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Updated: 5 hours 17 min ago

Kathy Griffin weathers a big storm and turns controversy into comedy

5 hours 24 min ago
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Kathy Griffin

When: June 2, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Theatre

Tickets: $45.50 & $55.50,

If you are going to interview comedian and recent pop culture lightning rod Kathy Griffin, you better take a deep breath and get out of the way.

“Hi, so here’s my first question. Why did you choose to make your Twitter profile picture blurry?” Griffin fired at me seconds after we said our hellos. “I like it, it’s cool, but just wondering why?”

My brief and lame explanation of: “it’s old, I dunno, it was taken in a bar,” behind us, Griffin kept going.

“OK I have another question — I hope you didn’t think you were going to interview me because you’re much more fascinating — um can you please explain the photo that is simply titled: Happy pet day.”

Yes, that one I can explain with some certainty.

“That’s Sally, my puppy,” I offer up about the Twitter photo Griffin spotted while scanning my social media before our interview. By the way this is the first time this has ever happened during an interview and I have been doing this long enough to be on my third dog.  

“No I am talking about the gentleman that is passed out,” said Griffin, reminding me the picture is of Sally in bed with my sound asleep, sprawled out, face down, fully-clothed husband.

“You have to go live in a shelter you have to get out of there. Get out while you can. Get help and take the dog with you,” said Griffin, not pausing for a breath. “That looks like a very adorable dog by the way. Alright I’ll let you ask questions.”

And she does, sort of.

OK, so if Griffin can get a solid three or four minutes of material out of my Twitter account you will be correct in guessing she’s got a ton to talk about thanks to that infamous photo from last year that shows her clutching by the hair a bloodied, severed Donald Trump head.

That picture by Tyler Shields turned Griffin’s world upside down faster than you can say: “D-list? More like the Z list.”

Actually thanks to the photo she says she earned “kill list,” status.

Friends, foes and strangers on the streets said “too far.” The FBI investigated and she was put on (and still is) the Interpol watch list and of course what with it being a post 9-11 world she lingered for a couple of months on a no-fly list.

The fallout was fast and furious. Buh bye CNN New Years Eve, buh-bye theatre gig after theatre gig.

“Everyone turned on me. It’s not the Dixie Chicks everyone, it’s personal friends. Liberals that I thought were friendly toward me. People I didn’t know. People I knew — people who knew me personally. Like, everybody decided to join in on the dog pile. I have been digging myself out of it because No. 1 it is unprecedented and if nothing else I feel a genuine need and mission to go town-to-town, whoever will have me and just simply say: ‘look you can hate that picture all you want, but it’s very well covered by the First Amendment.”

She says she was not only shocked but also completely dumbfounded by the severity of the responses to the photo.

“A lot of the fake news, Fox News, Breitbart, TMZ bullshit American media they were saying lock her up about me,” said Griffin, echoing the Trump supporter chant that plagued Hillary Clinton during the presidential race. “I started thinking do people think there is a severed head warehouse? Do people think I am holding a real severed head? It’s crazy enough that the right wing and the Breitbarts and those nut jobs think I was actually holding Donald Trump’s severed head. I think I would have been caught a little sooner frankly.”

But not everyone got their burning torches out and said off with her head. A Hollywood heavyweight and former stand up comedian saw the photo and sensed immediately that the backlash would be brutal, but it could also be beneficial.

“The day of the photo I got a phone call from Jim Carrey, who I don’t really know all that well and he said this great thing. He said ‘Kathy,’ and I was sobbing, sobbing. It was over for me. CNN banned for life. Vegas Mirage casino, banned for life. She’s a member of ISIS, all this crazy shit. But Jim Carrey calls me and goes: ‘do you know how many comedians would give their right arm for this story? You’re going to have one of the greatest stories to go down in comedy history. Today you are the most famous comedian in the world.”

Sure that may be the silver lining approach but at the time the only lining Griffin could see was the lining of her career coffin.

After a couple of months in seclusion, Griffin decided enough was enough and she hit the road with her fittingly titled Laugh Your Head Off World Tour. It went well overseas and it is going well here in North America. She is currently nearing the end of her Canadian leg and will stop here at the Orpheum on June 2.

“I have to defend the photo. I have to talk about the First Amendment because it is truly in danger,” said Griffin. “As you know there is a real history of comedians being fearless. I like explaining to people I didn’t break the law. I shouldn’t be on the f — king Interpol list. I shouldn’t be on the no-fly list for two months. Are you f — king kidding me? So part of my mission is to truly go town to town and say that if this can happen to me it can happen to you,” said Griffin.

As the name of the tour proves, Griffin is obviously leaning in on this whole photo thing.

“The show is completely honest and I am going to be completely honest with you. This photo will be with me the rest of my career and will be known when I leave this earth more than anything. I get it. I’m now Hanoi Jane,” said Griffin referencing the pejorative moniker given to Jane Fonda when she spoke out about the Vietnam War.

But now a year has passed and Griffin is in fine form. Her hair is shorter and her skin is even thicker.

“Dana, I am worse. If you look at my Twitter profile it goes Kathy Griffin the mayor of zero f — ksville,” said Griffin who has been performing professionally since 1980.

Now with a year of this insanity behind her she can look back on things through the lens of comedy.

“The first few times obviously it is horrifying but now I actually want to call and be like who else is on the list? Is it an A-list? Is it me and Lindsay Lohan or is it me and Vladimir Putin?” said Griffin.

At the end of the day Griffin still shakes her head at all the offence mostly Americans took from the photo, but she is not done with this story. Her show hones in on it and she brings some new Trump trashing to the stage.

“I have these Trump stories I have been sitting on because nobody gave a s — t,” said Griffin. “I have stories now like spending a day with The Donald. He hired me to roast him at one of his dumb golf courses with Liza Minnelli. I’m just telling you, I don’t mean to brag, but this show is very good.”

And then as we say goodbye she adds that she wants to shill for a second. She mentioned her mailing list and how fans can get alerts on their phone and asks when this feature was going to run.

“Sooner the better baby, let’s sell that show out. Either that or I am going to re-post the picture of the husband,” said Griffin. “What if I just caption it, ‘I met someone?'”

Now, that would be funny.









Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Pot business a growing concern on new TV series

5 hours 26 min ago

Bud Empire

Where: History

When: June 5, 10 p.m.

Bob Kay says now is the time for the cannabis industry to shake off its suspicious stigma and show the public that selling weed is legitimate work.

To do that, the father-of-four has put himself and his pot dispensary business front and centre in the new seven-part reality TV series Bud Empire, premiering on the History channel June 5 at 10 p.m.

“Hopefully (viewers) will take away the fact that wow this is an actual business and actual industry that people are using,” Kay says.

Kay has been in the marijuana industry for close to 10 years. His compassionate care dispensary BeKind Okanagan Growers and Compassion Club is located in downtown Kelowna.

With legalization likely just days away (the Senate votes on bill C-45 on June 7) Corus Entertainment, the broadcaster behind the show, saw the writing on the wall and the amount of conversation the cannabis industry was generating.

