing sea so it only makes sense to consider salt, ground organic orange peel, orgifting one of the latest colourful ganic cranberries, and sweet almond cookbooks that celebrate healthy, oil, among other items, for an induldelicious fare. Recipes From the gent, invigorating soak. Herbalist’s Kitchen: Delicious, Nourishing Food for Lifelong Health and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE Even when Well-Being ($24.95) is ideal for those winter proves dark and rainy or clear who turn to plants like sage, cilantro, and cold, not much stops local runand mint for their medicinal prop- ners from hitting the seawall or the erties as much as for their flavour. North Shore trails. Why not give Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson’s something to enhance your pal’s original recipes range from lavender- outdoor-exercise experience? The and-dandelion-flower muffins and unisex MEC Goto fleece gloves ($19 baked ricotta to hot-and-sour soup at MEC [various locations]) are light with tarragon vinegar and apple- and stretchy and have touchscreenfriendly pads on the index fingers and-parsley salad. Montreal mom and chef turned and thumbs, while the MEC Early homesteader Aimée Wimbush- Bird reversible beanie ($20), also uniBourque’s newest book reflects how sex, keeps people’s ears warm, wicks her own family eats: a diet of fresh, away moisture, and comes complete flavourful, unprocessed, unrefined, with reflective details for those earlyand mostly organic and vegetarian morning outings when visibility ingredients. The Simple Bites Kitch- is poor. For runners complaining en: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes about tight, sore quadriceps and for Every Day ($32) features recipes hamstrings, give the gift of self-masfor Turkish breakfast pita, whole- sage with the SPRI Tiger Tail Rollwheat chocolate-chunk zucchini ing Massager ($34.99 for 18 inches at bread, Vietnamese summer rolls, SportChek [various locations]) or the “gardener’s” sloppy joes, slow-cooker original Stick ($34.95 for the 18-inch root-vegetable-and–cider stew, and Sprinter Stick at www.thestick.com/), more. Plus, she shares tips on how to both of which treat muscle pain and host a soup swap, a brilliant follow- trigger points. up to holiday cookie exchanges. YOGI PRESENCE Chances are PRESSURE’S ON Interest in pres- your yoga-loving relative already sure cookers continues to pick up has her own yoga mat, but what steam, with the Canadian Instant about so many other props and Pot dominating Black Friday and devices that can augment her pracCyber Monday sales. Its Duo Plus tice? Bolster cushions are a boon to 9-in-1 multi-use cooker ($149.95) anyone who sits at a computer all is already sold-out in several stores. day, helping to open up the spine; Similar types exist, however, such find rectangular (from $62) and as Breville’s Fast Slow Pro ($369), cylindrical (from $68) styles in which can pressure-cook (with berry, wine, chocolate, and other eight pressure levels), slow-cook, colours at Just Yoga (53 East Broadsteam, sauté, sear, or reduce, all in way). Handcrafted Sit Sets (from a dishwasher-safe ceramic bowl $170 at Halfmoon [www.shophalf free of nasty chemicals like poly- moon.com/] ) feature a small cushtetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, used ion atop a larger one, offering adin Teflon) and perfluorooctanoic justable support and allowing you acid (PFOA). Besides dramatically to relax your hips and sit tall and reducing cooking time for every- comfortably during meditation. 24 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017


GIFT GUIDE

On Thursday (December 7), more than 60,000 festive lights will be switched on at Canuck Place, which offers free comfort to kids with life-threatening conditions.

Canuck Place invites public to Light a Life > B Y C A RL ITO PA BLO

L

osing a child due to illness is probably the most pain a parent would ever have to live through. In such times, having help to ease the suffering of the child and the family’s sorrow is a blessing. Since opening the doors to its Glen Brae Manor in Vancouver in 1995, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has been providing comfort to children with life-threatening conditions and their loved ones at no cost. In 2014, a second facility, the Dave Lede House, opened in Abbotsford. In its latest year of operation (ending March 2017), the hospice cared for 715 children and families from across B.C., a six-percent increase from the previous year. Amid these festive times, Canuck Place is one of many well-intentioned organizations worthy of support. During the holiday season, anyone can contribute to the hospice through its Light a Life campaign. With no minimum amount required, a donor can turn on a virtual light to celebrate someone special. “What we’re trying to achieve is giving gifts of meaning, instead of another pair of socks or tie or a purse. So what we do is we’re encouraging our donors to upload photos: maybe of someone, of their favourite memories; maybe of the person that they’d like to give a gift to,” Denise Praill, managing director of development with Canuck Place, explained in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight. “So I’m thinking about my mom. I could upload a photo of my mom and two daughters together and wish my mom a merry Christmas, and that greeting stays on the Canuck Place website, that I made a gift

in her honour, and then she can go there and see it and you can also share it on social media,” Praill continued. Light a Life runs until December 31 this year. According to Praill, a donor can light a virtual light for anybody. “It could be a hostess. If you’re going to a Christmas party, instead of bringing, you know, napkin ring holders, you could make a $25 gift to Canuck Place, and you could recognize it online and let people know,” she said. Light a Life is meant to honour both the living and the dead. “We also have several family members of children of Canuck Place; they like to remember their children, children who have passed, and this type of campaign helps them remember,” Praill noted. Light a Life also ties in with the holiday lighting-up of the Glen Brae Manor in Shaughnessy, an annual tradition to thank donors and supporters. On Thursday (December 7), more than 60,000 festive lights decorating the hospice and its gardens will be switched on by the Cunninghams, one of the families staying at Canuck Place. Dwayne and Angela Cunningham are parents to two daughters. Their youngest child, Lumina, is a oneyear-old who suffers from a genetic disorder that affects the development of her muscles, brain, and eyes. “We’re taking a cue that each tiny life that we see is one of those lights, so it’s just a really nice connection between our traditional lighting of the house and our fundraising,” Praill said. “So we’re always trying to tell our story in a really holistic way: that it is centred on the children and families. We bring them joy by lighting lives or lighting the house, and our donors help us light, I guess, each of their lives with their generosity.” -

SALON HELPS SICK KIDS

> BY CHARLIE SMITH

Some people manage to demonstrate the holiday spirit all year round. The owners of the Ridge Salon and Spa (2585 West 16th Avenue), the father and son team of Frank and Mike Rota, decided this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the business with a fundraiser to benefit B.C. Children’s Hospital. The Rotas and their customers donated $11,000, which was more than enough to pay for two vital-signs monitors for the hospital’s medical day unit. These machines monitor body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure—and any change could indicate a serious health problem, such as an allergic reaction or cardiovascular problems. “I just wanted to buy them something that would target a specific area,” Frank said in an interview with the Straight at his salon. “My customers were very generous.” It’s the third fundraiser that the Ridge Salon and Spa has done for B.C. Children’s Hospital. Back in 2013, about $10,000 was generated when fathers and sons agreed to have their heads shaved. -

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DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 25


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December 7 to 13, 2017

M

ercury retrograde continues to December 22. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Sagittarius, which is an appropriate sign for travel and for all that goes along with the festive season. By now you know the drill regarding Mercury retrograde: donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t assume or guess; double-check everything; pump up on safety measures (especially regarding travel, communications, and health); give yourself extra time to tackle it or to reach your destination. Sagittarius is an abundance sign, and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;tis the season to spend, no matter how much you try to rein it in. To the plus, the retrograde cycle is likely to see many of us opt to play up the spirit of the season rather than be led by the commercial hype. Forming positive aspects to Uranus (trine) on Saturday/Sunday, the sun (conjunction) on Tuesday, and Venus (conjunction) next Friday, Mercury retrograde could go easier on us this time around. The best you can do for yourself is to take it moment to moment. Mars leaves Libra for Scorpio on Saturday. Mars is more at home in the passion-play sign. For the next seven weeks, Mars takes it deeper, much deeper. In combination with Mercury in Sagittarius retrograde, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an appropriate time for soul-searching. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s motivating you now? Have you got your sexy on? Do you have a strategy in place to support your next great adventure, your next power play? If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the game plan in place just yet, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s okay. Know that an uncovering process is already under way. Thursday/Friday and Monday through next weekend keep that good thing in full swing. Saturday/Sunday, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t force what isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t coming naturally. Happy Hanukkah!



ARIES



TAURUS

March 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;April 20

Whether its been long overdue or youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been recently stymied, Mercury retrograde can provide a fresh opportunity to get back into action. Despite the retrograde, now through the end of next week, you should see better progress. On the other hand, you may get extended time to figure it out better. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, makes you sharper, sexier, and more resourceful. April 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;May 21

On the go again! You should find you can chase it or them down with better success. Too, you can resume the project or revisit the conversation and get more out of it this time. Even so, relationship-wise, you may have to adjust your high expectations. Overspending happens far too easily. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, requires you to play it smarter.



GEMINI



CANCER

May 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;June 21

If you can get it all done in one place, visit, or conversation, great, but know that repeats and revisits are typical of Mercury retrograde. Try not to overcommit your time or wear out the credit card. Moderation is wise. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, can help you to streamline effort and increase efficiency. Make health and healthy choices a priority. June 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;July 22

It can take longer to heal, fix it, or find a solution you can live with. Rather than get twisted about it, see it for the opportunity it is. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, is an empowering transit for your sign. As of the new week, your options and communication tracks will improve. Overall, you should feel that you are making better inroads.



LEO

July 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;August 23

through next weekend keeps you going full tilt. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best week of the month to get on it or to meet up. Although the social activity continues, Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, switches your prior attention to home, family, and personal matters.



VIRGO



LIBRA



SCORPIO



SAGITTARIUS



CAPRICORN

August 23â&#x20AC;&#x201C;September 23

Travelling home for the holidays? Mercury retrograde is good for revisiting places or faces. Allow extra time to get to your destination and to get the job done, too. The transit can sidetrack you temporarily or take you through another go-round. Try not to assume youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get more of the same. Sometimes those expectations are met; at other times, you could be surprised.

Celebrate the Georgia Straightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

50th Anniversary with a limited edition Bob Masse poster! Available for a limited time and is signed by the artist Bob Masse and Georgia Straightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s publisher Dan Mcleod Visit straight.com/shop to buy the poster V

September 23â&#x20AC;&#x201C;October 23

Creativity and spontaneity make the weekend entertaining. You could bump into or hear from someone out of the blue. Enjoy and spend more time, but keep tabs on your credit card. Money can go quickly. Mars leaves Libra on Saturday, but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll continue to feel it even more deeply and have even sharper radar while it tours Scorpio. Sunday through Tuesday, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on a roll. October 23â&#x20AC;&#x201C;November 22

Mercury retrograde is ideal for a regroup, rethink, or top-up. You could stumble upon a better solution or gain a second chance to take it further or talk it out. More work can come your way; earnings can increase, but spending can too. Trust instincts and intuition. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, boosts your energy, motivation, savvy, and sexy. November 22â&#x20AC;&#x201C;December 21

Another check-in with yourself and a review of recent happenings is appropriate during Mercury retrograde. If you have any doubt about how to play it next, let the moment dictate. Now through the end of next week, the stars are optimized. Regarding activity, connecting, creating, and decision-making, the stars keep the dial-up on that right-time, right-place feel. December 21â&#x20AC;&#x201C;January 20

Feeling swamped or overwhelmed? While you may have more of everything to contend with, for the most part the stars keep it rolling smoothly for this next week or so. If you are already off the hook, lucky you! Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have no trouble hitting the target once Mars enters sharp, shrewd, and sexy Scorpio on Saturday.



AQUARIUS



PISCES

January 20â&#x20AC;&#x201C;February 18

Whether it is planned or spontaneous, expect to meet up with folks you havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seen for a while. Beyond socializing, travel, earning more, and spending more, Mercury retrograde could also spark a great idea or two or get something important off the ground. Explore, allow, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t force. Each day through next Saturday holds good potential.

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February 18â&#x20AC;&#x201C;March 20

While Mercury tours retrograde, you may need to revise your goals, rules, or expectations. Try to delegate more. Ease up on unnecessary pressure, worry, or running around. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost steam, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll pick it up now. Mars in Scorpio, starting Saturday, along with great Mercury aspects over this next week, keeps it rolling well. -

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vancouver.ca/holidayheights #holidayheights DECEMBER 7 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 27


Level Ground gifts bring justice to the world The Victoria-based ethical-food importer is proud to celebrate 20 years of partnering with hard-working farmers in developing countries (This article is sponsored by Level Ground Trading.)

L

et’s set aside the more stressful elements of the holiday season for a moment, and consider some of the good to come out of this time of year. Yes it’s cold outside, but at the risk of sounding cliché, perhaps that’s why we need to work a little bit harder to warm our hearts. The holiday spirit has us thinking about giving. And we’re not just talking about the exchange of presents. Giving means so much more than that. Consider how we give the benefit of the doubt to certain family members in a bid to bring everyone together; or how we give our time to Christmas parties so that we can get to know our colleagues better; or, as the year comes to a close, how we start to think about giving up bad habits like drinking wine on weeknights, making social commitments we can’t keep, Netflix binge-watching more than three episodes in a row… We could go on, but we’re not going to because we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t bring up New Year’s resolutions. None of us need that pressure. Or the guilt. No thank you. Forget we said it. But what about giving back? What are we doing to be better global citizens? We’re aware that’s a loaded question. And, we don’t want to add to your anxiety, but it still applies even after the clock strikes midnight on December 31. We can get so caught up in the holiday frenzy that it can be easy to forget there’s a whole world out there and that the colour theme of our Christmas décor really doesn’t matter in the large scheme. But the large scheme can be a dangerous path to go down, too. If not an overwhelming one.

In addition, the majority of the purchase price goes straight back into the community funding education for farmers’ children, infrastructure, or capacity building, depending on the relationship. And for the founders of Level Ground, they find reward in giving back. The philosophy at Level Ground is centred on creating mutually beneficial relationships, so storytelling is key. On each package, you will find a farmer’s face and name. And each farmer is paid for the use of their photo. For consumers, it gives us the opportunity to make an ethical choice on the products we’re consuming every day. Suddenly, our Monday morning caffeine hit seems even more vital. Furthermore, the quality is there. Level Ground goes directly to the source, cultivates relationships, and receives the very best products in return. So the next time you’re having a hard week and feeling overwhelmed about the part you’re playing in the world, might we suggest you sit down with a nice cup of Level Ground tea and know that you’re making a difference? It seems that the Brits are on to something when they say that a brew can solve a multitude of problems. Level Ground truly gives a whole Level Ground Trading focuses on making everyday consumables that are organic, socially sustainable, and Fair Trade. new significance to Fair Trade. And So let’s give ourselves a break. Even Sounds like a piece of cake? Well 1997, the fi rst relationship was with if that’s not food—and a nice hot if you feel small, that’s OK. The large there’s that, too. Yes, you can have small-scale coffee farmers in Co- beverage— for thought, we don’t scheme is made up of lots of tiny parts. your cake and eat it! lombia. And since then the founders’ know what is. And there are little things you can do That’s the thinking behind Level vision to alleviate poverty in develevery day that make a big impact. Ground Trading, which focuses on oping countries through direct fair Go to straight.com/contests and enter to win a “Foodie Gift Bundle” Think about how quickly our re- making the everyday consumables like trade has remained the same. cycling piles up after only one week. coffee, tea, cane sugar, dried fruit, caBut its impact has grown. This year, from Level Ground including coffee, And that’s just one example. But cao nibs, heirloom rice, spices, vanilla, Level Ground is proud to celebrate 20 tea pyramids, turmeric, dried mango, what if there was something you could and coconut oil, socially sustainable years of partnering with farmers in vanilla beans, rice, and cacao nibs! do that was as easy as your morning and Fair Trade. developing countries. And the com- An unreal, organic, Fair Trade prize. cup of coffee? Or the healing cup of tea Level Ground started small, too. pany now imports the annual harvest PLUS, you’ll get an exclusive code for 15% off your next retail order. as you endure the season’s second cold? When the company was founded in of 5,000 farmers in 10 countries.

