Category "Books"

8Mar

Festival flourishes in third year with broad literary focus

by admin

Growing Room

When: March 11-15

Where: Various Vancouver locations

Tickets and info:festival.roommagazine.com

Shani Mootoo has never been to the Growing Room feminist literary and arts festival but the author is looking forward to seeing what other artists have to say at the March 11-15 event.

“It’s kind of a very interesting experiment … ” said Mootoo about the varied roster of participants. “There are a lot of writers here who are doing very different kinds of writing. Lots of young people who are putting into practice many of the political ideas that they’ve been sort of honing for the last several years as society has been really, really changing in terms of identity and stuff like that.

“I find that interesting and I would like to hear what people are saying and see how the literature is changing right now,” added Mootoo, once a Vancouver resident who now calls rural Prince Edward County, Ont., home

Mootoo, who wrote the Giller Prize-nominated Cereus Blooms at Night, is coming to the festival with a new novel. Polar Vortex is set in a bucolic rural Ontario town. In it we meet painter Priya who has moved to the boonies with her writer partner Alexandra. The pair has a comfortable life as artists. Priya, though, has threatened the couple’s bliss by inviting to visit an old friend with whom she has a very complicated and fraught emotional past. It’s a past that Alex knows very little about.

Mootoo’s novel makes you wonder about how much is too much information, and who decides that?

“What I really came to enjoy exploring was how much do you share,” said Mootoo when asked about revealing our personal histories. “How much do you hold back and the recognition that you don’t have to face everything and the other person cannot really know what you’re thinking. You also don’t know what the other person is thinking. When I realized that in a sense that’s what I was writing it just sort of just kept amplifying. It was making me uncomfortable to even write it.”

Also an acclaimed poet, Mootoo, who was born in Ireland and raised in Trinidad, will be taking part in a handful of events/panels at Growing Room.

“First of all she’s a wonderful writer. We were really excited about Shani’s upcoming work,” said the festival’s director, Jessica Johns. “She was a Vancouver resident, she doesn’t live here anymore, but it’s exciting to have someone kind of return, especially now with a new work coming up and with connections to the place.”

The festival, now in its third year, is showcasing 85 renowned writers, filmmakers, dancers, comedians and musicians from across Canada. The idea for the festival is to “celebrate inclusive storytelling in all its forms,” and allow people to proudly be themselves “through art.”

While that inclusivity of storytelling is the backbone of the event, the festival is still literary in nature. Some of the writers joining Mootoo at the event are: Griffin Poetry Prize-winners Eve Joseph and Liz Howard, and Gov.-Gen. Prize-winner Gwen Benaway.


Growing Room festival director Jessica Johns is in her first year at the helm of the young festival.

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“It’s a festival that celebrates the writing and artwork of artists, women, which of course includes trans and sis women, two-spirit, non binary and queer artists,” said Johns when asked to describe Growing Room. “It’s also a festival very focused in anti-oppression and trying to create as accessible a space as we can for as many folks as possible to be able to attend in some form or another.”

With that accessibility comes a wide range of events, panels and social opportunities. Key changes this year include the shortening of the festival from nine to a much-more-manageable five days. There will be online access for those who can’t get to the actual events, and a marketplace will be set up at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

“It’s doing really well. I feel like this is something that people really want,” said Johns when asked about how things were going leading up to the festival.

“It’s at a time where there’s a lot of political and social unrest for a lot of legitimate reasons and I think having a space that is very open about talking about those things, and the effect that that’s having on the art world is very (important). So we focus on that … It’s important to have a space like this when it seems like the world is going to hell, you know?”

dgee@postmedia.com

twitter.com/dana_gee

31Jan

Town Talk: Play recounts Casey Wright’s 19-year medical journey

by admin


Weighing 25 kg and standing 122 cm tall after a stroke and 10 brain-tumour operations, Casey Wright, 19, has had Ben Ratner incorporate his words and videos of his many activities into a play titled Casey and the Octopus.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

SPEAKING UP: Casey Wright was 14 and had had 10 brain-tumour operations by 2015 when moviebiz veteran Danny Virtue announced he would executive-produce a film about him. Now 19, Casey weighs 25 kg, is 122 cm tall, and the movie has become integral to a play based on his own words that was written and directed by Ben Ratner.


Long-time drama teacher Jim Crescenzo is seen with members of the East End Boys Club he founded and that presented the Casey and the Octopus play.

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Presented by East End Boys Club, the one-act Casey and the Octopus ran recently in Templeton Secondary School’s theatre. The club was founded by Octopus co-executive producer Jim Crescenzo who taught two generations of Templeton theatre students. One grad thanked him “for helping me stand on my own two feet, which are strong and no longer let me fall.” Casey Wright’s own feet can be shaky, courtesy of a 2013 stroke that paralyzed his right side and rendered speech impossible. Lengthy therapy restored the latter enough for him to advise audiences: “When you’re climbing that mountain and the clouds part to show you there’s still a long way to go, tighten your boots, take a deep breath, and keep climbing.” His father, Larry, says the “Octopus” in the play’s title refers to what the first brain tumour looked like in medical scans. Casey subsequently refused scar-reducing surgery. “I’m keeping ’em,” he said. “They tell the story of what I am and what I’ve been through.” That is a lot, with more perhaps to come. Nevertheless, he ends the play on his feet and telling audiences: “If I had been ‘normal’ I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you guys. And talking to you is what makes me feel alive. It’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning and keep going.”

Despite his enormous medical travails, natural-showman Casey has had many more life experiences, including sky-diving and honorary RCMP staff-sergeant-major status, than many of his contemporaries.

There’s a word for that: Outstanding.


Casey and the Octopus co-executive producer Danny Virtue says he’s negotiating with broadcasters for a revival of his locally shot TV series, Neon Rider.

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NEXT: Danny Virtue says he’s negotiating a possible return of the 1990-95 Neon Rider TV series he and late actor-business-partner Winston Rekert created for shooting at the Virtue Studio Ranch that also supports physically, mentally and financially challenged children.


Grade 4 Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band members Avrie Hunter and Kevin Maloney played at a Robbie Burns dinner-benefit for the SFU Pipe Band.

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WHA HAE: Bard Robbie Burns’ Scots-dialect writings might have claimed that aipples fall not far from the crann. That certainly applies to Terry Lee who led the SFU Pipe Band to six world championships. At the band’s recent Burns fundraising supper, Lee and wife Nancy accompanied piper-son Alastair, 28, who won two gold medals at Kansas City’s recent Winter Storm tourney. Several world champions competed, too. The Lees’ daughter Fiona is a former world champion highland dancer. Terry’s brother Jack is a world’s-top-ten piper and the SFU band’s pipe sergeant. His sons Andrew and John are pipers there, too. Burns’ famed Tam O’Shanter poem had the devil, disguised as a dog, pipe for a witches’ dance. The SFU event saw nothing more diabolical than Kendrick Rutherford piping in the traditional offal-oatmeal-suet haggis.


Terry Lee, who led the SFU Pipe Band to six world championships, and piping-champion-son Alastair attended the band’s Robbie Burns dinner-concert.