“We were drawn to the show immediately. With cannabis in the Canadian news daily and poised to become legal, we thought this was a timely history in the making concept,” said Lisa Godfrey, VP, original content, original programming: scripted, at Corus. “We were drawn to the characters and how they’re making their way in what is becoming a big business. We feel this is a stand out series for History that’s a little left of centre and would be a topical hit for the schedule.”

Bob Kay of Be Kind dispensary in Kelowna is at the centre of the new TV series Bud Empire. The show premieres June 5 on the History Channel.

Narrated by Canadian comic Will Sasso, the 30-minute episodes follow the daily world of the pot dispensary. You see how product is grown, procured and promoted and you see how politics play out. 

You also see customers from the long time weed lovers to the newbies who are looking to cannabis for medicinal purposes. It is the latter that Kay says his business is based on.

“It’s not just about smoking weed and getting high. It’s access to safe consumption for individuals who may want to use it recreationally or for medicinal purposes. That’s why we do it. People that are using cannabis as medicine are just regular people. Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” says Kay, emphasizing the compassion component of his business.

Kay hopes the show will answer questions and also remove the criminal shade cast on cannabis.

“They can come in and talk to us and now they won’t be afraid,” says Kay. “One of the things we see is when people come in for the first time they’re nervous. They’re afraid they don’t know the questions to ask.”

Kay, who says he enjoys “a fine marijuana cigarette,” began his relationship with pot when he was a teenager.

“I smoked my first joint and fell in love with it and I thought OK where is this going to take me,” says Kay. “You know you start to grow up. You start to think about different occupations and different careers and your path goes different ways and in the end I wanted to come back to cannabis in a capacity that supported people with cancer. That’s how I got back into it. I have relatives who have cancer, some critically ill. It was a ways and means for them to have access without being subjected to other drugs, other black market drugs.”

With the industry on the cusp of change there are lots of questions that should soon be answered.

When legalization goes through, business will change. Small players like Kay will be faced with corporations now locked and legally loaded and ready to rake in the pot.

Kay says later in the series viewers will see how he and his business plan on weathering the corporate onslaught.

But in the meantime he has a very simple plan of action for when pot goes straight.

“Someone said to me ‘hey what are you going to do when legalization happens?’ I said: ‘I think I am going to go home and sleep for one whole day.’

“In our industry we get it from everybody. We get it from the public. We get it from the police. We get it from the city. We get it from regular individuals. We get it from religious groups. It’s cannabis and there is a stigma attached to it. You know what I do? I open up my doors everyday and you never what is going to come in, so at one point I just want to go home and sleep for a day and not answer the door.”


Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Vancouver's Canada Day Parade cancelled due to rising costs

5 hours 28 min ago

The Canada Day Parade, one of the marquee events of Vancouver’s July 1 celebrations, has been cancelled.

The Port of Vancouver, which is hosting the Canada Day party at Canada Place for the 31st straight year, says the parade, an annual event since 2009, had become too costly to produce.

“Please note that after careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to no longer host the Canada Day parade. As overall costs continue to increase for such a large event, we are focusing our resources on the core elements of Canada Day at Canada Place to ensure we can continue to produce the best possible event for all attendees,” reads a statement on the Canada Place website.

Canada Day at Canada Place is a free event with musical performances and fireworks that attracts more than 250,000 people to Vancouver’s waterfront.


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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Two North Vancouver children suffer carbon monoxide poisoning aboard boat

5 hours 55 min ago

A pair of North Vancouver children are lucky to be alive after falling ill to carbon monoxide poisoning while boating with their family.

The dangerous incident unfolded in the waters of Indian Arm on Monday night when a North Vancouver family were in a 27-foot vessel equipped with an inboard engine.

Two children, aged 7 and 10, went down in the cabin while three adults stayed up on the outer deck.

When one of the parents later went to check on the children, they were found to be unconscious. North Vancouver RCMP say carbon monoxide had leaked from the inboard engine compartment into the cabin where they where resting.

The children regained consciousness once on deck.

Emergency personnel met the boat at the North Vancouver marina where they were given oxygen and taken to hospital. The children were released after a medical assessment and are expected to make a full recovery. 

“Thankfully this incident did not end up more tragic than what it did,” said RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong. “This week is national Safe Boating Awareness Week and police are reminding all boaters to be safety minded while on the water – especially being aware of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Carbon Monoxide Facts

• Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil burns.

• Cold or poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines.

• Installing a carbon monoxide detector in each accommodation space on your boat is a good safety measure.

• Do not confuse carbon monoxide poisoning with seasickness, intoxication or heat stress. If someone on board complains of irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness or dizziness, immediately move the person to fresh air.

• The best precaution against carbon monoxide poisoning is to keep fresh air flowing through the vessel.

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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

B.C. Ferries pauses plans to cancel fuel rebates as province offers to offset costs

5 hours 55 min ago

B.C. ferry users caught a break Tuesday when Transportation Minister Claire Trevena persuaded B.C. Ferries to leave fuel rebates in place — for now.

The company was planning to cancel the rebates, but agreed to a delay after Trevena offered more money to offset rising fuel costs.

“Given that new information, we’re prepared to wait a couple of weeks, as requested, to allow the government to see what they can do,” said the B.C. Ferries chief executive officer, Mark Collins.

“We always want to look for opportunities to make ferry travel more affordable for our customers, so if government has got some suggestions on how we can do that, we’re certainly willing to talk to them.”

Trevena sent a letter to B.C. Ferries chairman Donald Hayes on Monday, expressing disappointment with the company’s plans to cancel the 2.9 per cent fuel rebate on major and minor routes, and the 1.9 per cent rebate on northern routes.

The move would increase costs for ferry users on major routes by 50 cents for a passenger and $1.70 for a car.

“As minister, I am personally committed to delivering on our government’s promise to freeze fares,” Trevena wrote. “As I expressed to you, I believe this action is contrary to that.

“I also indicated that government was willing to negotiate to provide funds to B.C. Ferries to avoid this increase.”

Collins said B.C. Ferries has been in discussion with the government for months about what to do with the rebates, which have been in place for two years.

“It’s not sustainable that we could continue giving rebates in this high fuel-price environment,” he said.

“The minister asked us last week for a delay of a couple of weeks before we did anything more, and we weren’t immediately prepared to do that because it wouldn’t make any difference.

“However, there’s some new information in her letter and that is the government’s willingness to provide funding.”

Collins said the cost of the fuel rebates ranges from $750,000 to $1.7 million a month depending on traffic and the time of year.

The government has already increased the subsidy to B.C. Ferries by $59 million over two years to pay for fare relief commitments, Trevena said in her letter.

As of April 1, the government froze fares on three major routes, reduced them by 15 per cent on all other routes and restored free passenger travel for B.C. residents age 65 and older from Monday to Thursday.

Trevena told reporters Tuesday it was “unfortunate” that less than two months after those changes took effect, B.C. Ferries planned to remove the fuel rebates.

But she stopped short of revealing how much more money the government is prepared to give B.C. Ferries to keep fuel rebates in place.

“We want to sit down with B.C. Ferries and work out just what is needed to make sure that people are not seeing fares go up,” she said. “We’ve committed to people who live and work on the coast that fares will be affordable. People have been hammered for 16 years with massive fare increases and we made that commitment to make life affordable.”