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FOOD

Why not stocking stuffers for food lovers? > BY TA M MY KWAN

HOLIDAY MACARONS If you want

GLASS MORTAR AND PESTLE

KOJI SALT For those who are wondering why salt would ever make for a great gift, you’ve never tried this kind of salt. Dosanko’s housemade Japanese seasoning ($10 per jar) combines koji (a type of fungus grown on white rice), salt, sugar, and citric acid. It is full of umami (savoury taste)—flavourful but not overwhelming—and serves as the perfect seasoning for all types of culinary creations. Use it in soups, sauces, salads, cooked veggies, seafood, chicken wings, fries, and more. Besides being low in sodium, it also has probiotics and enzymes that are said to be beneficial to your health. It’s packaged in a mini Mason jar for convenient gifting. Find it at Dosanko Restaurant (566 Powell Street).

ACACIA WOOD AND COPPER UTENSILS What’s better than gift-

to surprise someone with a tasty treat under the tree (or hanging on the mantle, in this case), we suggest picking up some holiday macarons ($2.50 each) from Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe. Chef Thierry Busset has created some delicious seasonally inspired flavours, including cranberry (made with cranberry reduction in the buttercream and a whole roasted cranberry in its centre), gingerbread (with a ginger-spiced shell and orange-mascarpone buttercream), and stollen (a spiced shell with rum buttercream and a rum-raisin-andcandied-orange marzipan centre). It all comes together in a colourful macaron box—just put a bow on it and you’re set. Find them at Thierry Chocolates (1059 Alberni Street).

W

e all have one (or a few) food lovers in our lives, and it can be a difficult task trying to find the perfect holiday present to satisfy their taste buds or culinary tendencies. But there’s no need for an extravagant gift basket or heavily loaded restaurant gift card—it’s the thought that counts, right? Here are six stocking stuffers for the food-obsessed individuals you know. PURDYS CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES Besides the fact that your

friends or family will think highly of you for showering them with Christmas confections, sweets from Purdys Chocolatier are also easy items to pick up (especially for the last-minute holiday shoppers). This local chocolate shop has many goodies in store this season, including mini salted caramels in a cute snowf lake-covered cylindrical container ($12.50 for 200 grams) and the Christmas Express—tiny milk-chocolate trains paired with classic foil-wrapped chocolates ($13.50 for 150 grams). If you know someone with a bigger stocking, go for the new Snow Day Stories Book Tin—a whimsical book-shaped box filled with some of Purdys’ bestselling chocolates, such as hedgehogs and truffles ($22). Find them at Purdys (various locations) or online at www.purdys.com/.

Serious foodies will thank you for (clockwise from top left) Koji salt, Acacia utensils, macarons from Thierry, and Mosser Glass’s glass mortar and pestle. WELLNESS TEA SAMPLER Tea can be the ideal remedy for people aiming to recover from the heavy foods and alcoholic beverages that are usually consumed during the holiday season. Silk Road Tea’s Kit Wellness tea sampler ($22.95) comes with four mini tins of premium and organic teas, which are great for detoxing postfestivities. Each tin can serve eight to 10 cups of tea, and you

can choose from an assortment of f lavours from the shop—go for a seasonal blend such as the candycane herbal tea, the rejuvenating mulberry tea, or the classic London fog black tea. The tins come in a f loral, reusable, handmade paper pouch, which can easily fit into stockings. Find it at Silk Road Tea (2066 West 4th Avenue) or online at www.silkroadteastore.com/.

You may not be familiar with a mortar and pestle, but it’s a handy device that has been used in cooking since ancient times. Mosser Glass’s handmade glass mortar and pestle ($30.99), in an ethereal shade of jade, can be used for grinding sesame seeds or crushing cloves of garlic. Don’t worry about herbs or spices leaving a scent; the glass won’t absorb any of the oils or smells. This eight-ounce bowl comes with a pouring spout and is accompanied by a rounded and easy-tograsp pestle for crushing a variety of ingredients. Foodies and the like will be impressed with this gift—it’s unique and thoughtful. Find it at the Gourmet Warehouse (1340 East Hastings Street).

ing edible goods to foodies? Surprising them with cooking utensils so they can make magic happen in their own kitchens. President’s Choice Holiday Home Collection has come out with copper utensils such as a spatula and a wooden spoon made with acacia wood ($7 each), adding a stylish touch to otherwise ordinary-looking cooking tools. Acacia wood is naturally durable, and its oils will give it water resistance. We don’t know about you, but we would be very excited to start using these if we found them in our Christmas stocking. Find them at the Real Canadian Superstore (various locations). -

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Vintages from the southern hemisphere are a reminder of where the sun shines

I

t’s probably not a great sign that I’m already pining for summer, but here we are. Although I can’t conjure up a new season, what I can do is glance toward places enjoying summer right now. New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina, I’m looking your way.

which means he’s gotten to know the land during the course of 32 vintages. What I admire about this Chardonnay is Bish’s judicious use of French oak. Its toasty character surrounds the wine’s lemon-meringue-pie, peach, and pistachio notes, yet it’s far from being too showy. Frankly, if someone told me they don’t like their CRAGGY RANGE TE MUNA ROAD wines too oaky, I’d tell them they’d VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC love it. At the same time, if someone 2016 (Martinelse said they like borough, New their wines with Zealand; $30 to a good lashing of $35, private liquor oak, I’d likely tell Kurtis Kolt stores) From anthem they’d like it cient soils laden with clay and gravel too! We have here a Goldilocks wine: comes a Sauvignon Blanc exploding just right. with zippy pink grapefruit, gooseberries, lime leaf, and tarragon. When I SACRED HILL HELMSMAN RED first tried this, the sky was dark and BLEND 2014 (Hawke’s Bay, New the rain was coming down hard. For Zealand; $65.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) a few brief moments, it was as if all So, you’re off to a friend’s place for dinthe clouds disappeared and the sun ner and there’s going to be a couple beamed down on me. Granted, that’s who are into the nuanced Cabernet not what actually happened, but Sauvignon–based blends of Bordeaux. drinking this wine made it seem like There are also a few who lean toward there could be potential for magic. those bigger, fruit-forward Napa ValWhile it’s all shiny and bright, there’s ley Cabernets from California. This a complexity here. Layers of minerals is a wine destined to please them all, and wonderful texture come with and you’ll get bonus points for being each and every citrusy sip, providing the geek who brought the Hawke’s brilliant charm to the very last drop. Bay blend (yet likely paid less than you Recently spotted at Everything Wine. would have for Napa or Bordeaux). That Cabernet makes up about half SACRED HILL RESERVE CHAR- of the blend, with a lot of Merlot and DONNAY 2016 (Hawke’s Bay, a little Cabernet Franc rounding it out. New Zealand; $26.99, B.C. Liquor Again, the oak is on point, providing Stores) This is the first in a trio of a pedestal for juicy black and red curSacred Hill wines we’re looking at rants, violets, basil, and dark chocothis week. All three of these wines late, combed with light tannins and are brand-new in our market; it’s finishing with a nice lick of spearmint. nice to see an increasing amount of Those few years of age under its belt see elevated New Zealand fare on local everything integrating together well. shelves. Working with sustainably farmed fruit from both Hawke’s SACRED HILL DEERSTALKER Bay and Marlborough, winemaker SYRAH 2014 (Hawke’s Bay, New Tony Bish was one of the original Zealand; $65.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) three founders of the winery in 1986, Decidedly more Rhône Syrah than

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Barossa Shiraz, what a lovely, graceful ode to the variety. The cardamom swirling out of the glass is intoxicating, and it continues onto the palate, where it is joined by spicy cloves, cinnamon, cocoa, and some juicy, meaty deliciousness. Although it would certainly do well with a steak, I like the idea of serving this guy with roast chicken, where it would almost act as Mexican mole flavours coming to the table. VASSE FELIX FILIUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 (Margaret River,

Australia; $29.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) This West Australian winery is going to have to make room on its ever expanding trophy shelf, as it’s just been named Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s New World winery of the year. Although it’s quite the distance and cost to venture all the way around the world to visit, all you have to do is put your nose in a glass of winemaker Virginia Willcock’s Filius Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll be instantly transported. That fresh, salty sea air! Those eucalyptus trees swaying in the breeze! It’s these elements that catapult the wine’s dark berries, roasted red bell pepper, and Provençal herbs to great heights. Well-balanced acid with pitch-perfect oak, tannins, and alcohol makes this a showstopper of a wine at a more than fair price.

TRIVENTO GOLDEN RESERVE MALBEC 2015 (Mendoza, Argen-

tina; $22.49, B.C. Liquor Stores) Swaddle yourself in these blackberries, mulberries, and cherries, enjoy the shot of espresso found therein, and keep cozy with its decadence and warmth. Not for the faint of heart or delicate of teeth, this is a monster of a wine—yet it manages to stay balanced, with hearty oak and just enough acid to keep it from cloying. -

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ARTS

At the Gateway Theatre, Russell Roberts (left, David Cooper photo) stays true to Charles Dickens’s novella in A Christmas Carol, while Jim Byrnes takes Scrooge to the modern-day Downtown Eastside in Bah Humbug!

Scrooge speaks to our times

tressingly little rewriting. “The circumstances are the same, so it’s very easy to reach for a metaphor from today,” he explains, during a break from rehearsal. “Whatever Dickens was referencing in the workhouses and prisons back then, we can still reach for in some other In separate productions, Russell Roberts and Jim Byrnes aren’t things that we’ve got tohaving any trouble finding modern touchstones for Ebenezer day. So it’s pretty timely. It hasn’t changed.” They’re very different productions. In some ways, things might even be worse toA Christmas Carol, at Richmond’s Gateway The- day. Dickens’s poverty-stricken Cratchits live in B Y ALEX ANDER VAR T Y atre, stays true to Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella a rat-infested hovel, but at least they have a real and its setting in the sooty slums of Victorian Lon- roof over their heads. In today’s Downtown Eastdon, with a cast made up of local theatre lumin- side, far too many have no such luxury, sleeparies such as Allan Morgan, as Jacob Marley and ing rough under cheerless overhangs or fending the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Linda Qui- off the Vancouver rain with only a thrift-store bell, as Mrs. Fezziwig. Bah Humbug!, in contrast, tent for shelter. Bah Humbug! knows just where places a cast of professionals alongside community to point the fi nger: its Scrooge, played by Jim figures from the Downtown Eastside, where this Byrnes, is nominally a pawnbroker, but his real 21st-century adaptation of Dickens’s tale is set. business is gentrification. Sartorially, it’s the difference between a shabby “I come walking in, talking on a cellphone, frock coat and a threadbare hoodie—but on closer and my first lines are ‘What do you mean the city inspection maybe that’s no difference at all. turned down my development permit? They call “It’s a universal story that is timeless,” says Rus- it renoviction? There’s only 40 tenants there. Hell, sell Roberts, who plays Scrooge in the Gateway I’m trying to do good for this neighbourhood. Just production. “The aspect of poverty, and of com- tell ’em who paid for that campaign,’” the veteran mercialism, and the rich getting richer and the poor singer and actor tells the Straight. “Right away, that getting poorer… It’s still pervasive. It doesn’t matter establishes who we are and what we’re doing. And whether it’s set in Victorian times or now: poverty we make many references to the Aquilinis and the is rampant everywhere, and there seems to be little Sahotas.…There’s stuff that’s right out of the book, being done to address that any differently than it was but we’ve put it into the Downtown Eastside.” in Dickens’s time. We don’t have the poorhouses and Looming over both productions are the disthe debtors’ prisons, but lord knows homelessness is tressing developments south of the border. Bah getting worse, the rich are stuffing their pockets, and Humbug!’s Scrooge, for instance, is a vocal supcorporate greed is all around us.” porter of the 45th president, revelling in his role as In a separate telephone interview, James Fagan a small-scale tycoon and telling his downtrodden Tait agrees. The veteran director, who’s been employee Bob Cratchit that he should have been brought in to revamp this year’s edition of Bah replaced by a temporary foreign worker. Donald Humbug!, now in its eighth season at SFU Wood- Trump, of course, is not explicitly referenced in ward’s, notes that jumping almost two centuries the Gateway’s period production of A Christmas into the future from Dickens’s time requires dis- Carol, but his uncouth presence is also felt.

THINGS TO DO

Trump, Roberts thinks, is too far gone for the story’s message of redemption. “Well, he doesn’t have a heart, does he?” the actor observes. “But thankfully Scrooge does, and he is able to see that by being taken, by the Ghost of Christmas Past, to see the love of his youth, Belle, and to see the joy he had with the Fezziwigs. And I say, as Scrooge, regarding Fezziwig: ‘He had the power to make us happy, to make our labour light, our toil a pleasure. So what if his power lay in words and looks, things impossible to count or add up? What of that? The happiness he gave was as great as if it cost a fortune.’ And so Scrooge, happily, is shown that being reintroduced to his heart of old is the gift that he’s been given.” Bah Humbug!’s modern-day Scrooge is likewise offered a chance at redemption, which Byrnes frames up as a kind of turning-away from shallow materialism. Self-centredness stemming from a childhood wound is what makes a Scrooge, he observes, and the recognition of that is how his character returns to his full humanity. Scrooge is “someone who’s been alienated as a kid and is now going ‘It’s me. It’s me. It’s me,’ as many people have,” he explains. “Something happens where your importance as part of a community has been taken away, and as a reaction to that everything becomes about the self: ‘Look what I have. Look at my car. And to hell with you.’ ” While Dickens’s original text is primarily about individual redemption, Bah Humbug! argues that the cracked landscape of the Downtown Eastside is where a greater societal redemption, especially in the context of today’s push for truth and reconciliation, might take place. At the very least, Byrnes suggests, this production will allow for a few small seasonal miracles. “The light, in fact, does come through,” he says, “and everybody goes home with a smile on their face.” A Christmas Carol runs at the Gateway Theatre from Friday (December 8) to December 24. Bah Humbug! is at SFU Woodward’s Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre from Thursday to next Saturday (December 7 to 16).

ARTS High five

Editor’s choice BEAUTY MYTHS Glossy magazines have been trying to dictate how women look, eat, and behave for decades. Now they take surreal new form in a multimedia dance work by Vancouver’s Kelly McInnes. In trailers for her new Shiny, a work in part inspired by the feminist ideas of Naomi Wolf’s book The Beauty Myth, cutout magazine faces form eerily bizarre sculptural headpieces for the performers as they move about. At other moments they form blankets and clothing, until the women break nakedly free. Ideas about body image, domestic work, and perfect beauty all intermingle in a provocative, and all too timely, performance. Shiny is at Left of Main from Wednesday to Saturday (December 6 to 9).

Five events you just can’t miss this week

1

EAST VAN PANTO (To January 6 at the York Theatre) We just can’t recommend this twisted holiday treat highly enough..

2

CITY ON EDGE (To February 18 at the Museum of Vancouver) Inspire your inner activist at this well-animated ode to this city’s shit-disturbing past.

3

HOW STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE (December 6 to 10 at Performance Works) The deeply moving tale of a boy who escaped a real-life Dark Side.

4

MIXED NUTS (December 8 to 10 at the Vancouver Playhouse) More fun than stocking stuffers: Arts Umbrella mashes fun holiday sendups with divine contemporary dance.

5

LITTLE DICKENS (To December 22 at the Cultch) Pull whatever strings you have to to get to this warped adult holiday puppet show.