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SCRUMMIES: Culinary curiosities bacon sarnie, fly cemetery and sausage butty will accompany English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Manx, Cornish and ancient Celtic cultural performances at the British Isles Historic Society’s Heritage Festival on the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza Feb. 22.


MonaLisa Healing founder Bif Naked, left, was portrayed with Calvin Ayre whose Bodog Music recorded her and fellow singer Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

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POTSHOT: Seemingly undeterred by hemp’s recent 75 per cent price plunge, cancer-surviving pop-punk singer Bif Naked (real name Beth Torbert) will launch an e-com boutique named MonaLisaHealing.com at this weekend’s Wellness Show. Extracted from marijuana-cousin hemp, the tincture of cannabidiol (CBD) is reportedly free of high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even so, pot activist Jodie Emery will join Naked and fellow singer Mary Zilba on a panel at the show. Naked’s next single, JIM, is due Feb. 14 with an 11th album following. She recorded her second, Superbeautifulmonster, at expat-to-be Calvin Ayre’s city-based Bodog Music where Nazanin Afshin-Jam would wax her debut single, I Dance For You (see YouTube). Iran-born global human-rights activist Afshin-Jam later launched her own foundation, married and had three children with now-Conservative Party of Canada leadership seeker Peter MacKay.


“Princess of Pot” Jodie Emery will join a Wellness Show panel with Bif Naked whose hemp-based tinctures reportedly contain no high-inducing THC.

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ANOTHER SEASON: Still no word on a luxury-hotel chain to succeed Four Seasons and renovate its leased Pacific Centre premises? Ritz Carlton backed out from what became the Trump International Hotel, but likely isn’t a contender. Marriott has reportedly looked aggressively. Ditto Hilton, where luxury-and-lifestyle global group head Martin Rinck oversees strategic development for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and other growing divisions. Rinck may actually see the vacated Four Seasons locale from his West Vancouver home.


If we’re lucky, the coronavirus won’tget bad enought to give former emergency physician Daniel Kalla the impetus to write another best-seller about pandemic illnesses.

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ELEVENTH HOUR: The 2003 SARS outbreak saw then-St. Paul’s Hospital emergency-medicine director Daniel Kalla write the bestseller Pandemic. Nine novels later in 2019, his We All Fall Down pictured a recurrence of plague, the medieval Black Death. Perhaps Wuhan, China’s coronavirus will inspire another of his medically incontestable blockbusters.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As ride-hail cars proliferate, real-life taxi drivers may be modifying movie-star Robert De Niro’s question to: “Aren’t you talkin’ to me?”

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

13Dec

Town Talk: West side restaurateur feeds east side kids

by admin

ANOTHER JOE: As well as serving his Hawksworth and Nightingale restaurants’ affluent diners, David Hawksworth squeezed in a catering gig at Britannia Secondary’s east Vancouver campus recently. There he delivered a Christmas turkey-and-trimmings meal to Streetfront Alternative Middle School teacher Trevor Stokes and the sometimes-hard-done-by students he says “are worth investing in.” The event was staged by Vancouver Firefighters Charities members who partner the non-mainstream school through the Sports for Kids program. As usual, Dotty Kanke and husband Bud were involved.


Bud Kanke sold Joe Fortes restaurant to David Aisenstat in in 2012 and may wonder if its1948 Chrysler taxi will grace a soon-opening Whistler locale.

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That same day, the Joe Fortes restaurant that Bud founded in 1984 and sold in 2012 announced that it will launch a Whistler satellite in January. Perhaps the original Thurlow-off-Robson joint’s 1948 Chrysler taxi will trundle up the Sea to Sky Highway to park outside the new one.


Omnifilm Entertainment partner-executive producer Gabriela Schonbach feted daughter Amanda Giannakos on founding separate-but-linked NM Media Co.

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TIED TO BE FIT: Like apples, accomplished parents’ children reputedly land close to the tree. The moviebiz equivalent is not being left on the cutting-room floor. That’s the case with Amanda Giannakos, whose mother, Gabriela Schonbach, is partner-executive producer at city-based Omnifilm Entertainment. At that firm’s recent 40th anniversary celebration, marketing-distribution director Giannakos said she founded the independent but related NM Media Co. in April. Its first 25-episode series, Strong By NM, will air next fall on the One Get Fit channel. It presently carries Omnifilm’s Namaste Yoga series that former lawyer Giannakos heads. Early-morning one-minute handstands may have concentrated (or frazzled) her brain to launch the 160-paper-page Movement by NM magazine that “explores the intersection of art, fitness and everyday life.”


Marc Schutzbank, who heads the Fresh Roots student-farming programs, received $13,000 from charity-funding Give A Damn founder Martin McNish.

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DAMN RIGHT: Odlum Brown portfolio manager Martin McNish and others gave charity giving a new twist in 2016 by sparkplugging the Give A Damn program. At quarterly events, twenties-to-forties-aged members each put up $100 and vote on pitches by three charities’ representatives. In the Yaletown’s Earls loft recently, Fresh Roots (freshroots.ca) executive director Marc Schutzbank, 32, received a $13,000 pot swelled by attendees and McNish’s friend Martin Jones, the San Jose Sharks goaltender. Schutzbank, whose wife Ilana Labow co-founded Fresh Roots in 2009, said elementary and secondary students grow food at educational farms on several schools’ grounds, learn to cook it and see it go to cafeterias, food-access programs and suchlike. “When kids are outside and growing something, they also find success in the classroom, and their confidence increases,” said U.S.-native Schutzbank who came to UBC in 2010 on a Fulbright scholarship. “If they grow it, they will eat it,” he said of Fresh Roots’ students. Canada, he added, “is the only G7 nation without a federal school-meals program.” He and Labow have a first and presumably healthy-eating child due Jan. 11.


After running her artisan-designer Address show here since 2015, founder Kate Duncan will present 12 designers at Toronto’s DesignTO festival.

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A TOAST: To furniture maker Kate Duncan, who launched her ever-growing annual Address show of talented young designer-artisans in 2015. Having gained a solid reputation, she’ll present 12 of them during Toronto’s DesignTO festival Jan. 14-19.


Greeting Matteo Escoto, nine, at an Omega reception, George Frankel said that his family-owned Bridges restaurant will undergo a $15-million renovation.

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ABOUT TIME: Another fourth-decade landmark restaurant, Bridges, is due for a $15-million renovation. So said George Frankel, who built the Granville Island waterfront facility and, with son Daniel, bought out his surviving partners in 2018. A building permit arrived this week. Beginning in fall 2020, work will involve wraparound terraces on both floors. Daniel, who runs the family firm today, also owns all three Tap & Barrel pub-restaurants and Brewhall, the former Steel Toad Brewery. At the Omega boutique’s recent annual reception, Frankel pere greeted Matteo Escoto, 9, who appeared in past columns modelling the Swiss firm’s wristwatches. Frankel wore a competing Rolex Oyster that was a gift from Daniel but vowed to reciprocate with a like-value Omega.


With 50 or so books produced to date and more on the way, expatriate logger-turned-author David Day will return to his native Victoria by summer.