Collins stressed that fuel rebates are “neutral” mechanisms that come and go depending on fuel prices. “There’s no profit or loss in it for us,” he said. “Everything is intended to flow back to ferry users either as a benefit or a surcharge.

“It’s been a very neutral process for the last 13 years and this process is well understood by ministry staff.”

© Copyright Times Colonist

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Yes, that was Morgan Freeman you heard on the SkyTrain

6 hours 28 min ago

“Good news, Vancouver.” For a limited time, you, too, can hear the voice of Oscar winner Morgan Freeman while riding public transit.

As part of TransLink’s rollout of credit card and mobile payments on board its buses and at SkyTrain stations, transit riders will hear Freeman’s distinctive voice making announcements at select SkyTrain stations and on some routes for a brief time this summer.

Freeman’s voice will be heard notifying transit riders about TransLink’s new tap-to-pay feature.

Read the full story here.

Here is a collection of the Morgan Freeman announcements you will hear onboard the SkyTrain and buses this summer:

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Your TransLink dreams are coming true: Morgan Freeman to voice Vancouver transit announcements

6 hours 35 min ago

“Hello, I’m Morgan Freeman” — and he’ll be the voice of TransLink for a limited time.

As part of TransLink’s rollout of credit card and mobile payments on board its buses and at SkyTrain stations, transit riders will hear Freeman’s distinctive voice making announcements at select SkyTrain stations and on some routes for a brief time this summer.

Freeman’s voice will be heard notifying transit riders about TransLink’s new tap-to-pay feature.

“Good news, Vancouver. Starting today, you can now tap your Visa to go anywhere TransLink takes you,” says Freeman on a sample audio clip shared with Postmedia.

The actor can also be heard making more standard announcements about bus etiquette, although his voice will not be used for individual stop announcements.

“Hello bus riders. This is a smoke-free bus, but I’m sure you already knew that,” says one track. “What you might not know, however, is that you can now tap your Visa to go anywhere TransLink takes you. Have a great day.”

Another audio clip recorded by Freeman will remind riders not to put their feet up on empty seats: “Hello transit riders. Remember what your mom used to say: Please keep your feet off the furniture. And also remember: You can now tap your Visa to go anywhere TransLink takes you.”

Riders hoping to hear Freeman’s voice narrating their commute can do so on six different yet-to-be-announced bus routes and at select SkyTrain stations between June 4 and July 29.

Freeman’s voice will also greet fans over the public announcement system at the end of B.C. Lions home games on June 8, June 16 and July 14.

The collaboration did not cost TransLink anything and the transit authority did not pay or hire Freeman for the voice work; the announcements are part of an ad campaign paid for by Visa Canada.

“Ads featuring Morgan Freeman’s voice are part of an ad campaign created by Visa,” explained TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan. “Visa bought ad space on our system to highlight the ability to pay at fare gates using contactless Visa cards.”

The actor has been the longtime voice of Visa credit cards and their marketing campaigns — Visa and Mastercard will be the only credit cards accepted by TransLink’s new tap-to-pay card readers at this time.

The new feature was launched Tuesday and will allow riders to tap their credit cards or mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay on card readers onboard buses and at SkyTrain stations to pay for a single adult cash fare. The charge will then appear on the rider’s credit card bill.

“We are excited to collaborate with TransLink to bring the ease and convenience of contactless payments to transit users across Metro Vancouver,” said Stacey Madge of Visa Canada in a statement.

“This launch is an important milestone in our journey to create a seamless payment experience for transit riders across Canada.”

Vancouver will be the first major city in Canada to have contactless pay options available on mass transit. A similar system was launched in Portland, Oregon last summer.

Freeman’s luxurious baritone has become recognizable over the years through his many film roles, but also online in memes and videos.

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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Concert announcement: PNE announces 2018 lineup for Summer Night Concerts

7 hours 34 min ago

If you’re looking for a healthy dose of nostalgia and enjoy evenings listening to live music under a summer sky, you’re in luck.

The Pacific National Exhibition has announced the 2018 lineup for their Summer Night Concerts, with headliners drawn from the ’70s, ’80s, the ’90s and the ’00s.

Saturday, Aug. 18 – Boyz II Men
Sunday, Aug. 19 – Air Supply
Tuesday, Aug. 21 – Dean Brody
Wednesday, Aug. 22 – Goo Goo Dolls
Thursday, Aug. 23 – I Love The ’90s Tour (Salt-N-Pepa, All-4-One, Color Me Badd, Young MC)
Friday, Aug. 24 – Wilson Phillips
Saturday, Aug. 25 – Marianas Trench
Sunday, Aug. 26 – Lost ’80s Live (A Flock of Seagulls, Men Without Hats, Wang Chung and more)
Tuesday, Aug. 28 – 112 feat. Slim
Wednesday, Aug. 29 – Kool & the Gang
Thursday, Aug. 30 – Jann Arden
Friday, Aug. 31 – Burton Cummings and Band
Saturday, Sept. 1 – Chicago
Sunday, Sept. 2 – Village People
Monday, Sept. 3 – Cyndi Lauper

The concerts are free with fair admission and based on capacity; concert tickets are available on site for no cost or online for a small service fee. Reserved seating is also available for $25.

For more information, visit the PNE online.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Yarilo and Erato offer innovative treats

7 hours 49 min ago

Ayre II — Early Music Remixed

When: May 26, 8 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Annex (823 Seymour St)

Tickets and info:

Project Tehillim

When: May 27, 8 p.m.

Where: Orpheum Annex

Tickets and info:

Given the wealth of major activities in Vancouver’s classical music scene, it’s all too easy to overlook smaller groups catering to various niche audiences. This is really too bad, as two excellent projects at the end of this month (both in the Orpheum Annex) amply demonstrate. Erato Ensemble offers an instalment of its informal “Ayre — Early Music Remixed” series, while Yarilo Music presents an extraordinary program centered around Steve Reich’s minimalist masterwork Tehillim.

Both initiatives are spearheaded by driven enthusiasts: singer Will George, who’s completing his term as Artistic Director at Erato, and pianist/musicologist Anna Levy, artistic director of Yarilo. Both translate passion into action, and the scene is very much richer for both, thank you. I spoke with them briefly last week.

The Yarilo organization takes its name from one of the late Nikolai Korndorf’s few piano compositions.

“I met composer Korndorf in Moscow, in the late 1980s,” explained Levy. “Yarilo is the title of a wonderful piano piece, which took me 10 years to get the courage to perform.” (You can hear Levy play it on YouTube.)

Composer and performer crossed paths again here on the West Coast.

“I played the piece for him shortly before his death. It’s like Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring or Les Noces — something that really reflects him spiritually.”

When Levy and fellow pianist Jane Hayes began to perform together, Levy wished to remember Korndorf in the name of her nascent organization.

“When we formed our group in 2011, I decided to dedicate it to him.”

Project Tehillim is, for a small organization, a real extravaganza. (“I think I may have over-extended myself for this concert,” confided Levy). It is music in the service of a meaningful cause, a series of concerts dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the salvation of the Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War.