In the news STANDUP AND LISTEN F Is for Family’s Bill Burr, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, and podcaster Jo Koy are some of the big names just announced for the next JFL NorthWest festival, March 1 to 10, 2018. Tickets go on sale Friday (December 8) at 10 a.m. via www. JFLNorthWest.com/. Burr will hit the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on March 8; Tacoma-raised Koy, of The Koy Pond With Jo Koy, hits the same stage on March 7; and Noah headlines two shows on March 9 at the Queen E. His Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng hits the Rio Theatre on March 3 and 4. Other comedians include Saturday Night Live cast members Jay Pharoah and Sasheer Zamata, plus Maria Bamford, Brian Regan, Anthony Jeselnik, Mike Birbiglia, Nikki Glaser, Ali Siddiq, Beth Stelling, Vir Das, Rachel Feinstein, Todd Barry, and Jim Norton. In addition, JFL NorthWest presents, with SiriusXM, top local talent in the Best of the West Series, including acts like All You Can Eat Laundry, Barely Legal, Comedy Bucket, the Lady Show, Little Mountain Improv, and many more. DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 31


ARTS

“A JEWEL OF A PERFORMANCE”

Tickets from $25 Family Packs Available

—VANCOUVER OBSERVER

Ballet BC presents Alberta Ballet

The Nutcracker Choreography Edmund Stripe | Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Featuring Live Music by The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

December 28 29 30 | 7:30pm December 29 30 | 2pm

SUPPORT FOR BALLET BC HAS BEEN GENEROUSLY L PROVIDED BY

Queen Elizabeth Theatre | balletbc.com

PHOTO BY DARREN MAKOIVICHUK.

BUY NOW

ARTS CLUB HOLIDAY HITS ARE ON NOW! Book, music, and lyrics by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille

The cast of Onegin. Pho

to by David Cooper

Now playing till Dec 31! “You’re lucky to be alive right now...because you get to see Onegin” —The Georgia Straight

Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice Book by Linda Woolverton

Now playing ttill Jan 13! “A holiday hit for the whole family” —Vancouver Sun —Vancouv

presenting sponsor Shannon Chan-Kent and Jonathan Winsby. Photo by David Cooper

stanley industrial alliance stage

32 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

granville island stage

goldcorp stage at the bmo theatre centre

Tegan Wahlgren, otherwise known as Wallgrin, blends clear, keening vocals, violin music, and electroacoustic textures into her sound. Pat Valade photo.

Wallgrin brings violin innovations to Solstice > B Y A LE XAN DER VAR TY

A

t 23, it’s clear that Tegan Wahlgren has yet to learn the subtler points of media manipulation. Otherwise, why would the singer, violinist, and electronic producer admit that her introduction to music came by way of a show so spangled and hyped that it would make Liberace look subdued? “When I was three or four,” the musician otherwise known as Wallgrin recalls, reached by phone at her East Vancouver home, “I remember watching an old VHS tape of Riverdance that my parents had recorded, and even though that’s the most commercialized, spectacular form of Celtic music there is, it stirred something in my soul. I remember seeing this woman with a blue violin playing, and I was like, ‘Wow! I want to be that lady!’ That’s what made me want to be a musician in the first place.” An apprenticeship with a Swedish violin teacher followed, during which Wahlgren learned everything from classical sonatas to ABBA tunes, and then she pretty much got to do Riverdance for real, although in a somewhat more relaxed setting, by joining North Vancouver’s North Shore Celtic Ensemble. “We went on tour in Scotland and Quebec and different places, so I was immersed in that more traditional Celtic stuff for a while,” she notes. “But I always had interests outside of that, and when I finished high school I was like, ‘Enough of that Celtic music!’ So I went to SFU for music composition, where I was exposed to a lot more new music, like experimental electroacoustic stuff.” Today, she plays music that combines all of her loves, old and new. Her focus on clear, keening vocal melodies bears witness to her roots in northern European folk music, while her finely etched violin lines have sometimes a classical purity of tone. And both of these are typically set into a matrix of gritty

electronic textures, often generated by processing vocal sounds through Logic software. Or at least that’s what we’ve gleaned through the few examples of the Wallgrin project that are available online; her debut album, Bird/Alien, is set for release in the spring of next year. We’ll get a closer listen next week, however, when she’s invited to join pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, singer Carman J Price, and composerperformer Nicole Lizée in Music on Main’s annual Music for the Winter Solstice concerts, which offer a contemplative, humanist alternative to the forced jollity of so much other seasonal fare. It’s an inspired booking. “I grew up without a religious background or anything like that, but for me music has essentially become my form of ‘spiritual expression’, if you want to call it that,” Wahlgren says. “It really is a form of meditation, or an expression of something larger, for me—as with many composers, I’m sure.” And next week’s concerts are close to her heart in another way: she discovered Music for the Winter Solstice last year, after encountering—and falling in love with—former Music on Main composer in residence Carolyn Shaw’s similarly ethereal blend of violin and voice. Although this year’s program is still being developed, it will definitely include some of Wahlgren’s own music, works from current MoM composer in residence Lizée, and Shaw’s Winter Carol, an audienceparticipation benediction that is quickly becoming a seasonal standard. Even gruff music critics have been known to get ever so slightly weepy when joining in Shaw’s chorus, and Wahlgren knows why. “It’s such a beautiful, simple melody, and everybody’s there, singing together,” she says. “It’s wonderful.” Music on Main presents Music for the Winter Solstice at Heritage Hall next Thursday and Friday (December 14 and 15).


DECEMBER 7 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 33


Brea Balletot Nutctrhes Ne h ack o e in e iL f

Improv team keeps Queen fresh

w ” r

“G

ARTS

– THE GLOBE AND MAIL

GohNutcracker.com

COM EDY CHRISTMAS QUEEN 4: SECRET SANTA A Vancouver TheatreSports League presentation. At the Improv Centre on Saturday, December 2. Continues until December 23

I’m beginning to wonder about Christmas Queen. Every year (for the past four seasons, at least), she starts out trying her damnedest to ruin the holiday for one and all and then ends up embracing it. Her inability to remember from one December to the next is alarming. Maybe dementia is creeping in. She’s up to her old tricks again this year. Christmas Queen 4: Secret Santa has the old battle-axe seeking out via Craigslist a way to switch bodies with Mr. Claus. She stumbles across a flatulence-induced body exchanger that could spell doom for boys and girls the world over. Only guess what? She comes to appreciate all that Christmas stands for. But I mean, it makes sense, considering her name and all. The plot line is secondary, though, to the general fun and frivolity this show always brings. It’s become a family tradition, at least in my household, signalling the start of the holiday season. As with any VTSL production, the cast is different each performance. Because Pearce Visser has been the Christmas Queen in each of the three previous incarnations I’ve seen, those two are inseparable in my mind. So when Dan Dumsha emerged in the blue wig and big boobs, I was skeptical. Silly me. VTSL has such a deep stable of improvisers, they can all step into the limelight and deliver. Dumsha’s Queen was as caustically hilarious as Visser’s, spewing barbs at fellow actors and audience members alike—even one in a wheelchair—but all aboveboard.

2 the

SWEET SEATS FROM

$28!

*

DECEMBER 14–19 PRINCIPAL DANCERS from the PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET ARTISTS from the NATIONAL BALLET OF CHINA

LIVE MUSIC performed by the VANCOUVER OPERA ORCHESTRA

THE CENTRE IN VANCOUVER: 777 HOMER STREET

GohNutcracker.com OFFICIAL HOTEL

PRODUCTION TITLE SPONSOR

*NOT INCLUSIVE OF SERVICE AND FACILITY FEES. CASTING SUBJECT TO CHANGES. PRESENTING HOST: GOH BALLET VANCOUVER SOCIETY

34 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

In Christmas Queen 4: Secret Santa, the blue-haired villain manages to switch bodies with St. Nick—providing a new twist to the warped tradition.

The cast on Saturday was full of fresh new faces (to me, anyway). I had seen Devin Mackenzie the most often over the years, and his self-assured dry delivery is always a treat. His comedy partner in Hip. Bang!, Tom Hill, was great as a kind but on-task Santa. Jamie Chrest kept the show moving as Buttons, the narrator, and got in some good lines along the way. Brad Duffy, a rookie, was a sympathetic Marty, head elf, while Brian Cook and another newcomer, Andrew Job, rounded out the strong troupe as elves, swimming instructors, and wildlife. Chances are you won’t see this exact ensemble if you go, but the improv elements and beats will be the same. On Saturday, we saw CQ working as a lifeguard; we got to know some of her back story while visiting her $3,000-per-month West End apartment; and the elves at the North

Pole were busy making gingerbread men, fixing broken angels, and putting eggplants in stockings. The brief choreographed dance number was pointless but goofy enough to be endearing. And Mackenzie’s Roxanne moment, when he was forced by Buttons to make up three jokes in a row about oranges, seemed suspiciously like a forced suggestion. What else would be found in the bottom of a stocking but an orange? But there is such a thing as free will, and maybe another audience would come up with a more creative find. No matter. It was still funny. Above all that, the show is surprisingly heartwarming. That should be no surprise, though: I feel this way each time I see the latest iteration of Christmas Queen. Now, if she can only remember to hold on to this warm and fuzzy feeling next year. > GUY M AC PHERSON


DECEMBER 7 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 35


ARTS

60

2017-18 60TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

Paula Kremer, Artistic Director

CHRISTMAS REPRISE XV Saturday, December 23, 2017 2pm  Holy Rosary Cathedral  646 Richards St. Vancouver The climactic chase scene in East Van Panto: Snow White & the Seven Dwarves hits such iconic spots as the old wooden rollercoaster. Emily Cooper photo.

For more information and tickets visit vancouvercantatasingers.com or call 604-730-8856

East Van Panto pulls in big laughs at Playland T HEAT RE

CHRISTMAS WITH

CHOR LEONI December 15 & 18 ST. ANDREW’S-WESLEY UNITED CHURCH VANCOUVER | 4:30 PM & 8 PM

December 16 WEST VANCOUVER UNITED CHURCH 1:30 PM SECTION A $45 | SECTION B $35 | SECTION C $30 SECTION D $25 | STUDENTS WITH ID $10

chorleoni.org 1.877.840.0457

36 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

Erick Lichte

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

EAST VAN PANTO: SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARVES By Mark Chavez, with music by Veda Hille. Directed by Anita Rochon. A Theatre Replacement Production. At the York Theatre on Friday, December 1. Continues until January 6

Laugh-out-loud, loving sendups of East Van stereotypes—and some excellent digs at West Van— couched in rewritten chart-topping songs of today and yesterday mean just one thing: it’s the annual East Van Panto! This year’s Panto—the fifth—is a hyperlocal and wonderfully creative reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. But this Snow White (Ming Hudson) is a Hot Topic goth whose evil stepmother, the Fitness Queen from West Van (Allan Zinyk), keeps her locked in her room all the time. When the Mirror (Amy Rutherford) informs the Queen that she has been usurped by Snow White as the fairest in the land, the Queen blackmails her unpaid intern Heimlich (Chirag Naik) to kill her stepdaughter. Instead, Heimlich confesses his murderous plot and helps Snow White escape to Playland, where she finds a ragtag group of aging rockers known as the Seven Dwarves living in the haunted house. The climactic chase scene is a raucous romp throughout the park grounds, featuring everything from the merrygo-round and the coaster to mini doughnuts and SuperDogs. The music is great (Veda Hille returns for her fifth year, with musical director Ben Elliott adding other touches), but there are some clear standout numbers, like the song in which the Queen wants to disguise herself as a “cool East Van mom”. Not only does she sing about her transformation potion to the tune of Salt-NPepa’s “Push It”, but her lengthy list of ingredients includes spot-on East Side women’s essentials like Blundstone boots and the DivaCup. Writer Mark Chavez’s script works well, and nicely balances the political with the silly. Adding famed East Van crow Canuck (Zinyk, pulling double duty) into the mix is brilliant. I particularly enjoyed Chavez’s excellent disruption of Snow White’s very name—it isn’t just “a reference to some antiquated, racist beauty standard”—and his total reinterpretation of the word fairest. Director Anita Rochon brings out the best in her cast, and their genuine joy at the quality of the material, and their commitment to it, is palpable. At one point, my niece, a sensitive child who just turned nine, was suddenly on my lap, scared that Snow

2

White was really dead. Two minutes later she was laughing hysterically, screaming something at the stage, and I realized that while I thoroughly enjoyed myself, it’s her perspective that really matters. So here is Ashley Warner-Smith’s review: “It’s hilarious and amazing. Give people a heads up about some of the scary moments. It’s amazing and the best.” > ANDREA WARNER

ONEGIN By Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. Based on the poem by Aleksandr Pushkin and the opera by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. Directed by Amiel Gladstone. An Arts Club Theatre production. At the Granville Island Stage on Saturday, December 2. Continues until December 31

If you’re anything like me, the

2 phrase “adapted from Pushkin

and Tchaikovsky” doesn’t send you sprinting to the box office. But the musical Onegin, written by Amiel Gladstone and singer-songwriter Veda Hille, is the opposite of the stuffiness that’s often associated with those two Russians. Instead, it’s electric, witty, and simply a ton of fun. As the cast sings, “It’s Russia, it’s winter, it’s a long time ago.” Evgeni Onegin (Alessandro Juliani) inherits his uncle’s country estate and visits the neighbours, the Larins. His friend Vladimir (Josh Epstein) is betrothed to Olga Larin (Lauren Jackson). But that doesn’t prevent Onegin from flirting with both Olga and her older, shier sister Tatyana (Meg Roe), who falls hard for him. He is the cat set among the pigeons, and a fracas ensues. Like, say, Rent, Onegin is a sungthrough musical, so there’s hardly any dialogue outside of the songs. Which is great, because Hille and Gladstone’s melodies are sumptuous and the cast is full of evocative singers. A theatre professor once told me that “70 percent of directing is casting.” Taking nothing away from Gladstone’s staging, the cast here is magnificent, full of confidence and charisma. Both in the writing and direction, Gladstone wields a light touch. Two jittering picture frames make a carriage, a few snowflakes suggest a storm. The stage is all Edison bulbs and wooden chandeliers above, with stacks of paperbacks below. With the eclectic costuming and the cast occasionally picking up an instrument, it feels like folk fest in a St. Petersburg antique shop. Ostensibly, the show is set near St. Petersburg in the early 19th century, but Gladstone plays fast and loose with time, place, and everything in between. Prince and Taylor Swift feature in the preshow music, see next page


NG I N E OP

! K EE W

Onegin, with Alessandro Juliani (left), is back and better than ever, boasting a charismatic cast, rich songs, and a boho-stylized design. David Cooper photo.

hip-hop and flamenco fire up the choreography, and bohemian costumes suggest The Cherry Orchard at Burning Man. Singing her gorgeous solo “Let Me Die”, Roe improbably accompanies herself on an electric guitar—and in her shimmering shift dress, she might be Leslie Feist. This postmodern approach extends to the performers, who enter from the back of the house and hobnob with the audience, out of character. There’s quite a bit of audience interaction—vodka shots are served at one point. So if that’s not your bag, don’t sit on the aisle. The plot is slight and hinges on that old trope of Russian literature: a duel. I did wonder why the play, having thrown off so many theatrical constraints, remained so shackled to this one. But that’s a quibble. This show is a remount of Onegin’s triumphant premiere in the spring of 2016. Since then, it’s played in Victoria, Toronto, and Ottawa, and taken home 10 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. I wouldn’t want every play to be as pomo and boho as this one, but Onegin is as good as any show you’ll see this year—and also a rollicking good time. > DARREN BAREFOOT

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE Adapted by Joseph Robinette from the novel by C.S. Lewis. Directed by Carole Higgins. A Carousel Theatre production. At the Waterfront Theatre on Sunday, November 26. Continues until December 31

The stakes are high when

2 you’re staging a beloved book

that’s already been made into a blockbuster movie. I’m happy to report that this Carousel Theatre production is a big success. The first and best-known of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe introduces the four Pevensie children, who are spending the summer in a country house. The youngest, Lucy, is the first to venture into an old wardrobe

and discover that it’s a portal to the magical land of Narnia. There she meets a faun, Mr. Tumnus, who informs her that the White Witch has cast a spell that makes it always winter but never Christmas. When Lucy brings her brother Edmund to Narnia, he falls under the Witch’s power. Their older siblings, Peter and Susan; a beaver couple; and Narnia’s formidable king, the lion Aslan, must come together to free him—and the whole kingdom—from the Witch’s grasp. Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of the story clips along, and director Carole Higgins helms a strong cast through fateful encounters (“Don’t drink it!” one young audience member cried out on opening night as Edmund accepted a warm mug from the Witch), sword fights, surreptitious journeys, and a battle staged symbolically with giant chess pieces. Kaitlyn Yott’s Lucy is wide-eyed and big-hearted; Chris Lam’s sullen, rebellious Edmund is her perfect foil. Sereana Malani’s imperiousness and evil cackle make her White Witch a genuinely scary villain, but the warmth and nobility that Ian Butcher brings to Aslan instill confidence that good will eventually triumph. Both Kayla Dunbar’s anxious Mr. Tumnus, whose legs quiver at the thought of the Witch’s revenge, and Nick Fontaine’s cranky Mr. Beaver inject humour into what is sometimes a solemn story. The design elements bring that story to eye-popping life. Shizuka Kai’s set celebrates its literary origins: the furniture and the landscape are all made of stacks and rows of books, and set elements are painted onto the floor like illustrations. Kiara Lawson’s costumes are terrific: the children are in period garb, the animals (and half-animals) are endearingly shaggy, and the Witch is an icy vision of white and silver. Darren Boquist’s sculptural lighting conjures everything from narrow forest paths to a warm hearth, and Julie Casselman’s original music underscores the adventure’s changing moods. Whether or not you’ve been to Narnia before, this trip is worth taking. Bring the family.