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DAY’S AHEAD: Victoria-born former logger David Day has written and helped provide paper for more books than many have read: 50 and counting. His Tolkien Bestiary sold a million copies. His Doomsday Book of Animals, with a foreword by the Duke of Edinburgh, sold 750,000. Pal Terry Jones, the Monty Python Flying Circus team member, wrote the introduction for his Decoding Wonderland. Three more in Day’s Tolkien series were released recently in North America, the UK and France. With wife Roisin, the long-time expatriate will soon occupy a former Day-family home in Victoria.


Journalist-author Stevie Cameron’s brother, artist-drummer-singer Chris Dahl, has released the Silver Dagger single from his Smoke + Shadows album

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HI-YO SILVER: Further up-Island, Qualicum Beach’s Ceramics Artworks firm owner Chris Dahl has released the Silver Dagger title track of a self-produced world-fusion album titled Smoke + Shadows. Artist Dahl drummed with the My Indole Ring band that had its self-titled 1969 album re-issued 41 years later by a producer in then-psychedelia-crazy Germany.


Seen here with Vanishing Tattoo partner Thomas Lockhart and Chili Dog, Vince Hemingson exhibits non-tattooed nudes and other photos in Kitsilano.

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AFTER TATS: Vince Hemingson pinpointed communities in Borneo, California, China, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, Samoa, and other locales for a documentary titled The Vanishing Tattoo (vanishingtattoo.com). No cutaneous embroidery appears on the female subjects of his Nude In The Landscape photographs exhibited at 1725 West Third to Dec. 31, along with others of Asian locales and African wildlife.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: All bluster aside, modern-day “witch hunts” may actually identify witchcraft.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

22Nov

New book lays out the ways a city is designed to make life tougher for women

by admin

Feminist City: How to Build a More Just, Sustainable Vancouver

When: Nov. 27, 7-9 p.m.

Where: Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Salon 20—30, 580 W. Hastings St.

Free:sfu.ca


In her new book Feminist City: A Field Guide author and Mount Allison University associate professor and professional coach Leslie Kern outlines how urban environments marginalize women and minorities and offers ways for a city to become more equitable, affordable, sustainable and safe for everyone.

A Fulbright scholar, Kern took some time to answer a few questions for Postmedia News before she lands here in Vancouver for the Simon Fraser University co-hosted event: Feminist City: How to Build a More Just, Sustainable Vancouver.

Q: You are described as a feminist geographer. What does that title mean to you?

A: It means that no matter what kind of space I’m looking at, I’m always concerned with power. This includes considering how any space functions to uphold (and in rare cases, challenge) the norms, values, and beliefs of the society that created and maintains it. As a feminist I pay particular attention to how gendered norms are “built into” spaces such as cities, but I also think about inclusion and exclusion more broadly across a wide range of identities and differences like ability, race, class, and sexuality.

Q: How do cities continue to marginalize women and make their daily lives more difficult?

A: Women remain under-represented in the professions and positions that shape cities: municipal politics, policy-making, business development, real estate development, architecture, and urban planning. A lack of consideration for women’s needs and ignorance of their daily experiences means that women struggle with everything from getting a stroller onto the bus to balancing their safety needs with their needs for affordable housing and good jobs.

How many women turn down or ignore employment opportunities that would require them to work or travel at night or in unsafe areas? How much money do women spend taking cabs or public transit rather than walking or biking? How many women see their careers stalled because they can’t effectively juggle parenthood and work in cities with too few/too expensive daycare spots, unreliable and inaccessible mass transit, and a lack of affordable housing near places of good employment?


Leslie Kern author of the new book Feminist City: A Field Guide will be speaking at the Feminist City: How to Build a More Just, Sustainable Vancouver event on Nov. 27, 2019 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The event is open to the public and free. Photo credit: Mitchel Raphael

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Q: How can we begin to change our cities into more gender equal places?

A: One top-down approach is gender-mainstreaming: making sure all policy and spending decisions are oriented toward gender equity. Cities like Vienna have seen enormous progress with this method.

Issues such as safety and freedom from fear must be prioritized; public space and services must be safe and accessible; there should be communal or collective options for responsibilities such as child care, cooking, and care of the elderly and sick.

In a more radical way, though, we have to challenge the structures that make women responsible for most of this labour. A more gender equal city would offer affordable housing that doesn’t assume or prioritize a traditional nuclear family, for example.

Q: What are the foremost signs of a city’s livability?

A: Most people would agree that factors like walkability, green space, and safe public spaces are hallmarks of livability. I don’t disagree, but I think we have to ask harder questions about who has the means and the perceived right to enjoy these factors; who is excluded by surveillance and over-policing; and who decides what the appropriate activities and behaviours are in such spaces.

Q: What do you hope the individual and groups (government, planning departments, developers) in charge of cities take away from your book?

A: That moves made toward gender equity in cities are about more than making women’s lives “easier.” They are about fundamental issues of economic and social equality. At the same time, the changes I talk about are also connected to wider issues such as accessibility and environmental sustainability, and have the potential to benefit everyone in cities, not just women.

Q: How does gentrification fit into this story, this issue?

A: Women continue to experience a wage gap, are more likely to be single heads of household, have higher rates of core housing need (such as living in unsuitable or unaffordable housing), and are more reliant on the close urban connections between school, work, and home. As gentrification pushes housing costs up, women are further disadvantaged in the market. As women are displaced out of central areas, they are stretched thin trying to juggle their already complicated routines around work, home, and family.

Q: What kind of affect has #MeToo had, or will have, on making cities more livable?

A: #MeToo is exposing the widespread nature of all forms of sexual harassment and assault, including those in the urban public sphere, and illustrating that these are not momentary experiences: they have profound effects on women’s ability to participate in public life.

#MeToo is also helping to illuminate rape myths, including those that suggest that women are responsible for avoiding certain places and staying out of the public realm at night. The more we can continue having this conversation, the further we can move toward creating a public realm where women are equal and unafraid.

Q: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has long been a place of marginalized people and great unease. What do you see as vehicles for change and what can citizens do to help support that change?

A: I think anti-gentrification movements and the push to maintain affordable housing and a locus of social services in the DTES are key to creating a supportive yet livable neighbourhood. When people are well-housed, have access to harm-reduction sites and services, feel connected to community, and have their basic needs met, the things that make people uneasy start to fade away. Citizens can support the work of the DTES Women’s Centre, safe injection sites, and affordable housing campaigns.

Q: Let’s talk about public toilets. Why are they so terrible?

A: Not only are they terrible, but true public toilets are almost non-existent today. As part of many cities’ rush to revitalization, toilets have become focal points for fears about things like drug use, public sex, sex work, and homelessness.

Getting rid of public toilets or severely curtailing access is not only a harsh punishment for homelessness. It also makes life much more difficult for people with illnesses and disabilities that lead to frequent toilet use, for parents and caregivers, and for those who don’t have the means to purchase items in stores and cafes that have washrooms for customers only.

Q: When did headphones become armour for women?

A: Probably when the first Walkman appeared! Headphones are a subtle, non-aggressive way to signal the desire to be left alone. They can permit women to ignore men’s comments and questions without seeming rude or angry. Given that women are often faced with verbal and physical assault when they “hollaback” or even just ignore men, headphones offer a line of first defence against unwanted intrusions.