A selection of appropriate music by modern and contemporary figures is anchored by Steve Reich’s 1981 settings of psalms, Tehillim.

“I have been passionate about the piece ever since I first heard it,” Levy said. “Soprano Heather Pawsey found the conductor, Les Dala, and told me he had conducted it last year in Toronto. Our finances came from the City of Vancouver and the Jewish Fund, plus my first-ever GoFundIt campaign!”

Erato, founded in 2006 by singers Will George and Catherine Laub, is the only ensemble in town devoted to chamber music using voice. Saturday’s performance will be George’s last show as Artistic Director; composer Michael Parks takes over administrative duties next season.

Tenor Will George is featured in Ayre II.

This is instalment two of the Ayre series, a mash-up of contemporary and historical musics. With Erato’s strong interest in contemporary music and Canadian composers, the idea of a remix seemed irresistible.

“ I thought it would be a really neat idea to do it by mirroring,” explained George. “Doing the original pieces in the first half and then let the contemporary composers rework them in the second half.”

In Ayre I composers were tasked with reharmonizing or restructuring their materials, but keeping the original melody intact.

“This time round some of the composers have really torn pieces apart and put them back together again,” said George.

Ayre II features source music from “Hildegard to Handel” reconsidered by seven composers, including a contest-winning creation by Elizabeth Knudson.


Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Anthony Gismondi: B.C. wine of the week, wine to cellar and calendar items

8 hours 4 min ago

If the Naramata Bench is in your summer plans check out Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique at JoieFarm.

It is not a restaurant, rather a beautiful outdoor salon, a place to sit casually or throw down a blanket among the heritage fruit trees and orchard to enjoy wine country snacks and a glass of JoieFarm wine. The food is seasonal from the winery garden, local growers, and the Penticton Farmer’s Market and menus are ever changing.

Tasting flights of five wines are $15, with an option to add three reserve wines for $5. Tasting fees are waived with a one bottle purchase. Le Comptoir at Joie Picnique and the nearby oyster shell bocce court are reserved for tasting room guests only. Open 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (weather dependent). Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

• Don’t wait too long to grab a ticket to the Savvy Series: Swing into Summer tasting at Marquis Wine Cellars. Join in-house sommelier Pam Cohen to investigate a little bubbly or a glass of pink as she explores the broad world of sparkling wine and rosé to prepare for summer BBQs and picnics.

The evening includes bread and cheese from Les Amis Du Fromage, and after class you will get a chance to purchase wines at a special price. Swing into Summer is June 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Marquis Wine Cellars Event Space, 1034 Davie Street. Tickets are $34 per person online at

B.C. wine of the week

Lang Vineyards Riesling Select Harvest 2017, Okanagan Valley

$19.90 | 89/100

UPC: 626990209065

Wow, so delicious and a perfect wine to quaff all summer. The style is super ripe-Kabinett with a refreshing, stony, mid-palate minerality and a beautiful peach/pear fruit finish with a hint of crunch suggesting perfect acidity. I’m thinking spicy pakora, sweet and sour dishes, barbecue pork and much more. Impressive wine with a new label that looks as good as the wine tastes. Private wine sector.

Wine for the cellar

Il Fauno di Arcanum 2012, Tuscany, Italy

$37.99 | 88/100

UPC: 850202002247

The blend in 2012 is 48/27/22/3 Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot. The nose is a peculiar mix of floral/meaty notes with bits of black fruit and coffee aromas. The attack is similar with resiny, licorice, black fruit and bitter espresso notes. This needs another three to five years to settle down. Best with mushroom or meaty pasta dishes.


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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

B.C. woman loses mom in tragic beach accident in Tofino on her wedding day

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 23:32

A B.C. woman’s wedding day turned tragic after her mother died in a freak accident at a Tofino beach the very same day.

Victoria Emon was preparing for her wedding ceremony at Wickaninnish Inn’s Shell Beach on Sunday when her mom, Ann Wittenberg, and sister Rachel headed to Long Beach on Sunday morning to catch some waves.

“She was just so excited to go surfing,” said Emon in a telephone interview Monday night. “They were just floating on a surfboard, and talking. They were just talking. Then the current came and got her.”

Wittenberg, 52, was dragged into the water, but Rachel managed to stay on the surfboard and started calling for help.

A group of people rushed to their aid and pulled them to shore.

“They got my mom out of the water. They did CPR and the paramedics came and took her to hospital. But she didn’t make it,” said Emon, her voice dissolving into sobs.

Emon’s sister was unharmed. “My mom looked after her, my mom made sure she was OK.”

Tofino RCMP was not immediately available to respond to Postmedia’s request for more details, but the Westerly News confirmed that Mounties received a report of a woman in distress in the water around 10:30 a.m. They told the paper foul play was not suspected.

Wittenberg, who lived in Ottawa, had arrived in Tofino on Friday for Emon’s wedding.

The family had been in Nanaimo last year, and that’s when Emon told her mom she wanted to get married in Vancouver Island. They decided on Tofino, drawn by its wide, windswept beaches and the surfing.

After the tragic incident, Emon made the difficult decision to go ahead with her wedding, which was scheduled later that afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

“Mom would have wanted me to,” she said, crying again. “It was hard, but she was there.”

Before the ceremony, Emon kept on looking for her mom, still in shock and disbelief she was gone.

It was a cloudy day, but as she walked down the aisle, the clouds parted and the sun became visible — a sign, she believes, from her mother. “She was there with us,” said Emon. “She just shone through the sky.”

Victoria Emon (right) and her maid of honour, sister Rachel Emon

Emon said her mom had just gotten married a few months ago. Her husband was not able to make it to Tofino. Now Emon will be helping plan her mom’s funeral in Ottawa.

In the midst of her grief, Emon was willing to talk about the tragedy because she wanted people to remember her mother.

“She was such a good mom. She was always there for us. She always told us she loved us so much, and she was just like this little ball of energy,” she said.

“She was so amazing, and so loved.”

Victoria and Rachel Emon visited their mother’s favourite tree on Monday.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

David Baines: Regulators unfairly criticized for anemic securities enforcement

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 21:10

The Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail have been highly critical of securities regulators for collecting only a small fraction of the massive amount of fines they impose on securities offenders.

The Globe has also criticized regulators for what it views as a disturbingly large number of offenders who ignore their fines and suspensions and go on to commit more securities offences.

While the criticism has helped alert the public to some of the shortcomings of securities enforcement, it needs careful explanation and qualification.

In a series of articles published in December (and more recent follow-up stories), the Globe has been pounding away at its sudden discovery that Canadian securities regulators have failed to collect more than $1 billion in fines.

The Sun reported that the B.C. Securities Commission, in particular, has collected only two per cent of the $510 million it assessed in the last decade.

Both papers characterized these figures as investigative discoveries, which deliberate or not, gives the impression that regulators are trying to hide something from the public. This is not true.

The B.C. figures were lifted, almost verbatim, from the BCSC’s last annual report. All the other provincial commissions similarly report their collection rates in their annual reports. Most provinces — including B.C., Ontario and Alberta — also publish lists of individual offenders and how much they owe.

So the poor collection record is not exactly a state secret.