FAM ILY GROU & P DISC OUN SCHO TS + MATI OL NEES SFU Woodward’s Holiday tradition featuring over 30 live music numbers! Starring JIM BYRNES Award-winning Musician & Storyteller

BAH HUMBUG! An Eastside Christmas Carol directed by Jessie Award-winner James Fagan Tait

DECEMBER 7 – 16 | EVENINGS & MATINEES SFU’S GOLDCORP CENTRE FOR THE ARTS, 149 W. HASTINGS ST, VANCOUVER TICKETS & INFO AT

WWW.SFUWOODWARDS.CA Image Richard Tetrault, Alley Variation #3, woodcut and metal print 2012, with photo of Jim Byrnes by David Cooper.

Vancouver 24/7

#GeorgiaStraight

> KATHLEEN OLIVER

DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 37


ARTS

House plants and abstract forms come to CAG VISUAL AR TS ANDREW DADSON At the Contemporary Art Gallery until December 31

LYSE LEMIEUX At the Contemporary Art Gallery and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station until March 25, 2018

In 1971, Gathie Falk measout a picture-shaped rectangle of wild foliage in what was then an undeveloped area of Vancouver and spray-painted it red. Working by herself over a couple of days, she filmed her performance on her 8mm camera and titled it Landscape Painting. Some years later, she re-created the work so that it could be documented by others on videotape. Falk’s original intervention in the (semi) natural environment took place nine years before Andrew Dadson was born, and yet its form seems to preside over the younger Vancouver artist’s practice. Although his conceptual motivations are quite different from Falk’s, Dadson has pushed and prodded the interfaces between nature, culture, and the idea of landscape in similar ways. And, like Falk, he works across media and materials, including painting, performance, installation, photography, and film. I thought about the precedent Falk created when I first encountered images of the squares and rectangles of land and lawn that Dadson painted black earlier in his career, and again when I saw his recent large photograph of a white-painted patch of West Coast rainforest. (This work is on display in the Polygon Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, N. Vancouver.) I thought about Falk again when curator Kimberly Phillips toured

2 ured

Andrew Dadson’s House Plants (detail) take on a familiar purple glow; Lyse Lemieux’s Full Frontal gets bold in black and white.

a group of us through Dadson’s solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery. Phillips recounted some of his history, citing the inf luence of American artist Robert Smithson and his well-documented visits to Vancouver in 1969-70. Still, the artist who sprang to my mind was Gathie Falk. Dadson’s CAG show, Site for Still Life, includes a mixed-media installation, two large and four small painted works, and a double film projection. The installation, House Plants, consists of a grouping of large, handsome tropicals— among them, dracaena, palm, fig, and cactus—in terra-cotta pots. (In her 1985 installation My Dog’s

Bones, Falk used little spruce trees in pots.) Here, plants and pots have been whitewashed with a biodegradable, milk-based paint, then set on a white platform and lit with multicoloured grow-lights. Of the kind used in marijuana grow-ops (a nice West Coast–y touch), the lights throw faint green shadows and half-rainbows onto the wall behind. (In My Dog’s Bones, Falk painted silvery shadows on the wall.) Sourced by the artist from Craigslist, the houseplants are embedded with histories of care, cultivation, and the human impulse to re-create elements of the natural world within the domestic setting. What’s

poignant here is that our domestic settings have necessitated the eradication of vast tracts of the natural landscape, and the plants we surround ourselves with to compensate for this loss are a long way from native to the region. During the course of the exhibition, however, Dadson’s plants will sprout new, green growth and also shed flakes of paint, reasserting something of their “natural” character against the social and cultural constructs imposed upon them. Dadson’s series of “Restretch Paintings” involve his applying many, many layers of paint to stretched canvas, and repeatedly scraping the paint off the rect-

angular surface so that it masses and dries in thick, voluptuous rolls at the edges. Eventually, the works, now sculptures, are removed from their stretchers, f lipped, remounted on blank canvas, and over-painted black or white. Where we expect to see layers of applied colour in each work’s rough edges, as in, say, Jeffrey Spalding’s black paintings from the 1970s, currently on view in Entangled at the Vancouver Art Gallery, we encounter earthy materials, such as mulch and soil, that Dadson has mixed into the oil paint. Rather than depicting the landscape, these works incorporate it. Again, it’s interesting to see Dadson’s environmental focus woven into the conceptual strategies of his predecessors. Lyse Lemieux’s solo exhibition Full Frontal is installed in the windows that wrap the CAG’s exterior, and also in the windows surrounding the entrance to the YaletownRoundhouse Canada Line station. The two commissioned works are big, black-and-white abstractions that riff on some of the forms and ideas Lemieux introduced in her Richmond Art Gallery show last year. Printed on vinyl, two storeys high, the installation at the CAG employs tall, slightly tilted ovals as symbols of the human figure. Human presence also occurs in abstractly patterned passages, with suggestions here of woven fabric and clothing—of stitching, pleats, and folds. The solidity and monumentality of the elliptical forms are gently countered by suggestions of dancing threads, unravelling edges, and porous boundaries between inside and out. The work serves to warm and enliven both the building’s exterior and, by extension, all the chilly concrete that predominates in the area. > ROBIN LAURENCE

VIVALDI’S

THE FOUR SEASONS

A TIMELESS CLASSIC! FEATURING LIVE MUSIC & SEASONAL CAROLS

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15 & 16 8PM, CHAN CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, UBC SUNDAY DECEMBER 17 2PM, MASSEY THEATRE, NEW WESTMINSTER Philippe Quint violin/leader

Christie Reside flute*

HASSE Sinfonia in G minor TELEMANN Concerto for Flute and Violin in E minor* GEMINIANI/CORELLI Concerto grosso No. 12 in D minor, La folia VIVALDI The Four Seasons

Russell Roberts Photo: David Cooper

The VSO’s traditional presentation of Vivaldi’s timeless classic, The Four Seasons. Philippe Quint, one of the most lyrical, elegant, and poetic violinists in the world today, will perform this enduring favourite, on the magnificent 1708 “Ruby” Stradivarius violin. @VSOrchestra

TICKETS: vancouversymphony.ca 38 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

SUPPORTED BY

CHARLES DICKENS ADAPTED BY MICHAEL SHAMATA DIRECTED BY RACHEL PEAKE BY

MEDIA SPONSOR

604.876.3434

MAINSTAGE | DECEMBER 7 – 24, 2017 - TICKETS AND INFORMATION GatewayTheatre.com | (604) 270-1812 GatewayTheatreBC

@Gateway_Theatre MEDIA SPONSOR

Gateway_Theatre


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DECEMBER 7 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 39


of James Fagan Tait. Stars musician and storyteller Jim Byrnes. Dec 7-16, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 W. Hastings). Info www.sfuwoodwards.ca/.

THE REALISTIC JONESES Will Eno’s play sees a man and a woman and their neighbours face life-altering problems. Dec 7-17, Vancity Culture Lab (the Cultch, 1895 Venables). Tix $22-30 (plus service charges and fees), info tickets.thecultch.com/.

ar ts/ timeout THEATRE DANCE MUSIC COMEDY ET CETERA GALLERIES MUSEUMS

< < < < < < <

THEATRE 2OPENINGS HOW STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE Some Assembly Theatre Company presents writer-actor Nicholas Harrison’s play that explores how Star Wars helped guide him as an artist, father, and compassionate human being. Dec 6-10, Performance Works (1218 Cartwright, Granville Island). Tix from $20, info www.starwarssavedmylife.com/. BAH HUMBUG! Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol comes to life in modernday East Vancouver under the direction

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a stage adaptation of the Academy Award–winning animated film. Includes music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Dec 7–Jan 13, 2018, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville). Info www.artsclub.com/. A CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS Vancouver Children’s Choir and Brittanica Repertory Theatre present a reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Dec 7, 8, 7:30-9:30 pm, Christ Church Cathedral (690 Burrard). Tix from free to $20, info www.vancouverchildrenschoir.ca/. A CHRISTMAS CAROL Gateway Theatre presents a stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic tale of a miser who changes his ways after he is visited by ghosts. Dec 7-24, 8 pm, Gateway Theatre (6500 Gilbert Rd., Richmond). Info www. gatewaytheatre.com/. CLIMB EVERY BEANSTALK: A CHRISTMAS PANTO The Broadway Chorus presents a production that features popular pantomime traditions, such as fairy-tale plot lines, gender swapping, and familiar tunes taken out of context. Dec 13-16, 8 pm, Performance Works (1218 Cartwright, Granville Island). Tix $25/20/15, info www.thebroadwaychorus.com/.

2ONGOING THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Stacey Kaser and Alison Kelly’s play about a perfectionist who’s desperately holding fast to her Christmas traditions. To Dec 24, Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre (162 W. 1st). Info www.artsclub.com/. ONEGIN The Arts Club Theatre Company presents Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille’s musical about a dissipated rogue whose romantic charms stir the passions of the residents of a country estate. Based on the poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky. To Dec 31, Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston, Granville Island). Info www.artsclub.com/. ALMOST, MAINE Pacific Theatre presents director Kaitlin Williams’s play about the joys and perils of romance, set in a small town in Maine. To Dec 16, 8 pm, Pacific Theatre (1440 W. 12th). Tix $20-36.50, info www.pacifictheatre.org/. THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE Carousel Theatre for Young People presents Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of the C.S. Lewis book about four siblings who step through a wardrobe into an enchanted land. To Jan 6, Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island). Tix $35/29/18, info www. carouseltheatre.ca/production/the-lionthe-witch-and-the-wardrobe/. YOU ARE IT Boca del Lupo presents a play that looks at how a female friendship develops. To Dec 9, The Fishbowl on Granville Island (1398 Cartwright). Tix $1520, info www.bocadellupo.com/. EAST VAN PANTO: SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES Theatre Replacement’s kid-friendly production sees the title character flee the wicked Queen

straight choices

2ONGOING

CHORAL HEAVEN For those needing a lift this season, there is perhaps no more rousing experience than attending a live rendition of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. Vancouver Bach Choir gives what is arguably the greatest choral piece ever written a grand performance, its 90 able voices joined by all-Canadian soloists—soprano Melanie Krueger, mezzo Emma Parkinson, tenor Isaiah Bell, and baritone Gregory Dahl. Members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra provide the transcendent accompaniment. The annual celebration takes place on Saturday (December 9) at the Orpheum; from there, it may send you back out into the crisp downtown streets with “Hallelujah!” on your mind. of North Vancouver across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, landing at the PNE. To Jan 6, York Theatre (639 Commercial). Tix from $22, info www.thecultch.com/events/eastvan-panto-snow-white-seven-dwarves/.

LITTLE DICKENS The Daisy Theatre presents Ronnie Burkett’s take on Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol. To Dec 22, The Cultch (1895 Venables). Tix $22-69, info www.thecultch. com/events/little-dickens-daisy-theatre/.

DANCE 2THIS WEEK MIXED NUTS The Arts Umbrella Dance Company presents an all-ages retelling of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Dec 8-10, Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton). Tix from $25, info www.artsumbrella.com/.

HOLIDAY CHEER

Nicole Lizée Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa Wallgrin Carman J. Price

DEC 14 & 15, 2017 | 8PM H E R I TAG E H A LL , 3 102 M A I N S TR E E T This concert is generously sponsored by Eileen Mate

VANCOUVER THEATRESPORTS LEAGUE Some of the world’s most daring and innovative improv. Christmas Queen 4: Secret Santa (Wed, Thu, Fri, and Sat, 7:30 pm); Christmas Queen Drag Race (Sat, 11:15 pm); #NoFilter (Thu, 9:15 pm); Ok Tinder (Fri, 11:15 pm); Rookie Night (Sun, 7:30 pm); TheatreSports (Tue, 7:30 pm; Wed, 9:15 pm; Fri and Sat, 9:30 pm). Dec 6-13, The Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau, Granville Island). Info www. vtsl.com/.

2THIS WEEK CHRISTMAS QUEEN 4: SECRET SANTA The Vancouver TheatreSports League presents a holiday-themed comedy show that sees the Queen and Santa exchange bodies in a Freaky Friday–style magical sleight of hand. To Dec 23, The Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau, Granville Island). Info www.vtsl.com/.

on the web!

For up-to-the-minute, searchable Arts listings on your phone, visit

www.straight.com

MUSIC

ET CETERA

2THIS WEEK

2THIS WEEK

HANDEL’S MESSIAH Leslie Dala conducts soprano Melanie Krueger, mezzo soprano Emma Parkinson, tenor Isaiah Bell, baritone Gregory Dahl, and the Vancouver Bach Choir in a performance of Handel’s masterpiece. Dec 9, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe). Info www.vancouverbachchoir.com/. MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT! SONGS AND CAROLS FOR CHOIR AND HARP The Laudate Singers and guest harpist Joy Yeh present Britten’s Ceremony of Carols alongside music by Bruce Sled and Kristopher Fulton. Dec 10, 3 pm, St. Andrew’s United Church (1044 St. George’s Ave.). Tix $30/25/10/kids under 12 free, info www.laudatesingers.com/. TAKACS QUARTET Friends of Chamber Music presents the Colorado-based classical ensemble in a performance of works by Mozart, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn. Dec 12, 8-10 pm, Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton). Tix $55/50/15, info www.friendsofchambermusic.ca/. ENSEMBLE MADE IN CANADA Music in the Morning presents the Canadian piano quartet. Dec 13-14, 10:30-11:30 am, Dunbar Ryerson United Church (2205 W. 45th). Tix $38/35/17, info www.musicinthemor ning.org/.

COMEDY 2JUST ANNOUNCED JFL NORTHWEST The third annual comedy festival features performances by Bill Burr, Trevor Noah, Jo Koy, Maria Bamford, Brian Regan, Jay Pharoah, Anthony Jeselnik, Mike Birbiglia, Nikki Glaser, Jim Norton, The Fighter and the Kid Live, Sasheer Zamata,

40 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

YUK YUK’S COMEDY CLUB 2837 Cambie, 604-696-9857, www.yukyuks. com/vancouver/. Comedy club with Top Talent Tue at 8 pm, amateur night Wed at 8 pm, and professional headliners Thu-Fri at 8 pm and Sat at 7 and 9:30 pm. Cover Tue $10, Wed $7, Thu $10, and Fri-Sat $20. 2JAMES KENNEDY Dec 7-9 2CEDRIC NEWMAN Dec 14-16 2JANE STANTON Dec 22-23 2KATHLEEN MCGEE Dec 29-30

PAUL ANTHONY’S TALENT TIME: 10TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Highlights include comedy by Charlie Demers, song and dance by Perry Ehrich’s ShowStoppers, and seasonal favourites by the kids at Vanleena Dance Academy. Dec 7, 8-10:15 pm, Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). Tix $14/12, info www.talenttime.biz.