Q: How do we women learn to reframe how we think about our choices and instincts? How do we go from: “that was a stupid thing to do. I’m so lucky I wasn’t murdered,” to: “That was smart. That was brave?”

A: The “I’m so lucky” response is the only logical one in a world where violence against women is normalized, and even expected. I don’t blame anyone for having that reaction. Moving toward the “I made smart choices” response requires a greater respect for women’s agency and intelligence.Ideally, however, we have to move toward a world where violence against women, against anyone, is so rare that neither response is needed.

dgee@postmedia.com

twitter.com/dana_gee

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11Oct

Town Talk: A Night To Dream gala benefits expanding Ronald McDonald House

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Seen with singer-lawyer-artist-wife Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, artist-carver and Order of Canada member Robert Davidson is the subject of director Charles Wilkinson’s feature-length documentary, Haida Modern.


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SWEET DREAMING: Ronald McDonald House’s recent A Night to Dream gala was a recurring one for Lindsey Turner, who chaired it for the fourth consecutive time. The 17th annual event reportedly grossed $680,000 to help accommodate the 2,000-a-year families who occupy the 73-suite facility for an average 13-day stay. CEO Richard Pass and new board chair Patrick McGuinty may soon announce that up to 52 suites will be added to five-year-old Ronald McDonald House on the B.C. Children’s Hospital campus. Four-bedroom satellites are also expected beside Royal Columbian Hospital and Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. They’ll duplicate one at Surrey Memorial Hospital.


Ronald McDonald House CEO Richard Pass and four-time Night of Dreams gala chair Lindsey Turner saw that event reportedly grossed $680,000.

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MODEL CITIZEN: Masset-raised artist Robert Davidson is the subject of Charles Wilkinson’s documentary, Haida Modern, that premiered during the recent Vancouver International Film Festival. Called “a protégé and friend” by celebrated late carver Bill Reid, Davidson also perceives the Haida tradition not as inviolable rules but as the basis for evolving, living art. His own wide-ranging artworks include gold coins that the Canadian Mint released to accompany his 1997 elevation to the Order of Canada. $50,000 in ordinary currency came his way in 2010 with the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement. “I’ve been thinking about a new car,” the ever-modest Davidson said before cheerfully admitting that he’d forwarded the entire amount to fund post-secondary bursaries for Haida Gwaii students.


Former B.C. Lions coach-GM Wally Buono’s wife Sandy and their four children attended his induction into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame.

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FELICE ANNIVERSARIO: Italian Cultural Centre president Michael Cuccione welcomed community members to a recent 42nd anniversary fundraising gala. Such events have been staged annually since 13 Italian associations founded the Slocan-at-Grandview “Il Centro” on a 3.25-hectare former city dump site. This year, Cuccione inducted former B.C. Lions football team head coach and general manager Wally Buono into the centre’s Hall of Fame. Happily, his old team defeated the Toronto Argonauts 55-8 the following day. Buono likely approved the teamwork when catering director Fabio Rasotto’s kitchen squad served the centre’s fourth full-capacity banquet that week, then repeated it the following night when the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese Society honoured longtime community benefactor John DeLucchi.


Susan Mendelson celebrated her Lazy Gourmet catering firm’s 40th anniversary made possible by her policy of hiring “people better than me.”

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BON APPÉTIT: Lazy Gourmet owner Susan Mendelson celebrated her catering firm’s 40th anniversary at the Roundhouse Community Centre recently. She likely didn’t foresee that when a UBC arts-and-social-work degree scored her a $350-a-month job at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, now the Cultch. To meet her rent, she made carrot cake, cheesecake and Nanaimo bars for sale during intervals. She and friend Deborah Roitberg then founded Lazy Gourmet, but Mendelson’s brush with dramatics continued. That was when “two beat-up cars jammed in (a departing customer) and all these scruffy-looking people were waving guns.” Suspecting that it wasn’t part of an earlier movie shoot, Mendelson asked if she should call the cops. “We are the cops,” one fracas member replied. Her business maxim: “I always hired people who were better than me.” That doubtless pleased seven-year general manager Kevin Mazzone at the anniversary beano.


Actor-moviemaker Mark Oliver, who recently screened his 2018 short, Elvis Strung Out, likely benefitted from previous generations of showbiz pros.

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Mark Oliver’s parents, Jeanne and H.A.D (Bert), show the latter with Second World War medals and French, German and Liberian Orders of Merit.

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TREES AND APPLE: Actor-moviemaker Mark Oliver, who recently screened his 2018 short Elvis Strung Out, may appreciate late singer Judy Garland’s lyrics: “I was born in a trunk in the Princess Theater in Pocatello, Idaho.” Oliver has a trunkful of theatrical antecedents himself. Grandfather David Oliver owned theatres and produced films in 1910s and 1920s Germany. Grandmother Edith was a screen actress. A great grandmother danced with the Kirov ballet. Oliver’s late Berlin-born father, H.A.D. (Bert) Oliver, sidestepped the stage to study with a London firm of solicitors founded in 1560. “But inside every solicitor there’s a barrister struggling to get out,” he said after moving to Vancouver and pleading criminal law cases. But the theatrical gene survived. One of Bert’s many acquittals involved him holding up a pre-punctured cup of water that dripped steadily for 30 seconds. Then, facing the judge (he later became one himself), he said: “This decidedly reminds me of the case for the Crown.”


Rupa and Rana Vig staged a 100 Year Journey gala based on a same-name book he published following his and brother Minto’s Mehfil magazine.

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CENTENARIANS: Rana and Rupa Vig staged another 100 Year Journey gala recently. The annual event began in 2014 along with a same-name book marking the centennial of Canadian officials turning back South Asians aboard the ship Komagata Maru. The book, which contains illustrated accounts of 103 successful immigrants and their families, was developed from Mehfil, a glossy magazine that Rana and brother Minto founded in 1993. Four years later, then-premier Glen Clark called Rana “a politician in the making.” Evading that dubious assessment, he achieved something comparable in 1994 by becoming a diamond-direct dealer of the Amway multi-level marketing firm.


Pamela Anderson may break out her self-named wine should there be a successful outcome to her protesting a Port Moody park’s proposed roadway.

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BOTTOMS UP: Actress and animal-activist Pamela Anderson has joined others opposing a proposed roadway through a Port Moody park. If successful, they could celebrate with toasts of Anderson’s name-brand wine. That would be a step-up from the tankerloads of Baby Duck produced by Port Moody’s old Andre’s winery. Coincidentally, that concern’s former site is contentious, too, with three towers and nine lower buildings now proposed.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Brexiteering Britons may ruefully sing Three Blind Mice on that children’s rhyme’s 510th anniversary Oct. 12.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

4Oct

Town Talk: Britain’s Red Arrows fly over Coal Harbour

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Portrayed with a Red Arrows aerobatics team’s poster, British High Commissioner Susan le Jeune d’Allegeerschecque, Consul General Nicole Davison and guests had just seen the real Royal Air Force jets fly past them.