Both papers also gave the impression that regulators could collect many of these fines, if only they would get off their butts.

I agree that regulators could step up their collection efforts, but seizing and selling assets is not an easy process. There are all sorts of legal obstacles, and by the time regulators arrive on the scene, the assets are usually either fully encumbered or long gone. Regulators are also reluctant to collect fines at the expense of investor recoveries. And in any event, proceeds from these sorts of assets amount to crumbs in the overall picture and hardly move the collection needle.

Which brings us to the main reason why the collection record is so poor: most of the fines are purely notional in nature.

Consider the case of the Freedom Investment Club, which the Sun cited as an example of poor fine collection.. A BCSC hearing panel found the two principals, Michael Lathigee and Earl Pasquill, took $21.7 million of investors’ money and invested it in Alberta real estate projects without mentioning that the projects had severe cash flow problems.

The panel found they had defrauded these investors and ordered them to disgorge the full $21.7 million. That money was not spirited away into some offshore account. It was invested and lost. It no longer exists.

Then the panel fined them an additional $15 million each, which, again, is money that never existed in the first place. So the grand total of $51.7 million consists of money that no longer exists or never existed in the first place. In fact, the vast majority of unpaid fines (by dollar value) fall into this category. Is there any wonder these fines remain unpaid?

But that begs the question: Why do regulators assess large fines they will never collect? There are four reasons, none of which were reported.

The first is that case law has established that ability to pay is not a determinative factor in assessing fines. The mandate of securities regulators is to protect the market. It cannot, by law, punish offenders. Its focus, as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, must be on deterrence.

There are two kinds of deterrence — specific and general. If a particular offence calls for a $10-million fine, but the offender is bankrupt, a fine of that magnitude doesn’t mean much in terms of specific deterrence. But in terms of general deterrence, a $10-million fine signals to all other would-be offenders that this is what you are facing if you commit a similar offence.

The second reason is that victims would be outraged if fines were reduced or waved simply because the offender is unable to pay. Victims want the perpetrators on the hook for the rest of their lives.

The third reason is that offenders may eventually come into money, either through a new business venture, an inheritance, or maybe even a lottery winning.

The fourth and most significant reason is that no matter how long an offender has been suspended from the market, he will remain suspended as long as the fine remains unpaid.

Both papers noted that regulators routinely issue news releases announcing huge fines without mentioning that the likelihood of collection is often slim to none. The suggestion here is that regulators are more interested in sensational headlines than actual collections.

While it’s true that these releases make good headlines, it’s not fair to blame the regulators. No commission is going to say, “We have fined Mr. Smith $10 million, but we don’t expect him to pay.” The official position must always be that he is expected to pay.

If reporters take the time and trouble to ask, commission officials will often acknowledge that the likelihood of payment is remote. And even if they decline comment, reporters can make their own assessments. Many media outlets, however, cannot resist bright shiny objects.

The Globe, for example, published a sensational headline based on the $33-million fine assessed against former Vancouver notary Rashida Samji without noting that she is bankrupt and inundated with lawsuits from her victims. In those cases, I say it’s the paper that’s misleading the public, not the regulators.

The Globe also implied that the $1 billion in outstanding fines, if collected, could be used to fund white-collar criminal investigations or to reimburse victims. This is not true. Due to concerns of institutional bias, securities commissions are obliged to use fine money for investor education.

The Globe additionally reported that 11 per cent of securities offenders are repeat offenders, which we are supposed to accept as evidence that commission enforcement is not working. However, the paper made no attempt to relate this figure to any other form of recidivism. Its only support was a York University professor who said, “That’s a lot.”

In my opinion, it’s a remarkably low figure. Compare it to, say, an aboriginal recidivism rate as high as 66 per cent within three years of completion of community supervision. That’s what I would call a lot.

Although I have concerns about many of their policies and practices, I think that, on balance, the securities commissions are doing their job, especially considering their rather narrow mandate and the limited tools they have at their disposal.

It’s true that securities offenders can easily ignore their suspensions and fines, but the commissions can’t do much about it. The only effective answer is jail, but regulators don’t have the authority to put people in jail. Only the police and the Crown and the courts can do that, which begs the question, where are they?

Every year, securities regulators ban and fine dozens of securities fraudsters, but as The Sun reported, the RCMP has taken very few of these cases forward for criminal prosecution. They have lots of excuses, but in my view, the real reason is disinterest and incompetence.

This is not a new problem. It has existed for decades. Instead of focusing on the regulators, our provincial politicians need to square off with the RCMP and tell them to shape up. That’s where the investment buck stops.

David Baines is The Vancouver Sun’s former securities columnist.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Bill Thomas: Canadian CEOs confident to take on the mountain

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 21:00

My job means I spend less time in Vancouver than I’d like, but wherever I go I never miss the chance to talk up my hometown and the rest of B.C. We’ve got great sports teams, an internationally recognized food scene, an incredibly inclusive spirit, beautiful beaches, and everyone’s favourite outdoor attraction, the Grouse Grind.

The West Coast is also home to some of the world’s brightest, most innovative companies. Vancouver has become a global innovation hub, attracting tech leaders and start-ups that are disrupting markets and transforming business.

Another Canadian trait I appreciate is our confidence — and our optimism — both of which are reflected by the Canadian CEOs in our annual Global CEO Outlook study.

And while, if I’m honest, you could say this of a number of places around the world, there is something markedly different about Canadian CEOs — and those on the West Coast. How are the business leaders in my home province using their strengths to brace for the headwinds and seize the opportunities of tomorrow’s economic and geopolitical climate?

We spoke with 1,300 CEOs from around the world, plus 50 leaders of large Canadian companies, including a number from B.C., to get their frank, unvarnished view of the business landscape and the challenges they are facing.

The results are striking. Canadian CEOs are almost universally confident about the growth of our economy over the next three years — a full 20 percentage points more confident than the global average of CEOs in our study. I see this confidence reflecting the fundamental strength and diversity of the Canadian economy, as well as a thriving entrepreneurial spirit and a determination that Canada will continue to look outward to expand global trade.

These CEOs are not just confident about the prospects for the country’s economy — their confidence extends to their own businesses and how they are going about driving growth and ensuring future success. As a whole, Canadian CEOs are placing more of an emphasis on M&A than their international peers, and a number are considering other avenues like strategic alliances and joint ventures. They’re agreeing that it’s time to take risks — the right risks — make new business connections and, above all, to be bold.

At the same time, Canadian CEOs are incredibly confident about their capacity to steer their business against economic and geopolitical headwinds in order to seize tomorrow’s opportunities. A large majority are confident in their ability to transform both their organizations and the ways they personally lead, and more than eight in ten are personally prepared to lead their organization through radical transformation — 10 points higher than the global average.

But as we British Columbians can appreciate, Canadian CEOs are also pragmatic in understanding that tomorrow’s growth and opportunity won’t come without overcoming some significant challenges. They are justifiably concerned about cyber security and operational risks to their business — even more so than their global counterparts. But at the same time Canadian CEOs believe their businesses are more prepared to withstand a cyber-attack versus their US and global peers — which I think demonstrates a keen self-awareness combined with intelligence and a pinch of resilience that our forefathers would be proud to see carried forward.