PEACE ON EARTH The Universal Gospel Choir presents its annual holiday concert. Dec 9, 3 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza (650 Hamilton). Tix $40/35/30, info www.universalgospelchoir.ca/.

MINUS THE MISTLETOE

FEATURING

THE COMEDY MIX 1015 Burrard, Century Plaza Hotel & Spa, 604-684-5050, www. thecomedymix.com/. Comedy club with pro-am night Tue at 8:30 pm, showcase Wed at 8:30 pm, and featured headliners Thu at 8:30 pm and Fri-Sat at 8 and 10:30 pm. Cover $8 Tue, $10 Wed, $15 Thu, $18 Fri, $20 Sat. 2GABRIEL RUTLEDGE Dec 7-9 2CHRIS LOCKE Dec 14-16 2KEVIN BANNER Dec 21-23 2BIG JAY OAKERSON Jan 11-13 2MATT BRAUNGER Jan 18-20

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION OF MUSIC AND DANCE The New Westminster Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Academy of Dance present a seasonal celebration featuring music favourites and selections from The Nutcracker. Dec 8, 7:30 pm, Massey Theatre (735 8th Ave., New West). Tix $19, info www.masseytheatre. com/event/nwso-christmas-concert/.

A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS Conductor William Rowson, host Christopher Guest, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, EnChor and director Gerald van Wyck, and the UBC Opera Ensemble and director Nancy Hermiston present a concert of carols, Christmas classics, and audience sing-alongs. Dec 8-10, St. Andrew’s–Wesley United Church (1022 Nelson). Info www.vancouversymphony.ca/.

TICKETS $39 | STUDENTS $15 | CELEBRATE A NEW TRADITION!

Todd Barry, Ari Shaffir, Jake and Amir, Rachel Feinstein, This Is That, Ryan Hamilton, Beth Stelling, Kyle Kinane, Tom Papa, Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, Ronny Chieng, Vir Das, SiriusXM’s Top Comic Showcase, Ali Siddiq, Brent Morin, Debra Digiovanni, Brendan Schaub, and The Alternative Show with Andy Kindler. Mar 1-10, various Vancouver venues. Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, at www.jflnorthwest.com/.

FIGHT FOR BEAUTY Exhibition features public art projects undertaken with worldclass creatives, architecture from architects who are artists in their own right, and fashion by some of the greatest designers in recent history. To Dec 17, Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place). Free admission, info www.fightforbeauty.ca/. KURIOS: CABINET OF CURIOSITIES Cirque du Soleil presents a new production that takes you into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space, and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. To Dec 31, Concord Pacific Place (88 Pacific). Tix from $49, info www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios/. VANCOUVER CHRISTMAS MARKET Yuletide celebration features more than 75 vendor huts, authentic German food and drink, a carousel, a 30-foot-tall walk-in Christmas tree, live entertainment, and family-friendly activities. To Dec 24, Jack Poole Plaza (1055 Canada Place). Tix $10/9/5/kids under six free, info www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com/.

GALLERIES VANCOUVER ART GALLERY 750 Hornby, 604-662-4719, www.vanartgallery. bc.ca/. 2ENTANGLED: TWO VIEWS ON CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN PAINTING (exhibition offers insight into two distinctly different modes of painting that have come to dominate contemporary painting in Canada) to Jan 1

MUSEUMS THE MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT UBC 6393 NW Marine Drive, 604-822-5087, www.moa.ubc.ca/. 2THE FABRIC OF OUR LAND: SALISH WEAVING (exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the past 200 years of Salish wool weaving) to Apr 15

TIME OUT ARTS LISTINGS are a public service provided free of charge, based on available space and editorial discretion. We can’t guarantee inclusion, and we give priority to events taking place within one week of publication. Submit listings online using the event-submission form at straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it into the paper due to space constraints will appear on the website.


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MOVIES REVIEWS THE DISASTER ARTIST Starring James Franco. Rated 14A

As with Ed Wood, its nearest cinematic neigh-

2 bour, you don’t need to have seen its subject’s

work to get the surprisingly sweet-toned humour that comes mostly at a pseudo-auteur’s expense. Unlike Wood, who fancied himself a cinephile with an actual career (who can forget the Dadaistic demo derby called Plan 9 From Outer Space?), Tommy Wiseau has only made one movie: The Room. It’s not the dark sociological study that launched little Jacob Tremblay’s career but an extreme-vanity project for the mysteriously wealthy Wiseau (director James Franco here), who financed the 2003 debacle himself. The lank-haired oddball peopled his incomprehensible story with low-grade beginners, led by his new best friend, Greg Sestero, played by Dave Franco with just the right amount of reverent awe. (The Franco brothers are only three years apart in age, but appear to be almost two decades.) Greg’s

A Disaster in the making

Tommy Wiseau and friends attend the not quite spectacular premiere of The Room in director-star James Franco’s affectionate biopic, The Disaster Artist.

Rolling Stones songs, what’s GOD’S OWN COUNTRY actually coming is the 19th Starring Josh O’Connor. Rating unavailable version of the Animation Time was when you had to leave your rural Show of Shows. The venerhome for city lights if you were even the able touring festival, curated Cult movie fans aren’t the only ones who’ll enjoy an A-lister’s by Acme Filmworks founder slightest bit different and didn’t want to hide it. Set Ron Diamond, has generally in a bleakly beautiful Yorkshire farmscape (hence sweet-toned take on the genesis of a Z-movie phenomenon been more consistent than the title), God’s Own Country isn’t particularly a good-looking suburbanite too shy to really earlier rivals like Spike & Mike and the Sick & fixed on one calendar or another, but it’s definitely make the leap into acting. So he’s knocked out by Twisted series. But this year’s presentation is un- a statement of today. The story itself, courtesy of actor turned writerTommy’s fearless take on A Streetcar Named De- usual in that there isn’t one dud in the 16 shorts director Francis Lee, is sure to remind people of sire, which has him literally climbing the scenery offered in a perfectly paced 90 minutes. Timely themes of alienation, wonder, and loss Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain”, a spare in a class led by Melanie Griffith (who has somerun through even the most playful of these inter- New Yorker short story later turned into a more how morphed into Ivana Trump). Turns out fearlessness is the older guy’s only national efforts. As usual, there are oldies mixed elaborate movie by Ang Lee. This Lee’s film has a true talent. Saddled with a weird, vampirical vis- in, including 1993’s whimsical “Next Door”, by raw-boned immediacy and depends only on four age and a heavy eastern European accent he re- Pete Docter, who went on to create Monsters, Inc. thinly drawn characters to move the story forward. Josh O’Connor (The Riot Club and Florence Foster fuses to acknowledge, Tommy pretends to know and Up, and “The Hangman”, a 1964 parable that a little bit about everything, with no depth sug- looks at the murderous intentions of the blind Jenkins) manages to hold the screen as blank-faced Johnny Saxby, a gormless postadolescent yobbo gested. Still, he somehow has an extra apartment nationalism recurring today. Other filmlets, like France’s “Unsatisfying who has given up any shot at university or the outin L.A., and can let Greg stay there for free. What follows their move is an exceptionally Compilation” and Switzerland’s painting-based side world since his hard-driving farmer father had amusing montage of show-biz fits and starts, with “The Battle of San Romano”, toy with basic forms a stroke. And can we just pause here to ponder how Judd Apatow, playing an unnamed big-shot produ- and viewer expectations. The strongest efforts weird it is to see Ian Hart, who so perfectly embodcer, delivering the coup de grâce to Tommy’s dreams here, though, are longer explorations of self-con- ied John Lennon in two fine ’90s movies, playing a of being the next Brando. When Greg suggests that tained realities. Also from France comes “Gokurô- bitter, taciturn old geezer in a wheelchair? Johnny’s mum (Brit-TV veteran Gemma they simply make their own movie, Tommy actually sama”, set in a neon-lit, mock-Asian shopping mall makes it happen—proving, in the end, that talent where everything goes wrong, then right. One Jones) is made of even sterner stuff, and you can and hard work don’t necessarily have that much to surprise is the melancholy hand-drawn “Dear almost see why our pale-faced antihero escapes do with each other. (This is where Seth Rogen steps Basketball” that Kobe Bryant produced and nar- nightly to a rural pub, where he gets puke-faced in, as an assistant director who voices the WTF? fac- rates, contemplating his own retirement. If the and has it off with the odd willing lad in the overemphatic musical score sounds like John Wil- grungy W.C. His rut, as it were, is interrupted tor on behalf of the crew, and the audience.) when the parents buy a week’s worth of day The Disaster Artist’s emotional core comes from liams, that’s because it is. For me, the absolute showstopper was the labour from a handsome, introspective Romathe codependent relationship between the two leads, and its humour, although self-evident, is 15-minute “The Burden”, by Sweden’s Niki Lin- nian immigrant named Gheorghe (Alec Secaunderlined through side-by-side shots under the droth von Bahr, who builds miniature worlds— reanu), who speaks good English and knows a credits. The lasting message is really about living like the supermarket, hotel, and industrial park in lot more about sheep than Johnny does. Naturally, the local Brexit types, including your chutzpah to the fullest. “After today,” says the this one—and then writes spooky, modern-clasfictional Tommy during a re-creation of the real sical songs for animal puppets to sing. (Who knew the Saxbys, treat Gheorghe with disdain. But an ATV trip to a far paddock for some repairs leads movie’s first day of shooting, “none of ourselves will fish worried about skin conditions and divorce?) Actually, the less you know about these things, to an overnight stay. (How big is this farm, anybe same!” Not beautifully said. But close enough! > KEN EISNER the better. Just trust that you (especially if given way?) And Johnny lets his guard down on several the proper medication) will sail blissfully out of fronts. It’s easy to see why he’s drawn to the enTHE 19TH ANNUAL ANIMATION the Rio Theatre, which hosts this program spor- igmatic stranger, a little harder to fathom what SHOW OF SHOWS adically over the next few weeks. That’s because Gheorghe sees in him. Still, the acting is strong it ends with the supercosmic trailer for “Every- enough to keep up audience investment, and the In English, French, and Swedish, with English thing”, a galaxy-hopping game by Ireland’s David movie’s finish offers the kind of self-assertion subtitles. Rating unavailable OReilly. The narration is a vintage recording by that makes it a little easier to get through 2017. Here it comes. Here it comes your 19th nerv- Alan Watts, who puts the Zen back in Now. > KEN EISNER > KEN EISNER ous breakdown. Sorry! Putting aside vintage see next page

2

2

WEEK IN WIDESCREEN

MOVIES

The projector

Outliers ERIC ROHMER: ANCIENT AND MODERN

Wrapping up its mammoth retrospective of the French filmmaker’s work, the Cinematheque presents this extras package featuring Rohmer’s least typical work, beginning with the artifice-drenched Perceval and historical drama The Marquise of O, on Saturday (December 9). -

42 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

What to see and where to see it

1

LOYALTIES Anne Wheeler presents her classic feature debut, about two women divided by class but united by grim experience, in a free screening at the Cinematheque on Thursday (December 7).

2

THE POLAR EXPRESS 3D Robert

3

RUDE See Clement Virgo’s remarkable 1995 debut, “a landmark of African-Canadian cinema” according to TIFF, in yet another free screening at the Cinematheque, on Wednesday (December 13).

Spoonful

Zemeckis’s animated Christmas favourite returns to the big screen for one night only at International Village and participating Cineplex theatres, on Saturday (December 9).

SIDEMEN: THE LONG ROAD TO GLORY Muddy

Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were the stars, but they got there with the help of the three men—pianist Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and guitarist Hubert Sumlin—finally given their long-deserved due in Scott Rosenbaum’s doc. Screens twice at the Vancity Theatre on Monday (December 11). -


TOM OF FINLAND Starring Pekka Strang. In Finnish, German, and English, with English subtitles. Rating unavailable

Although still too polite by at

2 least 12 inches, the best parts

of this distinctly tasteful biopic take place early on, when a young Touko Laaksonen must reckon with his sexuality on the battlefield during the Second World War. As a phalanx of Finnish soldiers take a refreshing skinny-dip in an icy river, and a further phalanx of swinging cocks is kept discreetly out of frame, our hero looks up to see a superior officer giving him the subtlest of signals. Focusing on the codes, gestures, and other furtive forms of covert communication that defined the queer underground in conservative postwar Helsinki is what Tom of Finland does well, especially with its shrewd lead performance by Pekka Strang. (Think half Tom Hiddleston, half David Thewlis.) Still, this is Finland’s candidate for the 2017 Oscar, so it isn’t about to push the envelope too much, even if its subject’s splendid portraits of grotesquely overendowed (or so I hear) beefcake pioneered a kind of avantporn, and invented wholesale the militantly out-of-the-closet leatherboy vibe of the ’70s. A successful commercial artist 20 years earlier, Laaksonen secretly produced cartoonish images of rutting hunks that he’d pass to possible conquests, sometimes taking a punch in the face for his efforts, other times, more happily, receiving a bobbing head on his Lapland. This is how he first meets Veli (Lauri Tilkanen), the eventual love of his life and a further blow to equally smitten sister Kaija (Jessica Grabowsky), who only just tolerates her brother’s “sickness”. Tom of Finland briefly moves to California when Laaksonen’s fortunes begin to rise in the ’70s, but it becomes a weak-tea Boogie Nights along the way. The film has a neat way of dramatizing how the artist subverted authority figures (and his own war trauma) into superfetishized erotica—there’s plenty of cop in those pictures—but the latter half is about flag-waving. Grappling with Laaksonen’s creative block during the AIDS crisis is necessary, but a cutesy shout-out to samesex marriage is so out of context here that it almost wrecks the film, which has otherwise become bored with its own conventionality. With a body of work this deeply humorous (porno-cheek, maybe?), why would Tom of Finland want to play it so straight?

other—she coulda been somebody and he just wants a drink—resembles The Honeymooners as reimagined by Tennessee Williams. If there’s an Art Carney in this scenario, it’s not Ed Norton, unfortunately, but Justin Timberlake, who tries to breathe some youthful life into the half-written part of Mickey, an aspiring playwright and summer lifeguard. He begins the film by narrating it, but this device is dropped, as the would-be artiste falls first for Ginny and then for Humpty’s grown daughter (Juno Temple), on the run from her gangster husband. Why this marked woman would take a high-visibility job at Ginny’s clam joint is one of many plot threads that don’t seem thought-through. All these faux-working-class characters pretty much degenerate into the most stereotyped versions of themselves by the end of the laugh-free tale. If anything, Allen’s direction is too unobtrusive, allowing Winslet to turn in the kind of ham-fisted performance that actors later regret. Ultimately, there’s little to validate attacks on or defences of Allen’s private character. But the careless way he’s built his story goes to a kind of intellectual corruption; Wonder Wheel feels like it was made by someone who doesn’t know real people— only the kind he has seen in movies. > KEN EISNER