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STRAIGHT ARROWS: A key factor in aerial combat — literally a matter of life and death — is to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Having the sun behind you helps, too. Full marks, therefore, to the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows aerobatics team that was scheduled for a Coal Harbour flypast at 1700 hours recently. With the declining sun glistening on their red-white-and-blue tail fins, the team’s BAE Hawk trainer jets skimmed over at 5 on the dot. As they banked and climbed away, workhorse aircraft — de Havilland Beaver and Otter float planes — resumed their everyday takeoffs and landings.


Vancouver Chief Constable Adam Palmer, Mayor Kennedy Stewart and others saw the RAF Red Arrows aerobatics team’s jets speed over Coal Harbour.

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Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Chief Constable Adam Palmer, Bard on The Beach artistic director Christopher Gaze and others watched the proceedings from the Pan Pacific hotel’s eighth-floor deck. They were guests of British High Commissioner to Canada, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeerschecque, formerly ambassador to Austria, and Vancouver-based consul-general Nicole Davison. “The Red Arrows are the best ambassador our country has,” said le Jeune d’Allegeerschecque, whose married name is more common in Brussels than London. As those two cities duke it out over Brexit, the fast-flying Red Arrows might remind Gaze and especially British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Hamlet’s “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Ditto for that soliloquy’s humbling conclusion: “And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”


Vancouver International Film Festival executive director Jacqueline Dupuis welcomed Guest of Honour director Atom Egoyan to the 38th running.

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HAPPY ENDING: Cultural organization heads sometimes roll amid a blizzard of finger-pointing, trustee bickering and other nastiness. Not at the Vancouver International Film Festival where eight-year executive director Jacqueline Dupuis announced in July that she’ll leave at year’s end. Looking as relaxed and, dare one say, glamorous as in 2011, Dupuis launched the 38th annual festival by escorting director Atom Egoyan to a screening of his Guest of Honour feature film and to a gala later. Although called “a masterful piece of subtly sophisticated filmmaking” in the VIFF program, showbiz bible Variety deemed the Egypt-born Torontonian’s picture “hopelessly muddled … overplotted and under-reasoned, hysterical and stiffly earnest.”

CONSONANTAL DRIFT: If asked to define modern-day political equivocation, habitual phrase-tangler William Spooner might have replied with a self-defence tip: “Trust in judo.” Then again, his spoonerism of voters’ “elementary affluence” would entail a mere vowel movement.


Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation executive director Scott Elliott and chair Joy Jennissen reported the 16th multi-chef Passions gala raising a record $220,000.

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MORE AID: Dr. Peter Jepson-Young succumbed to HIV/AIDS in 1992 at age 35. CBC-TV’s weekly Dr. Peter Diaries detailed his then-almost-inevitable approach to death. Founded that year, the Dr. Peter AIDS Centre and related foundation began caring for those still living. A decade later, Nathan Fong recruited fellow chefs to launch the annual Passions gala that reportedly raised a record $220,000 recently. Executive director Scott Elliott said the centre now helps clients deal with hepatitis C and supports older ones “isolated and not participating in health care.” It will soon offer twice-weekly programs for female HIV/AIDS patients, he said.


David Robertson compiled his second cookbook, Gather, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Dirty Apron cooking school he and wife Sara founded.

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DIRTY DISHES: Wearing a whistle-clean apron, Dirty Apron co-founder David Robertson marked the cooking school’s 10th anniversary by launching his second cookbook, Gather. Some of the 100,000 folk he’s reportedly taught filled the Beatty Street joint to buy the book and sample such dishes as sake-braised pork belly, seafood and chorizo belly and Robertson’s sensational Thai-style coconut-lemon grass braised beef short ribs.


Maggie Sung had Taiwan Tourism Bureau director Linda Lin visit from San Francisco to inaugurate her as head of a new information centre here.

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TAIPEI TIES: There were complaints when electioneering defence minister Harjit Sajjan attended a recent gala honouring China. Not so when San Francisco-based Taiwan Tourism Bureau director Linda Lin inaugurated Maggie Sung to head our town’s new information centre for the island China claims to own. The ceremony followed Vancouver’s recent 100-event TaiwanFest that began celebrating Taiwanese culture in 1991.


Kyle Parent made the $2,100 quilt and designer Kate Duncan the $30,000 walnut bed to exhibit at the fifth annual Address show she staged.

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BED BUDS: As the huge IDS design exhibition ran downtown, furniture designer-manufacturer Kate Duncan and curator Amber Kingsnorth staged their own fifth annual show titled Address. It occupied five-times-larger premises at Malkin Street’s Eastside Studios. As well as mature and emerging exhibitors from Pacific Northwest states and Alberta, the event welcomed newcomers from Saskatoon, Toronto and Texas. Port Alberni-raised Duncan exhibited a solid walnut bed and side tables tagged at $30,000. Calgary native Kyle Parent added a $2,100 bedspread from his ktwpquilts.com concern.


Designers Madeleine Sloback and Annaliesse Kelly exhibited artworks by Miriam Aroeste and Sandra Lowe in their East Vancouver studio/office.

Malcolm Parry /

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GO EAST, YOUNG WOMAN: Vancouver’s creative activities are enhanced — some say dominated — east of Main Street. The 23rd annual Eastside Culture Crawl alone will include 500 artists, artisans and designers Nov. 14-17. The latter include interior designers Annaliesse Kelly and Madeleine Sloback who, although business competitors, share chic Pender Street premises. They mount thrice-yearly exhibitions there, most recently by Mexican-born painter Miriam Aroeste and Okanagan-raised photographic artist Sandra Lowe.


Paisley Smith wore spilling-pipeline headgear alongside Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun whose paintings she animated for her Unceded Territories film.

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TOP HAT: California-based Canadian Paisley Smith wore a simulated oil-pipeline helmet to promote her “immersive” VIFF film, Unceded Territories. Screening in a Vancity Theatre kiosk to Oct. 2, it addresses climate change and Indigenous civil rights with animated interpretations of works by Cowichan/ Syilx artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun whose usual headgear is a four-feathered straw fedora.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Crown yourself inventively for Mad Hatter Day Oct. 6.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
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27Sep

Town Talk: Luncheon generates $700,000 for pancreatic cancer clinic

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Levi James and Chelsea Brennan simulated a lion and gazelle when the Serengeti-themed Hope Couture luncheon reportedly raised more than $700,000 for the B.C. Cancer Agency’s pancreatic cancer rapid-access clinic.


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HOPE SURPASSED: Susan Chow and Lisa Dalton co-chaired the recent sixth-annual Hope Couture luncheon that reportedly raised more than $700,000 from 415 mostly female guests. Those donations will help the B.C. Cancer Foundation fund a pancreatic cancer rapid-access clinic. At the event, medical oncologist and Pancreatic Centre B.C. co-director Daniel Renouf said a recent wide-scale study of the role of genetics in pancreatic cancer will further B.C.’s pioneering role in screening for the dangerous ailment. He said the clinic will bring together “oncologists, surgeons, geneticists and the scientists. That’s the innovative part.” Along with a fashion show by the Bacci’s and Boboli stores, the Serengeti-themed luncheon had body-painter Christina Rapacz present fitness instructors Levi James and Chelsea Brennan as a lion and gazelle. Fully dressed attendees tucked into an entrée of chermoula crusted B.C. ling cod and vegetables.