This same combination of confidence, determination and realism is reflected in the conversations I am having with Canadian and international business leaders. Canadians have (in my view, a well-earned!) reputation around the world for being pragmatic, highly aware of our surroundings, rightly cautious about risks, yet still brave enough to push forward into new pastures and opportunities.

I think the results of our Global CEO research bodes well for business in B.C. and Canada as a whole. Much like the Grouse Grind, with the right mix of confidence and determination, we can get to the top of the mountain.

Bill Thomas is the global chairman of KPMG International. He is the former CEO and senior partner of KPMG in Canada, and former office managing partner for KPMG’s Vancouver practice.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Lifted evacuation orders gives B.C. residents first glimpse of damaged homes

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:57

Tanya McKimmie left Langley for Grand Forks in September with her husband and two kids to start a life closer to family. 

They bought and moved into her mother-in-law’s two-storey, three-bedroom home in the North Ruckle neighbourhood.

“It was supposed to be our forever home,” McKimmie said. 

But everything changed in a matter of minutes overnight on May 11. Rising waters rushed into their street as nearby dikes broke — and McKimmie faced a frantic push to grab anything she could and get out of the house.

“I had to go down the street and help family get out as well. There was screaming as we loaded into the truck while water was rising everywhere. It just didn’t feel real.”

Although the majority of residents in British Columbia’s Boundary region who were forced from their homes by catastrophic floods are free to return home, many are still waiting for their properties to be assessed by emergency crews before deciding what to do next. 

Residents will return to find yellow or red placards on their doors, which will indicate the severity of the damage. 

McKimmie was notified late Monday that she has received a yellow placard — with her property rendered not livable. The family has been living in a trailer ever since, and has not been back to visit. A social media video posted by search and rescue crews recently gave McKimmie her first glimpse of their home. It captures a blanket of water covering the entire first floor.

“It feels like our lives are on pause right now. I don’t know how long we’ll be living in this trailer,” she said. 

Alyssa Baresinkoss, another South Ruckle resident, believes her home may still be inhabitable, as she awaits assessments to be completed. 

“Our little one is four-and-a-half years old, and he knows we can’t go home,” she said. “Right now we’re trying to figure out where exactly we’re going to live for the next few months, and what kind of funding there is available for us.”

Dae Jin Chun carries 9-year-old Ella Kim as his seven-year-old daughter Eunice walks through the water at Derby Reach Park in Langley.

Businesses in Grand Forks are waiting for the completion of the same process. Already, three buildings in the downtown core have been marked with red, said Kendra Begg, Manager of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce. 

Restaurant owners will face lengthy contamination checks before they can operate, after overwhelmed sewage systems released contaminated water into the mix of tides. 

“There’s long road to recovery before businesses can get moving again,” said Begg.

Residents have coordinated relief efforts on the ground and through social media to aid those in need. Bethany Thate put out a call for donations for her ‘Fill the Trailer Campaign’ and was able to receive enough donations to serve flooding care packages to 30 families — everything from clothes and kids’ toys to appliances and groceries. 

“Everyday I usually get about 20 to 40 messages from people who want to help donate,” she said. “I’ve gotten messages from Calgary, Kelowna, Osoyoos, and even as far out as a lady from Nunavut.”

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says evacuation orders have been lifted and downgraded to evacuation alerts for about 1,400 properties, leaving about 326 addresses to go.

In Grand Forks, about 377 properties had evacuation orders rescinded, including South Ruckle.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces remain in the province to assist in flood protection. While about 100 were stationed at Grand Forks, they are now being redeployed to other areas of the province that might still bare the brunt of more flooding. 

Meanwhile, in the Lower Mainland, fears the Fraser River could overflow its banks and start flooding low-lying areas did not materialize. 

A map posted by the Fraser Valley Regional District website shows 18 properties around Nicomen Island and nine properties next to Harrison Bay are also facing evacuation orders.

The Township of Langley, which has 260 homes and businesses under an evacuation alert, was bracing for flooding if water levels went over six metres. 

On Monday, the water level at the Mission gauge, which was expected to hit 6.22 metres, stayed below the six-metre mark. 

The weather will be the key factor in how the situation unfolds this week, said the B.C. River Forecast Centre in a statement. 

With hot weather expected to continue over the Fraser River watershed, officials say additional rises on the lower Fraser River are a possibility as higher temperatures will increase snowmelt and contribute to higher flows.

— with files from The Canadian Press, Cheryl Chan

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Mother of Vancouver slaying victim seeks answers one year later

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:00

As Marlene Thistle pleads for closure over the shooting-death of her daughter one year ago in Mount Pleasant, police say a code of silence could be all that stands in the way.

Late in the sunny afternoon of May 23, 2017, Janice Nicole Bryant was found suffering gunshot wounds outside her home near East 7th Avenue and St. Catherines Street. The 33-year-old mother was taken to hospital but didn’t survive, and police said her shooting appeared to have been targeted.

A year later, Thistle said she remains “dissatisfied” with the Vancouver Police Department’s investigation.

“All I want is the police to actually wipe the dust off the file folder and put closure to this,” she said. “I want to see justice be done. I want to see the people who shot my daughter come forward.”

Janice Nicole Bryant, 33, was found suffering gunshot wounds outside her home near East 7th Avenue and St. Catherines Street on May 23, 2017. She later died. Police have made no arrests.

But Vancouver police Const. Jason Doucette said the investigation “remains very active.” He said homicide investigators believe there are people that know who pulled the trigger but are withholding the killer’s identity. Police are urging those people to break their code of silence and call or provide an anonymous tip that would help advance their case.

“Homicide investigations are complex and can take time to collect sufficient evidence to make an arrest and hold those responsible accountable,” Doucette said. “Our detectives are confident that there are people who know who killed Janice Bryant and are choosing not to come forward.”

Meantime, Thistle travelled from Vancouver to northern B.C. last week to spend time with her sons, Christopher and Andrew, as they grieve for their loved one on the anniversary of her death. Thistle said the siblings were raised closely and she and her sons are struggling to cope.

A woodworker in Sechelt has been carving a bench in memory of Bryant. Thistle said she is still waiting for City of Vancouver approval to install the bench at East 7th and St. Catherines. Thistle said the bench will respect their family’s culture — both Thistle and Bryant were from the Gitxsan First Nation and Bryant later adopted herself into her grandfather’s clan, Lax-Kw’alaams.

Thistle described her daughter as a good woman, an inspiration to other mothers, who put her daughter through hockey and school. Bryant’s daughter was the “apple of her eye” and she did everything she could to give her a happy life, Thistle said.

While police have said Bryant’s slaying appeared to be targeted — which often implies a connection to organized crime — Thistle said her daughter was not involved with gangs and was unfairly characterized by police and media reports around the time of her death.

Bryant’s husband had been open about his past affiliation with gangs but was no longer involved by the time the two married 17 months before her death, after having an on-again, off-again relationship spanning more than 17 years, Thistle said. She believes police aren’t paying close enough attention to her daughter’s case because of the perceived gang link.