ANOTHER WOLFCOP Starring Leo Fafard. Rated 18A

Apparently, quite a few people

2 thought WolfCop—the 2014 hor-

ror-comedy about an alcoholic werewolf policeman battling ancient shapeshifters in small-town Canada—was an okay movie. It holds a “fresh” rating of 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with some critics seeing it as an entertaining throwback to the cheap directto-video gore efforts of the ’80s. I wasn’t one of those critics; I failed to see any charm in the braindead dialogue and weak acting. My negative review even resulted in one of the WolfCop producers shooting

off an irate email that explained in detail why my opinion sucked. My personal slagging of WolfCop wasn’t the silver bullet required to put the hairy beast out of its misery, though, because writer-director Lowell Dean just followed it up with Another WolfCop. The good news is that the sequel is vastly superior to the original. The bad news is that it’s still pretty awful. The plot this time revolves around an evil millionaire businessman (Murdoch Mysteries’ Yannick Bisson), who’s about to reopen a hockey rink/brewery in the wee burg of Woodhaven (actually Regina and Sudbury). He’s also promoting a new product, Chicken Milk Stout, so we get to see slumming American filmmaker-podcaster Kevin Smith holler the drink’s new slogan “Slam a cold cock!” in a cameo as the town’s interim mayor. About a quarter of the way through Another WolfCop the best thing about the franchise—its old-school, practical creature and gore effects—gets showcased in a manic sequence that connects a gooey werewolf transformation, grisly deaths in a strip club, and a belly-bursting scene in which a green, Ghoulies-type minimonster erupts from the gut of perpetually stunned moron Willie (Jonathan Cherry), best bud of titular lycanthrope Lou Garou (Leo Fafard). This bulbous, bug-eyed protuberance actually provides the funniest lines in the film, cracking wise with a barrage of rude one-liners. And once it detaches itself from Willie and scurries away, you start thinking that maybe Dean’s script was inspired somewhat by 2013’s Bad Milo!, the first poo-based “ass demon” movie ever made. That’s not a compliment. All the lowbrow action culminates in a blood-drenched hockey game where ’80s Canuck hitmaker Gowan plays a demented organist named Organo, who sings a psycho version of the national anthem before a guntoting Willie says: “It’s time to die, you strange animal.” Get it? > STEVE NEWTON

EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY details at straight.com

> ADRIAN MACK

WONDER WHEEL Starring Kate Winslet. Rated PG

Like many others, I’m reexammy relationship with Woody Allen. Mostly, I’ve been able to separate his art from his somewhat shady-looking life, but that’s been harder lately, both because the shadow has been growing larger and because the art itself has drawn too much attention to his deficits. Aside from a few convoluted references, there’s really nothing about ageinappropriate relationships in Wonder Wheel. The title comes from a giant Ferris wheel at Coney Island, once a mecca of big-city boardwalk glamour, now going seedy in the early ’50s. (Allen makes soundtrack concessions to pop culture of that period, but a recurrent Mills Brothers number from 20 years earlier declares his retro preference.) As happened with last year’s Café Society, with similar themes, the real star is the cinematography by Vittorio Storaro, the Bernardo Bertolucci veteran here making a leap into boldly saturated digital colours. The beach and boardwalk scenes pop, but the main action is decidedly stagey. Much of it happens in a kind of cabin in the sky behind the titular wheel. The set is arresting, but also the kind of thing you used to see in live-TV plays in that era. The way Ginny (Kate Winslet), a failed actress now working in a clam house, and her lunkheaded husband, Humpty (Jim Belushi), go at each

2 ining

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MOVIES

ERIC ROHMER:

Warmed by winter movies

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HILARIOUS AND AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF FUN.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;

Laara Sadiq lends her voice to this passionate animated take on the Deborah Ellis novel, in which a girl in Taliban-era Afghanistan disguises herself as a boy to keep the family fed. (December 15)

BLACK CHRISTMAS Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey, and Margot Kidder (plus preâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;SCTV Andrea Martin) star in Bob Clarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Canuck horror classic from 1974, at the Cinematheque for one night only. (December 21)

Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig headline Alexander Payneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dark satire about people who choose to shrink themselves down to a neat four inches (to combat overpopulation, obviously!), although word is that Vietnamese actor Hong Chau emerges as the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s real giant. (December 22)

DOWNSIZING

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

I LAUGHED SO HARD MY THROAT HURTS.â&#x20AC;?

DEC 9

FRANCO IS ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL .â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;

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DEC 10

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Miserly J. Paul Getty refuses to pony up when kidnappers take his grandson, receiving a severed ear as a booby prize. Alternatively: Kevin Spacey nails it as Christopher Plummer. (December 22) CITY LIGHTS Charlie Chaplinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all-

time greatest returns to the Cinematheque along with Days of Heaven, Paris, Texas, and a handful of other Essential Big Screen selections. (Starts December 22)

MOLLYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GAME Jessica Chastain stars as the Hollywood lady who ran the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest-stakes poker game, until the FBI came knocking. Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut, so maybe this should be called Mollyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gab. (December 25)

Dunkirk, Lucky, and Blade Runner 2049 are among the titles returning to the Vancity Theatre for its annual roundup of the yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bestest. (Starts December 26)

BEST OF 2017

2018

ITALIAN

FILM

FESTIVAL

16 COARSE LANGUAGE

*AS OF DECEMBER 4

IN THEATRES TOMORROW, SPECIAL SHOWTIMES TONIGHT! CHECK THEATRE DIRECTORY FOR LOCATIONS AND SHOWTIMES

44 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 / 2017

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DECEMBER 17

DECEMBER 15

Classics old and new come together at the Vancity Theatre, beginning with Martin Scorseseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heartfelt My Voyage to Italy and ending six days later with the very hot Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle. (Starts January 5)

SEE WWW.RIOTHEATRE.CA FOR COMPLETE LISTINGS & UPDATED CALENDAR

THE POST Meryl Streep comes on-

board for the latest from the Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks happy time creative history program, this time taking on the story behind the Pentagon Papersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;allegedly. (January 12)

HAPPY END Isabelle Huppert reunites with director Michael Haneke for a scathing look at the indiscreet charmlessness of the 21st-century French bourgeoisie. (January 12) THE FINAL YEAR Documentarian

Greg Barker goes inside the White House for the last photogenic 12 months of the Obama administration. (January 19) see page 46


GIFT GUIDE

The best kind of Christmas gift is arguably

BY JOHN LU CAS, M IKE US IN G ER, AND KATE WI LSON

the one you’re secretly buying for yourself. Sure, your punk-obsessed teenager is the ostensible recipient of that four-disc Sex Pistols reissue, but don’t even front like you’re not going to be blasting Never Mind the Bollocks and pogoing around the living room when no one else is home. And there’s no sense pretending that you won’t be reading that copy of Dylan Jones’s David Bowie: A Life that you allegedly bought for your significant other. Slightly more tricky are the things you buy for the music lovers who don’t live under your own roof. For instance, it will start to seem a tad suspect that you “just happened to be in the neighbourhood” and decided to stop by and see how your cousin Steve’s new Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster is doing. Sometimes you just need to wake up on Christmas morning to find that Santa Claus has tucked a Strat of your very own under the tree—even if the jolly old elf isn’t the one who has to pay the credit-card bill in January. It used to be that death was a prerequisite for sainthood, but the folks at Kitschup Creations apparently don’t subscribe to that notion. Sure, their Celebrity Prayer Candles line features many likenesses of the dear departed (including David Bowie, Prince, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, and 2Pac), but it will also enable you to show your devotion to Katy Perry, Drake, Adele, and Justin Bieber. There are plenty of nonmusical celebs on offer as well, and these could actually be a handy dating filter. If you let a Tinder date take you home and you spot a Steve Harvey, Donald Trump, or Guy Fieri prayer candle in their pad, get the fuck out of there. (US$24 at www.celeb rityprayercandleskc.com/ )

CELEBRITY PRAYER CANDLES

MARSHALL BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS Thanks

to Vancouver’s impossible real-estate market, the

Give the gift of music stuff

Clockwise from top left: Celebrity Prayer Candles; Apple AirPods; Star Wars: A New Hope 40th-anniversary box set; Metallica’s Master of Puppets sweater.

room, and an Acton in the bathroom—each blaring “Sweet Child o’ Mine” loud enough to terrorize In which we learn that wires are for losers, metalheads the poor tenants in your mortgage helper. (From wear sweaters, and Fleetwood Mac and Cheese exists $324.99 at www.marshall days when a music connoisseur had room for a headphones.com/mh_ca_en/speakers/) wall-mounted Marantz stereo system and Stonehenge-sized KEF Coda speakers are long gone. APPLE AIRPODS If you were stoked to get your Because we’re all shoehorned into 400-square-foot current-gen iPhone out of the box, only to woncondos, small-and-powerful is king. Sonos has der where the hell the headphone jack was, you’re cornered the smart-speaker market with a product evidently living in the past. All the cool kids are that sounds great but looks nondescript. Obses- going wireless, because wires are for losers, apparsives who value design as well as function will get ently. AirPod earbuds are driven by the W1 chip, a far bigger jolt out of a line of Marshall speakers which according to Apple produces “extremely that range from the shoebox-sized Acton model efficient wireless for a better connection and imto the waking-up-the-neighbours Woburn. Each proved sound”. And five hours of battery life on unit looks like a miniature Marshall—the legend- a single charge, too. You can also use AirPods to ary amps favoured by rock gods like Slash, Eddie listen to your iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and (preVan Halen, and Slayer’s Kerry King. Proving you sumably) incoming transmissions from Skynet. can sometimes judge quality by weight, even the ($219 at www.apple.com/ca/airpods/ ) Acton is heavier than a Gibson Les Paul. Soundwise, it’s every bit as killer as you’d expect from MASTER OF PUPPETS METALLICA CHRISTsomething emblazoned with the famous Marshall MAS SWEATER If you’re looking for off-thelogo. Settings are simple: Volume, Bass, and Treble. wall gifts, old-school rock and metal bands are a Crank the bottom end when the neighbours up- good place to start. Take, for instance, KISS’s twostairs are pissing you off and you want to retaliate in-one knife and money clip, or Motörhead’s ofwith N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton. Go all-in on ficial line of vibrators (bullet and torpedo, in case the treble when immersing yourself in the majesty you were wondering). Adopting a more festive of Hüsker Dü’s masterful Zen Arcade. Should you approach, the merch gods for Metallica have this actually dream of owning a house one day, Mar- year created a range of Christmas-themed items shall smart speakers are all Bluetooth-compatible, that might be less risqué, but will still likely ofmeaning you can link components together with fend your grandma. Our favourite? This beautiful a Stanmore in the kitchen, a Woburn in the living ugly sweater. Taking inspiration from the Master

CHECK THIS OUT You gotta see JULIEN BAKER Something subtle but incredibly important happens at the end of the first track on Julien Baker’s achingly perfect new album, Turn Out the Lights. “Over” begins with the sound of a door closing, that giving way to mournful strings and sadder-than-November piano. But just when you’re ready to drain the bottle of Jack, Baker quietly brightens, shifting tempo as “Over” melts into “Appointments”, an incandescent ballad that’s beautiful despite lines like “I’m staying in tonight/ I won’t stop you from leaving/I know that I’m not what you wanted.” Over the next nine atmospheric tracks the Memphisspawned singer-songwriter throws a sonic lifeline to anyone who has ever felt lost, alone, and desperately down. Baker— who plays the Rickshaw on Saturday (December 9)—is currently being pegged as an artist on the cusp of something big. If you missed Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power, and Angel Olsen on the way up, this might be your official chance to atone. -

of Puppets album cover—an artwork that depicts First World War military-style grave markers tied up by shadowy strings that lead to the unseen hands of an evil puppet master—the sweater pays homage to the record’s grisly lyrics while still offering some festive cheer. Several graves have been transformed into jolly candy canes, and one of the crosses even sports a Santa hat. In keeping with the metal feel, it’s unclear whether the graphics at the top and bottom of the sweater are snowflakes or spider webs—but maybe that’s best left to your imagination. Either way, this 50 percent wool, 50 percent acrylic garment will keep your body warm and your heart cold all winter long. (US$89.99 at www.metallica.com/store/ ) STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE SOUNDTRACK 40TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET The music itself

doesn’t need an introduction. After all, John Williams’s score to a little 1977 popcorn flick called Star Wars won an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and three Grammys, and was named the greatest American movie score of all time by the American Film Institute. You’ve heard it. But have you heard it remastered and pressed on three 180-gram vinyl LPs, one of which, according to StarWars.com, features “a 3D hologram experience with the Death Star”? No. No, you have not. The 48-page hardcover book only sweetens the deal. (US$150 at disneymusic. shop.musictoday.com/store/ )

DARK SIDE OF THE SPOON COOKBOOK

Ever wondered what your favourite albums taste like? Dark Side of the Spoon artfully reimagines see next page

MUSIC Let’s talk about I DON’T FOLLOW For some reason Selena Gomez made her Instagram private on Tuesday. With 130 million followers, Gomez is literally the most-followed person in the world, so this suggests she really, really doesn’t understand how the Internet works. DRIVIN N CRYIN A judge denied Randy Travis’s request to stop the state of Texas from releasing video of the singer’s 2012 DUI arrest, which means we all get to see a buck-naked Travis telling a patrolman, “You will die, motherfucker.” Lucky us. GOING DOWN Three years after being beaten up in a New York elevator by his sister-in-law Solange Knowles, Jay-Z celebrated his 48th birthday by inviting paparazzi to shoot him and his wife, Beyoncé, in—you guessed it—an NYC elevator. Jay-Z told the assembled to “Come get it”—but only after making sure Solange was nowhere to be seen. MATRIX METAL Researchers in Boston used an artificialintelligence program to generate a black-metal album. DADABOTS’ Coditany of Timeness is a thoroughly convincing emulation of the genre—which is a nice way of saying it’s fucking unlistenable.

Fresh and local BLACK GARDENIA LUCKY STAR

Black Gardenia’s sophomore effort is built on a brave idea. Mixing jazz and blues standards with a number of original tracks, the record could easily have been a mismatch of quality. Band leader Daphne Roubini, however, makes sure that’s not a possibility. Lending her Billie Holiday–esque lilt to classics like T-Bone Walker’s gruff “I’m Just Waitin’ for Your Call” and adding a folk twist to Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”, Roubini expertly ties the covers together with her rich, velvety vocals. Transporting listeners back to a time of martinis, lounge suits, and hazy cigarette smoke, all with an audio clarity that eludes remastered editions of jazz classics, Black Gardenia offers authoritative modern versions of those staples. The fact that Roubini’s originals are indistinguishable among the stacked lineup is the biggest compliment of all. DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 45


NEW ORLEANS INSPIRED CUISINE

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5pm 5 p m to tto o 9pm 9pm 9pm 5pm FREE LIVE JAZZ && F REE L I V E JAZZ J AZZ FREE LIVE

Forget the Strat; give your favourite budding musician Push Turn Move.

Music gift guide

from previous page

Hollywood icon Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) escapes Tinseltown to live out her final days In a certain city in England, in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool .

CELEBRATE WITH US!