Perhaps heartened by a giraffe’s stuck-out neck, Lisa Dalton and Susan Chow co-chaired the Hope Couture luncheon to benefit the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Malcolm Parry /

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WALL FLOWER: Hope Couture participants Charlotte Wall and daughter Sonya Wall paid $18,000 to name a new bloom donated by Langley breeder Brad Jalbert’s Select Roses concern. The rose will commemorate Sonya’s corgi Joe, who recovered from cancer to die of old age. Joe’s recessive fluffiness makes similar Corgis ineligible for showing and thus not favoured by breeders, or possibly the Queen. Happily, cash raised in his name may help humans survive cancer as the much-loved furry outcast did himself.


At the Hope Couture luncheon, Sonya Wall and mother Charlotte bid $18,000 to name a newly developed rose that commemorates Sonya’s pet Corgi.

Malcolm Parry /

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Sonya Wall’s photo shows Fluffy Corgi Joe, who survived cancer, died of old age and left his name to a bloom from Langley rose breeder Brad Jalbert.

Malcolm Parry /

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SECOND BOUQUET: Inspired by the Walls’ bid, Gloria Au paid $17,500 to do the same for a Select Roses hybrid she has still to name.

LEMON’S ZEST: Ontario-raised architect Robert Lemon recently celebrated his 40th year in Vancouver by hosting a garden party at Shannon, the Granville-at-55th mansion he’s helped restore for two decades. Sugar tycoon B.T. Rogers built the 30,000-square-foot edifice but died before its 1925 completion. Finance and mining tycoon Austin Taylor acquired it in 1935. Developers Peter Wall and Peter Redekop paid a now-pocket-change $750,000 for the mansion and its four-hectare property in 1967. Wall has since built many condos there.

Photos from the Gudewill family’s collection helped Lemon recreate century-past wallpaper, millwork, chandeliers and suchlike. Those features were appraised and appreciated when a deluge squeezed Lemon’s garden party guests indoors for drinks and a recital by University of B.C. School of Music students Jonathan Lopez, Markus Masaites and Nina Weber. Rather than the 1937 hit September In The Rain, the Genesis Trio members performed works by Beethoven, Bruch and Rachmaninoff that likely pleased other Shannon audiences 94 years ago.


The Genesis Trio’s Nina Weber, Markus Masaites and Jonathan Lopez played during Robert Lemon’s reception at the Shannon mansion he’s restoring.

Malcolm Parry /

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CUTTING A RUG: Lemon’s guest Larry Killam pointed to a 1930 photo of Shannon’s great-hall carpet and said: “That’s in my living room.” Killam bought it at auction in the late 1960s when he and three co-developers were reviving a downtown district they named Gastown. Far older than the rug or even pioneer-era Vancouver, Killam and wife Sherry’s Southlands home is built around the framework of a 17th century British barn they bought and erected here, albeit without its straw floor covering.


Late-1960s Gastown co-developer, Larry Killam bought a 1920s Shannon mansion rug for his house with a 17th century British-barn framework.

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TIME TO LIVE: The recent 15th-annual Gift of Time gala needed very little time to reportedly raise a record $1,530,000 gift for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Second-time co-chair, realtor Karley Rice, had Aritzia executive VP Pippa Morgan and Primex Investments VP Lee Rennison join her to help raise that sum and bring the all-time haul to a reported $13.5 million. Founded in 1995, Canuck Place has nine patient beds and four family suites at its original Shaughnessy location, and nine beds and five suites at the recently commissioned Dave Lede House satellite in Abbotsford.


Karley Rice, Pippa Morgan and Lee Rennison co-chaired the Gift of Time gala that reportedly raised $1,530,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

Malcolm Parry /

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PARRYNOIA: Unlike the long-ago Russians who sought him as tsar, today’s Britons may not find Boris Godunov.

DON’T BE DUMB: Lake Cowichan-raised Stephanie Nielson didn’t spare potential readers’ sensitivities when titling her dating guidebook Don’t Be A Dumbass: The Every Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl. Along with stern advice about personal hygiene and being a know-it-all, it ends with the assertion that those who settle for less than they desire end up with exactly what they deserve. Now a divorced mother of two, Nielson expects a Tinder-introduced fellow to end her own “100 dating disasters” by producing a ring this fall. Asked if that might entail living together, Nielsen gave the best — or worst — advice of all: “Not until we’re married.”


Following ‘100 dating disasters,’ divorced mother of two Stephanie Nielson released her Don’t Be A Dumbass guide for men seeking relationships.

Malcolm Parry /

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THE GANJA GANG: New-era dope dealers congregated in Elevator communications firm owner Bob Stamnes’ Mount Pleasant building recently. Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES) president Jeremy Jacobs welcomed them. He and Stamnes also launched a Vancouver-based cannabis consultancy named Counsel 45 that Stamnes, alluding to a multinational professional-services network, called “the Deloitte of cannabis.” As youngish retailers made merry, it was ironic to recall that some of their same-age forebears were jailed for selling, or even possessing, joints on similar city streets.


Elevator principal Bob Stamnes and Association of Cannabis Retailers of Canada president Jeremy Jacob launched cannabis consultancy Counsel 45.

Malcolm Parry /

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As well as having greenhorns and greybeards spout purple prose, ever-colourful Ottawa gave us a blue blood in blackface and caught another red-handed.

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13Sep

Town Talk: Treana Peake’s at-home rock concert benefits South Sudanese people

by admin

ENCORE: Fancy having the Nickelback band and signers Barney Bentall, Jim Cuddy, Shawn Hook and Stephen Kellogg perform at your Gleneagles waterfront home. That happened when the Obakki clothing line owner, Treana Peake, staged the second annual White Envelope fundraiser at her, spouse Ryan and neighbour Judith Stewart’s estate-style properties. Ryan is a Nickelback band member. The event reportedly raised $400,000 to help sustain the Obakki Foundation’s educational, clean-water and other sustainable projects in South Sudan and nearby nations. Treana welcomed former South Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal who is now a Toronto-based singer, screen actor (The Good Lie), political activist and leadership lecturer. His maxim: “Turn your eyes inside yourself and, as you change, saturate yourself with information that can enhance your new skills.”


At his Gleneagles home, Nickelback guitarist-songwriter Ryan Peake joined Barney Bentall and others to entertain White Envelope fundraiser guests.

Malcolm Parry /

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REVVED UP: The recent 10th annual Luxury & Supercar Weekend brought more exotic vehicles than ever to VanDusen Botanical Garden. As usual, a previous-evening reception filled Niels and Nancy Bendtsen’s Inform Interiors store.


With much high-end merchandise of their own, Inform Interiors owners Neils and Nancy Bendtsen always host Luxury & Supercar preliminary receptions.

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Luxury & Supercar Weekend co-organizer Nadia Iadisernia’s ensemble complemented a McLaren 720S Coupe beside Gastown’s Inform Interiors store.