“I feel like they’re dragging their ass because right off the bat they associated my daughter as a gang member and she was not,” Thistle said.

“They misinterpreted that she was married to an ex-gang member when she was only married to him for 17 months, whereas she was my daughter for 33 years before she passed.”

Thistle said police have spoken with her only seven or eight times over the past year, sometimes taking a week or three to call her back, though she’s contacted them plenty more than that, she added.

ancouver Police and Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) on scene of a fatal shooting near St Catherines St and E 7th Ave. in Vancouver, B.C … May 24, 2017.

Doucette said investigators continue to provide updates to one of Bryant’s relatives, despite earlier challenges that lead to “difficulty with identifying one consistent point of contact.”

Thistle said she is not that point of contact. 

“They don’t meet with me,” she said. “I have to call them and talk to them. I call, leave messages and they call me back at their leisure.”

Lately, Thistle said, her family has been doing “OK,” though she no longer speaks with Bryant’s 18-year-old daughter, who now lives with her father.

“It’s very hard for me because I feel like I’ve lost two daughters, never mind just one,” Thistle said. 

Thistle’s message to those responsible for her daughter’s death is simple: “I just want them to do what’s right. To come forward and turn themselves in. Deal with the law as we see it, serve their time and go about their life.”

“You took my child,” she added, her voice quivering. “You took my baby girl away from me.”

Anyone with information about Bryant’s killer should call investigators at 604-717-2500 or make an anonymous report with CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

21 shots ring out in Royal City in memory of Queen Victoria

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:00

The mood was high at Queen’s Park Stadium in New Westminster as the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery gathered to for their annual salute to Queen Victoria on Monday.

To some, the Royal City’s annual 21-shot anvil salute might seem a little outdated. A relic of colonialism. White men in red jackets gleefully shoving a red hot poker between two anvils to set off a sonic boom in salute to a dead monarch.

Or not. It’s hard to resist the excitement of a controlled explosion that sets off car alarms and sends blast waves through the air.

Among the crowd, babies sported noise-cancelling headphones, older kids yelled instructions at each other (“Stick out your tongue, you’ll feel it in your mouth,”) and more than one dollar-store tiara glinted in the sun.

After acknowledging the event was taking place on the traditional territory of the Qayqayt and Coast Salish people, and issuing a safety warning (block your ears), historian Archie Miller explained that this 130-year tradition had begun as a bit of a rebellion.

In the 1800s, a local fire brigade requested permission to use a cannon to salute Queen Victoria, but were told no: the salute could only be performed in the capital city. (A chorus of boos erupted when Miller reminded the crowd that New Westminster, the former capital of the colony of British Columbia, had lost out to Victoria.)

Locals, displeased with the no-cannon edict, defiantly created a renegade 21-shot anvil salute to the Queen. “The paper recorded that their waves echoed far beyond the Fraser (River),” said Miller.

Member of the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery stand at attention Monday after firing off the anvil during the Victoria Day Anvil Battery Salute at Queen’s Park Stadium in New Westminster.

At the annual Victoria Day event, the Hyack Anvil Battery loads one anvil on top of another. Black powder, measured into a shot glass, and held in place by a playing card, is ignited by a red-hot rod to blow the top anvil off. 

The battery also performs the salute for dignitaries, including the lieutenant governor and for the Queen and Prince Philip when they visited in 2002.

Each of the 21 booms is dedicated to the memory of a monarch, a local community member or historic event. This year the weekend wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle got a nod.

“If Harry and Meghan were to visit New Westminster, we could fire for them and it’s very possible they would want to shoot,” said Miller.

Dignitaries are often invited to be “toucher-off,” and run the red-hot poker from the forge (which looks like a hot charcoal barbecue), to ignite the gunpowder, explained Miller. 

There have been a few minor mishaps over the years.

“We advise women to wear slacks,” said Miller, recalling a female dignitary who touched off the explosion and had a few holes burnt in her pantyhose when hot sand blew back at her legs. 

It’s all part of the fun.

As for blowback about colonialism, Miller said that his role as the battery’s historian and archivist is to fine-tune heritage presentations. “I expect someone might want to come and talk to us about it, and if they do, we would welcome that.”

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Categories: Vancouver Sports News

5 things to know about Beacon of Faith by Baptists

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:58

The third album from Vancouver hardcore/metal crew Baptists drops on May 25. Released on Southern Lord, it’s the follow up to 2014s acclaimed Bloodmines and builds on the promise of the band’s 2012 debut Bushcraft.

As the new wave of Vancouver hardcore/heavy metal continues to develop a global brand, bands like Baptists are leading the way with strong messages about the cost we all pay in a system rife with social, political, economic and other inequality.

Here are five things to know about Beacon of Faith:

1: It’s loud. Yes, this is a loud band on album. So are a lot of bands. But the beauty of what came out of the recording at Salem, Mass., studio Godcity with Kurt Ballou and subsequent mastering by Brad Boatright at Portland’s Audiosiege is an absolutely huge sound. Listen to the drums on the first single Capsule as a great example of how many layers of loud have been woven together on this session.

2: It’s concise. Unlike their contemporaries, many of whom choose long-to-really-long builds in their songs, Andrew Drury, Danny Marshall, Shawn Hawryluk and Nick Yacyshyn start at full speed and thrash through track after track with lean and mean assault. Of the 13 tunes on the album eight clock in at under two and half minutes. Then there is the nearly seven minute long Eulogy Template tossed in to let fans appreciate just how crusty this crew can get when it wants to.

3: Bevel Down. Nearly at the end of the thrashing this album gives your ears comes this song that has a positively hook that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Enter Shikari album with its melody line and shredded vocal chorus break. Not everything on the album is fury and rage on one setting.

4: Andrew Drury. The singer of the group deserves a big nod for his rising above the noise of it all. His vocal style is right in the middle of the most angst ridden hardcore punk howler and a true metal angry Muppet growl and it comes through over a racket that many singers wouldn’t be able to eclipse.

5: Green vinyl. On its Facebook page, the band has posted that “Southern Lord and Green Hell-Records are so sick, they’re going green.” What that means is that there is a green — and I’m talking REALLY deep Swamp Thing slime green — vinyl release of the album. Cool.

Also being listened to this week

Tracyanne & Danny: Tracyanne & Danny (Merge)

The 10 tune debut from the duo of former Camera Obscura singer Tracyanne Campbell and Bristol’s Danny Coughlan is right in line with many great Scottish pop acts. The songs have country tinges, crooner pop hooks and are loaded with melancholy. Above it all, it’s just so incredibly clean sounding. How to make something that seems so completely 60s without being retro is impressive enough in itself. This will twang it’s way into your faves if you already have a penchant for music such as She & Him. 

Klaus Schulze: Silhouettes (Oblivion/SPV)

Legendary German avant-rocker and electronic music progenitor Schulze is estimated to have recorded on somewhere between 200 and 500 albums. The music he’s crafted as a leader of session player has always tended toward the outside realms of the avant-rock scene and often times veered into ambient soundtracks. As Schulze explains, in the wake of his 70th birthday and suffering from some health problems, he was feeling reflective and meditative. That perfectly describes the almost symphonic builds in songs such as the 22 minute long Der lange Blick zurück or 15 minute title track. This is contemplative for sure and lovely.