LIVE MUSIC

Agron (Glee), Castlegar gets to play itself in this cold-edged thriller from Vancouver filmmaker Scooter Corkle. IN THE FADE From German-Turkish (January 26) filmmaker Faith Akin, the revenge tale of a woman who loses her husband and FIFTY SHADES FREED Christian child to a neo-Nazi terror bombing. and Anastasia are married this time around, but that doesn’t mean the Bring the family! (January 19) spanking has to stop, on either side FOREVER MY GIRL Sexy Alex Roe of the screen. (February 9) returns to the girl he always loved after spending 10 years as a country re- A FANTASTIC WOMAN A trans cording star, which all sounds super woman is rejected by her dead lover’s family members who reckon plausible to me. (January 19) that she might be responsible for AVA It’s Iranian Girls Gone Wild in his demise, presumably because this feature debut from Montreal- they’re assholes. Daniela Vega based filmmaker Sadaf Foroughi. stars. (February 9) (January 26) EARLY MAN U.K. animation greats FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVER- Aardman go primitive with the dePOOL Hollywood great Annette cidedly uncavemanlike Tom HiddleBening stars as Hollywood great Gloria ston as Lord Nooth, despotic ruler of Grahame, finding May-December love the Bronze Age City. (February 16) with scouser Jamie Bell in the ’70s. LOVELESS A 12-year-old boy bails (January 26) on his divorcing parents in this depresHOLLOW IN THE LAND With some sion session from Leviathan director substantial support from Dianna Andrey Zvyagintsev. (February 23) - BUDWEISER

Winter movies

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music as food with excellent recipes and headline-quality puns. From the gentle simmering of “Ladle of Filth”—a squid-ink-drenched seafood and chorizo paella—to the baked “Fleetwood Mac and Cheese” and lightly fried “Beef Patty Smith”, the cookbook features easy-to-grab ingredients and simple instructions. Each of the 30 recipes showcases a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that title (“Iron Raisin”, “ZZ Chop”, “Metallikatsu Curry”) and accompanying subhead (“Rum to the Hills”, “Sharp Dressed Lamb”, “Master of Buffets”) that spice up any dish. The facing page, meanwhile, displays food-inspired musical artwork commissioned from a number of top illustrators—so be prepared to see Rammstein’s Till Lindemann floating in a bowl of Japanese pork ramen. Presenting a range of appetizers, entrées, and desserts—including gluten-free and vegetarian dishes—for chefs of all abilities and tastes, Dark Side of the Spoon is not only hilarious, but likely the only way you can persuade your husband to cook. ($19.29 at www.chapters.indigo.ca/ )

from page 44

COOLER

AND

Alcohol and music go hand in hand—a fact that hasn’t been lost on Budweiser. Combining the two by creating a soft cooler bag with built-in Bluetooth speakers, the company has made a product that keeps 24 beer cans well chilled while allowing users to play tunes on the go. Full disclosure: while the speakers go loud, they aren’t especially high-end—but that’s part of the cooler’s charm. Perfect for festivals, beaches, and boats, the bag is likely going to end up covered in sand, water, or worse—and who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on an item that will inevitably be left out in the rain? Great for the price—it’s nearly $50 cheaper than any competitor on Amazon—the bag allows you to listen to music wirelessly from smartphones, tablets, or MP3 players, and the rechargeable battery lasts for hours. ($45.03 at www.amazon.ca/ ) SPEAKERS

> Go on-line to read hundreds of I Saw You posts or to respond to a message < “ARE YOU A DOG PERSON?”

s

r

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 5, 2017 WHERE: Downtown Walking towards Gastown after a long and lousy day at work, I wasn’t expecting any social interactions with a perfect stranger. We walked the same direction for several blocks and I was kicking myself after for being socially awkward. Just wanted to apologize for my short response, you seem like a nice person. Take care :)

APPLE STORE GENIUS BAR GAME OF THRONES CHIT-CHAT

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1996: PAOLO LIVING IN THE 1900 - BLOCK OF ALBERNI STREET

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: AUGUST 8, 1996 WHERE: 1900 - block of Alberni St (West End) For Paolo who lived in the 1900 - block of Alberni Street near Stanley Park during the mid/late 1990s. We met and shared a few great times at your apartment. Due to my stupidity (and circumstances), we lost touch. You have been on my mind ever since. I would LOVE to reconnect with you. - Bob xo

YOU ASKED ME IF I WAS WORKING THERE?

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s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 4, 2017 WHERE: Apple Store in Pacific Centre

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 18, 2017 WHERE: Sin City - Military Fetish Ball

J! We both had Genius Bar appointments at the Pacific Centre Apple store for similar storage issues on our MacBook Pros. I told you you reminded me of Iwan Rheon in Game of Thrones, but what I didn’t say was you reminded me of a more attractive Iwan Rheon! You told me I should listen to N.E.R.D. and the joke went right over my head. I chickened out and didn’t give you my number, but if you want to go out sometime, I would like that! :) -T

I'm tall and dark, I think you asked me if I was working like a bouncer. I may have had a sociological interest. But I said no to the question. It was loud, if you want to be more detailed let me know. You're blond, I had longer darker hair. I guessed the time. I was there from 9ish to nearly midnight.

SPECTACULAR AND BEAUTIFUL AT THE LOUNGE @ PARQ

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 2, 2017 WHERE: Lounge at Parq You're this gorgeous red head, wearing leather pants and boots, you were with a girlfriend, at a stand up area inside D6. I wanted to chat with you but you were being monopolized by a guy who you slow danced with... I was standing across the table from you, with my friend. You undoubtedly saw me look at you a number of times. I hoped to get a chance to speak to you but alas not this time. If you happen to read this, I'd love to buy you a drink there sometime...

#3 DOWNTOWN BUS DRIVER

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: DECEMBER 4, 2017 WHERE: Main St - #3 Headed Downtown You were driving the bus down Main St. headed downtown around 10:45AM. You’re blonde, blue eyes (I think). I got on the bus at 36th. I thought you were super hot. I was wearing black and white checkered Vans and a black toque. I feel like you might be married with kids but never hurts to try!!

DEATH FROM ABOVE DANCER

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 21, 2017 WHERE: Commodore Ballroom I was standing beside you for the whole show. Side stage with a friend. You were drinking ginger and Jameson. Would like to meet if interested.

LIBERTY BAKERY + CAFE

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 29, 2017 WHERE: Liberty Bakery I was there with a friend having a late afternoon coffee and sitting across from you. You were sitting up against the window having a late lunch and you caught my eye. You’re tall and were wearing glasses. I guess I had a good view of you while I was chatting to my friend and wish I had the courage to say hi... so hi!

“AFTER YOU”...

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s

I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 25, 2017 WHERE: 99 B-Line As I sat down across from you on the 99B going east we made eye contact. Unfortunately you then buried your face into that book by Jojo. A well read woman is a sign of someone who yearns to expand her mind and life. Surprise me and reply to this, tell me about your story. I’m the curly haired guy in the long dark green coat with high collar and courier bag.

WE MATCHED ON TINDER

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: OCTOBER 31, 2017 WHERE: Tinder My "Noble" friend, we matched on Tinder, talked for about two weeks, then poof! Someone reported my account. Last we chatted was on your birthday. You lived in the 'ridge and I'm in Burnaby. I know you love food and autos. I would love to connect with you again, check your IG messages for my contact info. You're my Asian flavour ;-)

ALISTAIR FROM TARANAKI

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I SAW A: I AM A: WHEN: NOVEMBER 30, 2017 WHERE: Canada Line Classic transit encounter. We talked about telemark skiing. You kindly introduced yourself at the end, and I said, “See you at Cypress!” Odds are low though, so I figured I would write here. Coffee?

Visit straight.com to post your FREE I Saw You _ 46 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017

PUSH TURN MOVE ELECTRONICMUSIC HISTORY BOOK There’s

a reason no one under the age of 40 wants a Fender Stratocaster or Ludwig drum kit for Christmas in 2017. Rock is dead, with the smart kids instead realizing the money is in electronic music. Give the budding Diplo, Skrillex, or deadmau5 in your life the Kickstarter-funded book Push Turn Move: Interface Design in Electronic Music. Clocking in at a hefty 352 illustration-rich pages, Push Turn Move pays loving tribute to the past and present of electronic music. Those fascinated by aesthetics will want to flip to chapters celebrating artists and designers like Dorit Chrysler and Tatsuya Takahashi. Tech-heads can dive into the stories of fabled gear manufacturers like Korg, Moog, and Ableton. Get a history lesson on how sequencers and iOS apps usurped old-fashioned guitars and drums as the go-to composing gear for a generation. If you’re lucky, you’ll even unearth tips for coming up with your own original DJ name, after which the mammoth paycheques are pretty much guaranteed to start rolling in. ($108 at www.pushturnmove.com/) -


MUSIC

METZ men began band to banish monotony Looking back, Alex Edkins

2 wasn’t exactly planning on con-

quering the world with METZ, the Toronto trio that has emerged as one of the most thrilling noise-punk squads that’s ever roared out of the Great White North. The singer-guitarist was something of a music-scene veteran when he started ripping up the practice space with bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies. Asked if he realized they were onto something special right away, the affable frontman suggests that he and his bandmates were more interested in escaping the monotony of daily life. “It was never considered to be really anything—we kind of looked at it as something to do after work,” Edkins says, on the line from his home in Toronto, having just returned from a European tour. “It was something to do on the weekends. It’s truly been this very odd, mind-boggling evolution. We started and then everything slowly grew and grew to where this is kind of now our main thing. METZ is what we focus on every day. I don’t think you can plan for that, and even if you do, it’s something that rarely happens. “We’re very aware of how strange this is,” the frontman continues. “All three of us had done music for so long and been in so many different types of bands that it almost helped us with what we’re doing today. I feel like we’re kind of older and have been doing it for a while. Because we weren’t new to it, that really helped us along getting METZ to where it is today. It gave us a nice grounding in terms of not having any expectations, for one, and also knowing what mistakes not to make again, because we’d been through it all before.” With its first two albums—METZ and II, both on Sub Pop—METZ established itself as an unrelenting assault squad, red-lining its strain of alternative rock invented and perfected by titans like the Jesus Lizard and Big

thing out. Either it’s clear to me right doing what feels right for me.” First hitting the music-blog radar then or it becomes clear to me later.” > MIKE USINGER with her EP B-Grade University—an unintentional concept record about METZ plays the Cobalt on Friday surviving college and liking Wes (December 8). Anderson movies—Lahey was unexpectedly awarded Pitchfork’s bestnew-track award before making it into Australia’s tastemaking Triple J Hottest 100 listener poll. Having studied music biographies like textLife’s mundane moments offer books since her early teens, the artist rich humour, joy, and empathy to was ready when her call-up to the big those who have the talent to see them. leagues came through. Breakout Australian artist Alex Lahey “I was really fortunate to be given is one of those individuals. Shunning some great opportunities early on,” songs about extravagant life events in she recalls. “I met Tegan and Sara very favour of pithy observations on dating, briefly in Australia, for example, and I drinking, and unexpectedly gaining got asked to go on tour with them this weight, the 25-year-old distills what it year, not long after. It was such a pure means to be a young adult coming of act of generosity from two artists that I age in the era of avocado toast and Tin- respect so much and grew up listening der. It’s an approach that’s winning her to. I really look up to them as role modfans all over the world. els, but it’s also given me some new Unlike artists peddling the rock ’n’ goals, like one day I would like to be roll lifestyle of parties and drugs, La- in a position in my career where I can hey is endearingly relatable. Always just offer someone that opportunity dressed down in high-neck Ts, jeans, because I like them and what they do.” and maybe a crumpled shirt, she’s Now, with the release of her debut the anti-pop-punk star—but not by album, I Love You Like a Brother, on design. Unlike those who have been major streaming platforms, Lahey has coached by a hundred PR reps, when embarked on a solo tour to promote she mentions that she’s “just being her- the record’s bouncy, sing-along tracks. self”, it’s the God’s honest truth. Mashing up wistful lyrics about rela“There’s not a pathway that someone tionships of all stripes with catchy, else has paved that I’m trying to follow,” bubblegum-pop-punk guitar riffs, the she tells the Straight on the line from artist shows how far her songwriting Austin, Texas. “There are definitely has progressed in just a year. people in the industry that I respect, “You have to be a leader, and you and I aspire to have that kind of respect have to push through and create progfrom my peers too. There are some ress, or else you’re going to be stuck amazing artists, like St. Vincent—who’s in the same cycle,” she says. “I try to a great performer, especially when focus on things that we can see in ourwe’re talking about guitar players—or selves and all reflect on. I think there’s someone like Courtney Barnett, who I a lot of comfort when we connect with really look up to for how she goes about a stranger on a level that’s very perher music and carries herself. Then sonal. It’s really nice to not feel alone.” > KATE WILSON there’s someone like Sia, who doesn’t fit any mould and just does her own thing. There are so many women out Alex Lahey plays the Cobalt on Tuesthere who really do well, but I’m just day (December 12).

Lahey prefers to pave her own path in the music biz

2

Toronto’s METZ deviated from its established noise-punk template with Strange Peace, which was recorded by iconic producer Steve Albini.

Black. Given the group’s affection for a time that—history lessons aside— they never really knew, it’s fitting that they realized a dream by working with iconic producer Steve Albini for this year’s Top 10 outing, Strange Peace. METZ still rages like a motherfucker on earsores like “Mess of Wires”, but this time the band traffics in more than napalm-strength savagery. “Cellophane” is fuel-injected pop once you get past its serrated edges, while a click-clack country heart beats somewhere at the core of “Sink”. METZ unleash their inner art stars on the feedback-splattered “Lost in the Blank City” and slather Factory-brand postpunk in Emerald City sludge on “Mr. Plague”. “We had 14 sort of skeletons or blueprints before we went in with Steve,” Edkins says. “The intention was to capture those skeletons in a very live and raw way and then not look back. It was supposed to be ‘Bang! There it is.’ A lot of the experimenting that you hear—the bells and whistles—came after we brought the tapes home to Toronto. We ended up with time to

tinker without touching the skeletons.” METZ also gives its fans plenty to think about on Strange Peace; among the brilliant things about this endlessly rewarding record is the way that Edkins addresses important topics (gentrification, isolation, depression) without ever resorting to obvious sloganeering. Consider, for example, the metal-dipped pile driver “Dig a Hole”, where the line “I just keep staring at the sun, the sun, the sun, the sun” can be taken as either an admission of utter defeat or a sign that the future is brightest when you keep the faith. Given the way things have unfolded for the men of METZ, here’s betting the latter reading holds more weight. “Sometimes the lyrics are an exorcising of feelings and where my head’s at,” Edkins says. “And sometimes it’s not really clear what it is that I’m talking about until someone at a show will talk to me about it and provide some clarity for me. It’s really neat to hear the way that people will bring their own stories to the songs. I kind of use them as a therapy session to get every-

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THU DEC 7 With your hosts Dalannah Gail Bowen and Vancouver’s own ‘Ambassador of the Blues’ Jim Byrnes Rob Montgomery and Incognito U Billy Dixon's Soul Train Express U Gary Comeau and the Voodoo All Stars U Jim Byrnes with The Sojourners

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DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT 47


MUSIC

Bowen bids Blues goodbye

I

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.

n a remarkable display of composure, Dalannah Gail Bowen doesn’t choke up until near the end of an interview where she reminisces about her 32 years at the helm of the Vancouver institution known as Blues for Christmas. But when the tears come, they are genuine. The 72-year-old gets understandably emotional when asked what it’s like to finally be closing a chapter that started the year Live Aid raised millions for Ethiopian famine victims, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev took the first steps to ending the Cold War, and the late Drew Burns was at the helm of Vancouver’s legendary Commodore Ballroom. When the lights come up at the end of the final Blues for Christmas this December, Bowen acknowledges it’s going to be a challenge to keep it together. Dalannah Gail Bowen spearheaded the first Blues for Christmas charity “It’s kind of been bittersweet,” fundraiser 32 years ago, and this year she’s putting the annual event to bed. she says, on the line from her Vancouver home. “You know I’ve held Over the years Blues for Christ- We’ve got a pretty special blues this…” she says, breaking into tears mas would grow to become not only community here in Vancouver.” and then recomposing herself, “for one of the holiday season’s mostBowen cites both a couple of a long time. Um, yeah.” loved traditions, but also an import- health scares and her age as her That she almost immediately fol- ant fundraiser. When Burns was reason for finally putting Blues for lows that with a big laugh speaks running the Commodore—which Christmas to bed. volumes about he did until the late “Personally, I’m 72 and it’s just her love for Blues ’90s—the venue time for me to step down,” she says. for Christmas, would take the “I just can’t do the job as well as I which started in bar revenue and used to. Not that I’m complaining. Mike Usinger 1985. While the Blues for Christ- We’ve had an amazing run, and I’d final edition of the long-running mas would get the door. Patrons never complain about any of it.” fundraiser will be hard, that’s only were also asked to bring a donation Predictably, she couldn’t be more because she’s stockpiled countless for the Vancouver Food Bank. excited about this year’s lineup. That’s golden memories over the decades. “In the early days, they’d have partly because it’s loaded with talent Bowen remembers the first in- to bring a big truck to pick up all that has deep roots in both Blues for stallment of Blues for Christmas tak- the food that was donated,” Bowen Christmas and Vancouver, and partly ing place in the wake of Jingle Bell says. “We really made our mark because the event will once again give Rock, which had those on the rock ’n’ there for years.” back to the community, with proroll side of the ledger in the VancouAs it grew, Blues for Christmas ceeds going to the Drew Burns Comver music community raising funds also became a must-attend social modore Musicians’ Fund. for charity. Bowen coproduced the event for the city’s blues aficionados. “In my humble opinion, this is the event, which made her a natural to “You know what? There are last community link to Drew [Burns] go to when the local blues commun- people coming this year that were and who he was and what he did for ity was looking to do something at the very first one,” Bowen mar- the music community of Vancouver,” good for the holiday season. vels. “I’m very community-based, Bowen says. “I wanted to honour that “Jingle Bell Rock had ended and and we created a community and close it out in a good way. Jim musicians starting coming to me and around this event. There were re- Byrnes and I are hosting. Jim Byrnes asking if I’d be interested in producing connections that happened each and the Sojourners are opening the an event for blues musicians that was a year, people going ‘I haven’t seen show. We have Gary Comeau and the fundraiser,” she recalls. “So I took it to you in forever.’ People used it as Voodoo All Stars—he reunited that Drew, we discussed it, and that’s how their Christmas party—there was a band for this. We have Joani Bye and Blues for Christmas was born.” lot of celebration.” so many other musicians—literally, Among the headliners that first And what she remembers over the like, a hundred. There will be Doc edition was a young bluesman years is that no one ever turned her Fingers, Pete Sweetzer, four or five keynamed Jim Byrnes. down when she’d ask them to play board players, eight horn players, four “I still have the poster from that the fundraiser. or five bass players and drummers. I’m first one buried somewhere in my “Our biggest benefactors are the so pleased that we’ve worked it out this storage room,” she relates. “Unless musicians and the Vancouver com- way, because everyone who’s been part you want to wait a half-hour, I can’t munity, because without them you of this for the last 32 years deserves a remember everyone who was on it. don’t have anything—you might spot on that stage.” I know Jim was, and I think he was as well not even bother,” she says. the main feature. Truthfully, we “I’m so grateful that, if they were Blues for Christmas takes place at the only had 320 people attend the first in town, all the musicians would Commodore Ballroom on Monday one, but we kept going.” always say yes when I asked them. (December 11).