Malcolm Parry /

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Cars inside included the show’s darling, a battery-powered 1,900-horsepower Pininfarina Battista costing around $3.5 million. That would get you a tasty West Vancouver home or, to those fully exploiting the Battista’s mojo, perhaps a visit to crowbar hotel. On the Inform store’s Water Street sidewalk, a 720-horsepower McLaren 720S Coupe was tagged at $401,910. The sky-blue coupe complemented L&S Weekend co-principal Nadia Iadisernia’s Ferrari-red Diane von Furstenberg dress and Ferragamo heels that together cost less than the $1,460 needed for the McLaren’s optional coloured brake calipers.


Danny Jadresko showed his 2,510-horsepower 1964 Pontiac Acadian to Luxury & Supercar Weekend principal Craig Stowe at VanDusen Botanical Garden.

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FANCY DANNY: Parked beside swanky-panky dreamboats on the VanDusen lawn, an Ontario-built Pontiac Acadian cost maybe $3,000 in 1964. Today, having gained a 10.3-litre, twin-turbo engine developing 2,510 horsepower, it could be worth $1 million. That said, not much, if anything, remains of the ho-hum two-door sedan that Victoria-based Danny Jadresko bought in 1983. He and bride Sandy later honeymooned in it. With son Cody, and aided by Quebec-based custom-car builder J.F. Launier, the Jadreskos spent 18 years developing the Acadian into a “street outlaw” that can blow the doors of most European exotics. Meanwhile, their W&J Construction and Woodsmere Holdings firms opened the doors to thousands of single- and multi-unit homes they’d built, including 600 units in Langford that rent for $800 to $1,200 monthly.


Some royalties from school principal David Starr’s Like Joyful Tears, part-edited by wife and vice-principal Sharon, benefit the Obakki Foundation.

Malcolm Parry /

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HOMEWORK: For the principal of Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Secondary, David Starr, it entails writing books. His refugee-themed debut work, From Bombs to Books, and its seven successors were aimed at young readers. The latest, Like Joyful Tears, “is my first big-boy book,” Starr said. It has a Canadian woman help a South Sudanese massacre survivor relocate to Canada. Starr’s novel was aided by his own dealings with refugees, and polished by editor-wife Sharon, who is vice-principal at Port Moody Secondary. Partial royalties from it benefit the Obakki Foundation.


A 65_RedRoses film still of the late Eva Markvoort overlooked Oscar winners David Fine and Alison Snowden who lives with transplanted lungs.

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BREATH AND LIFE: At the Vancouver Playhouse recently, Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji screened, 65_RedRoses, their 2009 film about since-deceased cystic fibrosis patient Eva Markvoort. The fundraising event promoted CF awareness and organ donation. Although the lauded movie wasn’t an Oscar contender, attendees Alison Snowden and David Fine won one for their animated short, Bob’s Birthday, and earned three other Oscar nominations. Like Markvoort, Snowden received donated lungs, but survived. After a virus destroyed her own, Snowden was put into an induced coma for a month and deemed to be too weak for transplant surgery. Business and personal partner Fine said “a breakthrough idea” entailed awakening her and rebuilding strength during non-stop treatment by ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) heart-lung-bypass technology. It worked. Donated lungs arrived, Dr. John Yee undertook the surgery, and Fine and the recovering Snowden completed another Oscar-nominated short, Animal Behaviour. Snowden’s proposed acceptance speech at the February, 2019 Academy Awards ceremony would have praised VGH, her surgical team and Canadian medicine generally. However, the award went to Toronto director-writer Domee Shi’s Bao.


The Sequoia Quartet’s Catherine Teng, Kai Chow, David Han and Davin Mar demonstrated the prowess of VSO School of Music students.

Malcolm Parry /

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BRAVO: The effectiveness of the 16-year-old VSO School of Music was clear when four students performed at Ronald McDonald House recently. Sequoia String Quartet violinists Catherine Teng, 16, and Kai Chow, 15, violist Davin Mar, 14, and cellist David Han, 13, played works by Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi and others, with intelligence, clarity and youthful confidence.


Wally Buono, here with Moray Keith of a syndicate seeking to buy the B.C. Lions team, will be inducted into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame.

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FOOTBALL FAME: B.C. Lions fans still sang “Roar, you Lions, roar” in 2003 when Pasquale “Wally” Buono left the Calgary Stampeders to be the local team’s head coach. Roar they did, through five West Division championships, two Grey Cup wins and one loss (2004 to the Toronto Argonauts). After retiring in 2018, Potenza-born Buono will be inducted into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame Oct. 4 and possibly called “the pride of all B.C.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As we consider electing more parliamentarians with no more authority than pets on a leash, a Scottish high court judge has ruled that parliament’s role in scrutinizing the government is a central pillar of the UK’s constitution, which follows naturally from the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

24Aug

Cookbook to serve up profits to help feed underprivileged in Downtown Eastside

by admin

Food Stories: A Cookbook for a Cause delivers delicious recipes while also serving up personal stories that are good for the soul.

There are 21 B.C. chefs highlighted in the book ($40 at Gourmet Warehouse and at foodforall.ca). All the profits from the project will be donated to A Better Life Foundation meal program that helps to get food to people in need on in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“It’s not about advertising for restaurants,” said Jenn Coe who created Food For All, the publishing the imprint for Food Stories, with her partner Sherwin Ngan.

“It is a story of hardship, and how that can inspire you to give back and nourish. These chefs all seem to come from a similar thread. Even if it isn’t a story of hardship it’s an experience or circumstance that motivated them day in and day out for 12 to 15 hour days. You’re feeding people, it is a beautiful thing, and it usually stems from some experience.”

The road to the publication began when the couple’s seven-year-old sons Quinn and Jonathan raised $20,000 for a family in need. The pair’s hard work and dedication inspired Coe and Ngan to start their publishing platform and to focus on the issue of food insecurity.


Food For All publishers Jenn Coe, left, and Sherwin Ngan with their sons Quinn, left, and Johnathan. Photo credit: Hakan Burcuoğlu

Hakan Burcuoglu /

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Sherwin and Coe then enlisted Vancouver’s Mark Brand, founder of A Better Life Foundation. They knew that Brand, the proprietor of Save-On Meats, believed food is a human right and that he was on the front lines when it came to the fight against food insecurity.

They asked to meet with Brand to talk about the book and the donation to his foundation. Also at that meeting last fall was Hakan Burcuoğlu, the founder of the blog/online magazine The Curatorialist. He had been with Brand earlier to take pictures for his blog and Brand had suggested he come along to the meeting.


Hakan Burcuoğlu is the writer and photographer for the cookbook Food Stories: A Cookbook for a Cause. Photo: Linda Gallo

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“He told me that a couple of good Samaritans founded a publishing company and wanted to publish a book for his foundation,” said Burcuoğlu.

Soon Burcuoğlu found himself volunteering to write and shoot the project free of charge, and dove right in with his own recipe for the type of cookbook he wanted to own and read.

“I own a lot of cookbooks, and I have some personal bones to pick with compilation cookbooks specifically because I feel the common denominator for compilation cookbooks is just all these chefs are from the same city,” said Burcuoğlu.