John Maus: Addendum (Ribbon)

American composer Maus has come a long way from his vintage synth, lo-fi sounds using cassette multi-track recorders. Which isn’t to say that his sound isn’t still characterized by Spartan, minimalist instrumentation and apocalyptic themes. He’s just moved into better quality recording such as what gave 2017s Screen Memories such solid press. In fact, many of the tracks on Addendum are leftovers from those sessions, although which of the dozen tunes isn’t clear. Given his PhD in philosophy and general interest in outsider themes, his music can sometime seem a big bogged down with goth habits. But then you listen to the lyrics to Dumpster Baby — “Take the baby to the dump/You take that baby to the dump/Dumpster Baby/Plutonium babies” — and it’s hard not to be rolling the floor. Catchy and freshly ridiculous.



Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Theatre Review: Les Filles du Roi tells a troubling chapter of Canadian history

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:10

Les Filles du Roi

When: To May 27

Where: York Theatre

Tickets & Info: $10-$46; 

In the midst of this country’s exciting Aboriginal cultural renaissance, some of the most eye-opening work is happening here in B.C. One of last year’s signature events was the premiere of Corey Payette’s moving residential school musical, Children of God, at The Cultch’s York Theatre.

Now Payette grapples with another troubling chapter of Canadian history in a new musical at the York. He and co-writer/co-lyricist Julie McIsaac tell a compelling story about the Mohawk and their conflicts with the French in 17th century Quebec.

As the title indicates, Les Filles du Roi also focuses on the French brides-to-be “sent by the King,” fille Marie-Jeanne (Julie McIsaac) explains to Mohawk Jean-Baptiste (Raes Calvert), “to populate the New World.” After a perfectly timed pause he responds, “It’s already populated.”

A musical about politics, gender, culture, power, religion and violence, performed and sung in three languages, the play alternates moments of brilliance with sections sorely in need of clarification and linguistic unravelling.

Though Jean-Baptiste speaks their language and trades with them, the French still consider him a “savage.” His sister Kateri (Kaitlyn Yott), training to become clan mother of her people, struggles to gain her brother’s respect. The French see her only as a heathen to be converted.

Facing her own challenges, Marie-Jeanne ultimately rebels against the rigid system and a brutal marriage. Disciplinarian Madame Savoie (Laura Di Cicco) tries to keep her in line along with six other filles who theatrically transform into French soldiers and Mohawk women. English trader Clarke (Andrew Cohen) mediates between the French and Mohawk.

Julie McIsaac (in the spotlight) stars in Les Filles du Roi, which tells a troubling chapter of Canadian history. The musical runs until May 27 at the York Theatre.

When Marie-Jeanne becomes an outlaw and the Mohawk siblings confront colonial violence, the three find common cause across language and culture in an optimistic ending tempered by historical realities.

With a piano and onstage string musicians, Payette — who also directs — creates some magical musical scenes against the backdrop of Marshall McMahen’s transformative set and rich costumes, aided by Patrice Bowler’s elegant movement design.

Among the highlights, the performers and musicians come together in a dignified procession singing prayers in beautiful harmony and counterpoint. Later the French women dance their desire for freedom and selfhood, and the Clan Mother (Chelsea Rose) leads the Mohawk women in a powerful song welcoming signs of spring.

The actors have fine voices, though a few difficult passages in Payette’s score led to some shrieky singing on opening night.

The central issue in terms of audience reception, besides confusing plot points, is that so much of the dialogue and song is in French or Kanien’kéha, the Mohawk language. English surtitles are projected on both sides of the auditorium. But I found myself looking up to read translations almost as often as I was attending to the characters onstage. Though beautifully sung, the French songs left me unaffected because I had to read their lyrics.

Granting both sides their linguistic integrity is admirable. It’s especially important for us to hear some Mohawk as part of what Payette calls “indigenizing the narrative.” But why does anyone, including the English Clarke, have to use French in this play? Even the Parisians in Les Miz sing in English.

It may be multicultural heresy, but I would defer to theatrical convention and have everyone speak and sing primarily in English to maximize the play’s dramatic and emotional effects for a largely anglophone audience.

Categories: Vancouver Sports News

Ferries are full, even with room for more cars: B.C. Ferries

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:04

Lengthy waiting times and a busy long weekend schedule raised concerns that some B.C. Ferries vessels may not have been operating at full capacity, after photos taken on board showed empty car slots upon departure. 

But B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said unfilled spots on the vehicle decks only means that there was increased foot traffic on board. 

“If we hit the passenger count, we’re not permitted to carry anyone else. On a couple of occasions this weekend we have hit the maximum number of passengers,” she said. “That means we can’t load anymore traffic onto the vessels.”

Transport Canada licensing terms imposes a fixed rate of passengers permitted to board per sail, depending on the type of vessel. The Salish class, which runs between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands, has a capacity of 600 passengers and crew members. 

On long weekends, Marshall said ferries operate with an ‘A licence,’ allowing them to operate at their greatest capacity. 

And the ratio of cars to foot passengers is changing rapidly, said Brian Hollingshead, co-chair of the Southern Gulf Island Ferry Advisory Committee. 

“There’s those who want to save money by leaving their cars behind, and others who are trying to be environmentally conscious,”” Hollingshead said. ““Over the long weekend we’ve also seen that passengers will go without cars because they’re being picked up by friends and family on the islands.”

Calls for greater capacity, however, are all too common for some residents who frequently rely on ferry services. Julie Bowman, who lives in Sechelt, said an increase in population in the area has not been matched with an equal increase in services. 

“We can’t catch a break. I have to have to plan my life around it,” she said. “My son is coming to visit next weekend, and they’re already sold out of all the good time slots.”

Vehicle and passenger counts posted on B.C. Ferries’ website shows a steady increase in usage per year. A number of factors, stemming from greater traffic on board vessels are causing frustration, says Diana Mumford, the chair of Southern Sunshine Coast’s advisory committee.

“There’s that expectation of roads and service, and I don’t see those of us that live on coastal communities to expect any less. Because ferries are our roads.”


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Fire damages abandoned Langley house

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 17:54

A suspicious fire broke out Monday at an abandoned house in the Township of Langley. 

Firefighters responded to reports of a one-storey house on fire in the 19700-block 32nd Avenue in the Brookswood neighbourhood at about 9:30 a.m.

“When the crews arrived on scene, the fire was already through the roof, and the house looked to be abandoned,” said Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Ferguson.

The blaze quickly escalated into a second-alarm fire. About two dozen firefighters and five trucks from two fire halls responded, and put out the fire in about three hours. 

Nobody was inside the house at the time of the fire. There was also no furniture inside, and the gas had been shut off. 

Until investigators find out what caused fire, the incident is considered suspicious, said Ferguson. “There was nothing inside the house, so there doesn’t appear to be natural or accidental causes that could occur.”

It was the second major incident Langley Township fire crews responded to on the Victoria Day long weekend.

On Saturday night, a barn on 256th Street in Aldergrove that housed a licensed marijuana grow-op was destroyed by a fire.

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