Local Motion

Scan to confess Eager beavers on the seabus Attention seabus patrons: stop rushing to the door midjourney just so that you can be the first one off. Believe it or not, I don’t need you hovering over me, with your butt in my personal space for the last 5 minutes of the ride. I laugh at you dummies when the seabus hits the dock and you all go stumbling. So just chill out, sit down, and enjoy the ride.

Pixies were so incredible at the QE last night! No one needs to be this hungover on a freaking Tuesday morning!

Sister issues My older sister and I don’t get along very well. We were close when we were younger, but nowadays she seems so distant. I feel like I don’t even know her anymore. She thinks that because she went to University and became a teacher, she has this obsessive need to always be right about everything. Wish she’d stop with the insecurity already.

Love Away I have two friends who I love dearly who live far away. There’s no one else I love like that. But I fear I may never see them again. I can’t afford to travel, and I can’t count on them being able to come visit me. One is halfway across the country and one is in a different continent. I’m not sure I understand what love is, but these are people I want in my life forever.

It was really me You read a confession I wrote about hating your Ukulele and asked me if I wrote it. It told you it wasn’t me, but it really was.

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48 THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT DECEMBER 7 – 14 / 2017


2JUST ANNOUNCED NYLONS FRONTMAN MICAH BARNES’ CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK With a mix of jazz and blues to evoke the holidays-inthe-Big-Apple feeling, join Micah Barnes as he makes his debut at Frankie’s Jazz Club. Presented by Coastal Jazz. Dec 17, 8 pm, Frankie’s Jazz Club (765 Beatty). Tix $15, info www.coastaljazz.ca/.

NOT SO SILENT NIGHT Inaugural fundraiser features music by Dear Rouge and Bend Sinister. Partial proceeds go to Covenant House Vancouver. Dec 7, doors 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $25/15 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

ELLA VOS Los Angeles pop musician plays songs from debut album Words I Never Said. Mar 22, doors 7:30 pm, show 8:30 pm, Fortune Sound Club (147 E. Pender). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $17.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

SLEEPING WITH SIRENS American rock band performs on its Gossip World Tour 2018, with guests Set It Off and the Gospel Youth. Feb 6, doors 6:30 pm, show 7:30 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $34.99 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. SERENA RYDER Canadian folk-rock singersongwriter tours following release of latest studio album Utopia. Feb 13, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $49.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. BELLE GAME Vancouver crush-pop band performs songs from second album, Fear/Nothing. Feb 23, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, The Imperial (319 Main). Tix on sale Dec 6, 10 am, $15 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

THE OH HELLOS American folk-rock duo, composed of siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath, tours in support of fifth release Notos. Mar 25, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Rio Theatre (1660 E. Broadway). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $20 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. JAKE BUGG English indie-rock singersongwriter tours in support of fourth studio album Hearts That Strain. Apr 1, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $39.50 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. WILD CHILD Austin-based indie-pop band tours in support of upcoming release Expectations, with guests Sweet Crude. Apr 26, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix on sale Dec 8, 8 am, $15 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www. ticketweb.ca/. JORJA SMITH English R&B singer-songwriter. Apr 28, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.ticketfly.com/.

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GRIZZLY BEAR New York City indie-rock band tours in support of upcoming fulllength album Painted Ruins. Dec 7, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre (601 Smithe). Tix $66/46/36 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

EMILY HAINES AND THE SOFT SKELETON Canadian indie-rock singersongwriter performs songs from upcoming album Choir of the Mind. Dec 7, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Rd., UBC). Tix $36 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

PHILLIP PHILLIPS American pop-rock singer-songwriter performs on his Magnetic Tour. Mar 17, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $35 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

MESHUGGAH Swedish extreme-metal band tours in support of eighth studio album The Violent Sleep of Reason, with guests Code Orange and Toothgrinder. Jan 23, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Commodore Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 am, $47.25 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/.

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SANTANA American Latin-rock band, known for such hits as “Black Magic Woman” and “Smooth”, performs on its Divination Tour 2018. Mar 7, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, Abbotsford Centre (33800 King Rd., Abbotsford). Tix on sale Dec 11, 10 am, $119/89/69/45 (plus service charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. SON LUX Los Angeles postrock band performs in advance of upcoming release Brighter Wounds, with guests Gordi and Wills. Mar 14, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix on sale Dec 8, 10 a.m., $17 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www.ticketweb.ca/.

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KIKAGAKU MOYO Japanese psychedelic-rock band tours in support of latest release House in the Tall Grass, with guests the Orange Kyte. Feb 26, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix on sale Dec 8, 12 pm, $15 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www.ticketweb.ca/.

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JULIEN BAKER Memphis indie singersongwriter, with guests Half Waif and Adam Torres. Dec 9, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre (254 E. Hastings). Tix $18 (plus service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www. ticketweb.ca/.

BLUES FOR CHRISTMAS Dalannah Gail Bowen and Jim Byrnes host an evening of music by Rob Montgomery and Incognito, Billy Dixon’s Soul Train Express, Gary Comeau and the Voodoo All Stars, the Sojourners, Keith Bennett, Joani Bye, Danny Casavant, Al Foreman, Jim Foster, David Gogo, Leslie Harris, Steve Kozak, Cecile LaRochelle, Wes Mackey, Russell Marsland, Billy Mendoza, Murray Porter, James For up-to-the-minute, searchable “Buddy” Rogers, Steve Sainas, Andreas Music Time Out listings, visit Schuld, William Taylor, Mike Van Eyes, and www.straight.com David Webb. Proceeds go to the Drew Burns Commodore Musicians’ Fund. Dec 11, doors 6 pm, show 6:30 pm, Commodore DIANA KRALL Canadian jazz vocalist-pian- Ballroom (868 Granville). Tix $20 (plus serist plays in wake of release of new album vice charges and fees) at www.ticketmaster. Turn Up the Quiet. Dec 8, doors 7 pm, ca/, info www.bluesforchristmas.com/. show 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre (650 Hamilton). Tix $149/99/75/55 (plus service CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO The seven-string charges and fees) at www.livenation.com/. guitar player with “freakish virtuosity” (LA Times) returns to the Cap Jazz series, JHENE AIKO American R&B singer tours accompanied by tenor saxophonist Rob in support of latest release Trip, with Dixon, and Carter McLean on drums. Dec guests Willow Smith, Kodie Shane, and 12, 8 pm, BlueShore Financial Centre for the Kitty Cash. Dec 8, doors 7 pm, show 8 Performing Arts (2055 Purcell Way). Tix from pm, Vogue Theatre (918 Granville). Tix $40 $25, info www.capilanou.ca/centre/. (plus service charges and fees) at www. ticketfly.com/. ALEX LAHEY Australian indie singersongwriter tours in support of debut THE PACK A.D. Canadian garage-rock full-length release Love You Like a Brother. duo is in town to play music from new Dec 12, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Cobalt album Dollhouse, with guests Gang Signs (917 Main). Tix $15 (plus service charges and Sorry Edith. Dec 8, 8 pm, Rickshaw and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and Theatre (254 E. Hastings). Tix $18 (plus serwww.ticketweb.ca/. vice charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www.ticketfly.com/. COLLIE BUDDZ American reggae-dancehall musician, with guest Jesse Royal. Dec PATTERSON HOOD American rock singer- 13, doors 8 pm, show 9:30 pm, Venue songwriter, guitarist, and Drive-By Truckers (881 Granville). Tix $29.75 (plus service member. Dec 8, doors 7 pm, show 8 pm, charges and fees) at Highlife, Red Cat Fox Cabaret (2321 Main). Tix $20 (plus Records, and www.ticketweb.ca/. service charges and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and www.ticketweb.ca/. TIME OUT MUSIC LISTINGS METZ Toronto punk band tours in supare a public service provided free of charge, based port of upcoming release Strange Peace. on available space and editorial discretion. Submit Dec 8, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Cobalt listings online using the event-submission form at (917 Main). Tix $17 (plus service charges straight.com/AddEvent. Events that don’t make it and fees) at Red Cat, Zulu Records, and into the paper due to space constraints will appear www.ticketweb.ca/. on the website.

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savage love I used to be a fan of your column,

Dan, but something happened to you. Maybe it’s stress, the current political climate, or some other issue—I don’t know. I used to look forward to your columns because they were fun, smart, and helpful—but I don’t enjoy what I’m seeing now. If something did happen to you, reach out for help. You’re on the verge of losing a loyal reader. > READER ENQUIRING ABOUT DAN’S ENERVATING RESPONSES

I’ve been getting letters like yours— what happened to you, Dan, you used to be more fun—at this time of year, every year, for the last 25 years, READER. Maybe I get moody when the weather gets gloomy and that spills into my column annually. And perhaps the current political climate—a rather reserved way to describe the destruction of our democracy—is making my seasonal grumping worse. Another possible factor… I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, READER, but I’ve been writing this column for a long time. And back before the Internet came along and ruined everything for everyone, I used to get a lot of how-to/what’sthat questions about sex acts and sex toys. A column explaining butt plugs to readers who knew nothing about them—and lacked easy access to buttplug info—was as much fun to read as it was to write. But every sex act and every sex toy has its own wiki now, which means I don’t get to write fun columns about butt plugs anymore, READER, and you don’t get to read them. Now the questions all revolve around someone being deeply shitty or someone deluding themselves

> BY DAN SAVAGE someone who does not wish to be masturbated at is not.) Our erotic imaginations are free to roam—and that includes roaming through Facebook. No one needs our permission to fantasize about us or anything else, and we can’t control when, where, and how the pics we share on social media will be enjoyed. Provided you aren’t doing or saying anything to make your Facebook “friends” uncomfortable (no supposedly-friendly-buttransparently-thirsty comments, no tongue-hanging-out emojis), you’re doing something no one wants to think about, PICS, but you’re not I’m a middle-aged married crossing a line. dude. Sex life with my wife is good, but I also masturbate because, you A couple of weeks ago, my girlknow, I’m a person. Sometimes I friend and I were engaging in mutual masturbate while surfing through masturbation when she squirted all pictures on Facebook of attractive over my hand—a large amount— women I know. These aren’t stolen and she was completely mortified. nudes off of someone’s phone; they’re It was the first time it happened for public pictures. I’m progressive her, and it’s happened several times when it comes to politics and gender since. She is upset. I’ve been with a issues. Face to face, I’m respect- couple of other women in the past ful and would never do anything to who squirted, and I am absolutely make these women—or any other fine with it. I love it, in fact! I did woman—feel uncomfortable. I don’t my absolute best to reassure her that leer, and I’m not a creeper. I know I think it’s great and there’s nothing what I’m doing is pervy, but is it per- to be ashamed of, but she’s really embarrassed every time. The last time, vy bad? Am I crossing a line? > PEERING IS CREEPY, she was close to tears with fears that SOMETIMES she’d urinated. My question: there’s so much great writing about female This one’s a little better, READER. It’s ejaculation around, but rather than a little squicky, sure, but it’s not boil- bombard my GF—who is the most your-eyes-after-reading squicky. amazing, incredible person—with Okay, PICS. Masturbating to some- links to article upon article, how can one is fine; masturbating at someone I help her feel okay about this? > SINCERE QUESTIONER is not. (To be clear: masturbating to UNDERSTANDS IT’S REALLY thoughts of someone without their TERRIFIC knowledge is fine; masturbating at with both of these women will be destroyed. You’ll be able to move out and move on, RUIN, but your former significant other isn’t going to be so lucky. Because while you won’t always be her SO, and hopefully won’t ever be her husband, her daughter is always going to be her child. So while you may get out from this relationship with some light scarring, your ex and her daughter will be left with open, gaping wounds for the rest of their lives. My advice: pull up your pants, cancel the wedding, and get as far away from your SO and her daughter as possible.

about how deeply shitty they’re being. Columns filled with questions about and from people behaving badly are never going to be as delightsome as those butt-plug columns of yore. But thank you for writing in to share your concern, READER, and rest assured that nothing truly terrible has happened to me—besides Trump, of course, but Trump happened to all of us, not just me. Still, I don’t want to lose you as a reader, so I’m going to make an effort to sunny things up a bit over the next few weeks. Okay! Let’s see what else came in the mail today! Hopefully something fun!

My significant other and I rarely have sex. A while ago, I had a sexual encounter with her daughter. We continued to have sexual encounters for some time. Now my significant other and I may be getting married. Her daughter and I broke it off, but it started up again after a week. I am attempting to break things off with my significant other’s daughter again, but I’m having a hard time. Please advise. > RESTRAINING URGES IS NECESSARY

Ugh. Do you see what I mean, READER? It’s hard to come through with jokes, erudition, and uplift when you’re responding to questions like this one. Okay, RUIN. Marrying a woman whose adult daughter you can’t keep your dick out of…yeah, that’s a bad idea. (And her daughter is an adult, right?!? You’re not Roy Moore’ing it, are you?) Sooner or later, your significant other is going to discover what’s been going on, and your relationship

This one’s pretty good, READER. It’s an old-school, pre-Internet Savage Love question. Sexy and playful—charming, even. Okay, SQUIRT. You can help her feel okay about this by continuing to use your words (“I love this, it’s so hot!”), by sharing those articles with her (she needs to hear from and about other women with her superpower, not just from her boyfriend), and by lapping that shit up. Swallow, SQUIRT. And so what if it is piss? (And many argue it isn’t.) Piss isn’t sterile, as Mike Pesca took time out of his day to explain to me on the Savage Lovecast back when alleged human being Donald Trump’s alleged pee tape was all over the news. (Goddammit. Our current political climate snuck up on me. Sorry about that, READER.) There are a lot more bacteria and whatever else in saliva, and we dump spit into each other’s mouths like it’s maple fucking syrup. If you guys are swapping other f luids regularly, why not swap a little of this one, too? And remember: It’s only been two weeks—it may take her some time to learn to love her new superpower. Maybe watch some X-Men movies (it’s a superpower, not a mutation!), and keep being upbeat and positive about the way your girlfriend’s body works. Good luck! On this week’s Lovecast, comedian extraordinaire Cameron Esposito: savagelovecast.com . Email: mail@ savagelove.net. Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage. ITMFA.org.

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