“There’s nothing that threads it otherwise. There is no monofilament that threads all these stories. It’s kind of arbitrary, so I wanted to create a compilation cookbook where it would be something more special. The sentiment, the feeling that threads this book is that of intimacy. It’s of private heartfelt memories. It’s of poignance. Some chefs featured in the book have shared very, very private memories.”

Some of those stories include the topics of transitioning and coming out.

“The vision was always to create something that transcended being a mere object of charity,” said Burcuoğlu.

“We wanted it to be literature. We wanted it to be artful. We wanted it to be colourful. Lots of good pictures … the human aspect of this business.”

The stories are interesting and the pictures are lovely and as comfortable as the food. Nothing in Food Stories screams stylists have been here.

“These recipes are not arbitrary; these recipes are from their own childhood, from their own providence,” said Burcuoğlu. “Every single recipe from every chef holds a tremendous place in their hearts and minds. They mean the world to these chefs.”

This is a charitable endeavour that hopes to help out the ever-increasing problem of food insecurity.

“There are people like me who were single moms living in basement suites who are getting decent salaries but still not enough to live in Vancouver in particular,” said Coe.

“Those are the things that don’t meet the eye. It’s not the Downtown Eastside that’s really dramatic and shocking, it’s your everyday people that you wouldn’t expect that are sending their kid off to school with some crackers in their lunch box that’s it. They are going malnourished, and that leads to mental health and that leads to health care dollars. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Coe says the long-term goal is for Food For All to expand the book model into other cities and communities across North America.

“That would be so great,” Coe said.

Related

Recipes


Kadieann Tighe’s artichoke cakes with vegan hollandaise. Photo: Hakan Burcuoğlu

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Artichoke Cakes and Mushrooms with Vegan Hollandaise

Created by chef Kadieann Tighe

1 can (400g) artichoke hearts, drained

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

1 cup (250 mL) panko breadcrumbs

1/8 cup (30 mL) whole wheat flour

4 cloves garlic, divided

1 tbsp (15 mL) chives, chopped

1/4 tsp (1 mL) Old Bay seasoning

Salt, to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 king oyster mushrooms, cleaned, tops removed

Extra virgin olive oil

2 sprigs thyme

Black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste

1 1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) vegan butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (125 mL)  almond milk, or other non-dairy milk

1 pinch turmeric

1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice

1.2 tsp (2.5 mL) nutritional yeast

Artichoke Cakes: In a food processor, pulse together the artichoke hearts, celery, bread crumbs, flour, 2 cloves garlic, herbs and spices. Stop periodically to scrape down the sides to blend evenly. Leave mixture in a chunky consistency, do not over blend. Season with salt to taste.

Divide mixture into 4 equal parts to form patties. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook patties on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until they form a brown crust.

Mushrooms: Cut mushroom stems into 5 cm chunks and soak overnight in a bowl of warm water. Remove from water and pat dry.

Heat a medium sized skillet over medium — high heat. Pour in oil to cover the pan. Add thyme and lightly mashed garlic. Place mushrooms in the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown in colour.

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce: Melt butter in a small pot over low heat. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk to make a roux. Slowly pour in about half the milk, whisking constantly. Then add the rest of the ingredients, while continuing to whisk. Once satisfied with the thickness and colour of the sauce, remove from heat. Set aside.

To serve: Portion cakes and mushrooms onto two plates. Drizzle the sauce generously over the artichoke cakes and enjoy.

Tips: The artichoke mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For the artichoke cakes, you can blend the panko crumbs in the food processor and coat the patties before frying to give them a crispier texture.

Serves 2. 

Mushroom Soup

Created by chef Juno Kim

1 cup (250 mL) dehydrated mushrooms

Water, as needed

3 cups (750 mL) fresh mushrooms, any variety, sliced

3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil or grapeseed oil, divided

3 shallots or 1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) thyme, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar

Salt, to taste

4 1/4 (1.125 L) cups stock, chicken and/or vegetable

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

Smoked paprika or black pepper, freshly cracked, to taste

2 tbsp (30 mL) plain yogurt, for garnish

Toasted bread crumbs or croutons, for garnish

Soak dehydrated mushrooms in warm water and set aside. Meanwhile, heat a medium sized, heavy bottomed pot over medium — high heat. Pour in 2 tbsp (30 mL) of oil and add in the fresh mushrooms. Cook until golden brown in colour.

Add onion, garlic, along with the remaining oil, thyme, and vinegar. Salt liberally. Cook until onions become soft and translucent. Add hydrated mushrooms, along with their soaking liquid, into the mixture.

Cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the stock. Season with salt to taste. Lower heat, bring mixture to a simmer and leave to cook for 20 minutes. Once cooked, ladle half of the soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Return contents to the pot and combine well.

Taste and season with salt, paprika and lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of yogurt, bread crumbs and lemon zest.

Tip: When serving, add seared fresh mushrooms on top of the soup for a special touch.

Serves four.

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7Jun

Town Talk: Former U.S. ambassador now advocates for all Canadians

by admin

FRIENDS IN DEED: In Bob Rennie’s Chinatown office-art museum recently, 2014-2017 U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and wife Vicki released a jointly written memoir of their time here. Titled The Art of Diplomacy, Strengthening the Canada-U.S. Relationship in Times of Uncertainty, the book reflects their personal friendship with and support of Democrat former president and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama. Diplomats represent their own country’s interests above all, of course. Still, alternately authored chapters in the Heymans’ “love letter to Canada, our neighbour and best friend” show them contributing to fellowship and culture far beyond Washington’s remit and Ottawa’s political and diplomatic precincts.

Their resolve “to build bridges, not walls” resulted in a bike lane replacing post-9/11 concrete barriers at the ambassadorial residence, Lornado. They also filled the house with art, presented many eminent artists, hosted scores of public events, sparkplugged a visit by Obama, and installed honey bees who, with their queen, departed soon after they did. Conversing with and learning from ordinary folk, the Heymans criss-crossed Canada. That included days spent in Arctic-shore Tuktoyaktuk, Labrador’s Mary’s Harbour and even more remote Battle Harbour. When it came time to leave Canada, though, the news came, deplorably, in a New York Times article rather than a single word from the Trump transition team. “Vicki and I now consider ourselves citizen ambassadors for the Canada-U.S. relationship,” Heyman wrote. “We are private citizens working to make a difference.” Supporting that intent, they and Rennie donated all proceeds from their book sales to The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a- Reader campaign.


Accompanied by daughter Ali in a simulated 1955 Chevrolet, Jen Rainnie chaired a gala to raise $900,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Malcolm Parry /

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Hweely Lim, Kirsten Maxwell and Lucia Kwong surrounded multi-charity $5-million benefactor Sylvia Chen at the Heart of Gold gala.

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MISS CANADIAN PIE: Jen Rainnie drove her Chevy to the levee, but it sure wasn’t dry. In fact, the levee — more specifically the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon’s 14th-annual Heart of Gold gala — reportedly generated $900,000 and change. Meanwhile, the Chevy that second-time gala chair Rainnie seemingly drove was actually a full-scale Styrofoam sculpture of the front end of a 1955 model. That was an epic year as a new-for-Chevrolet V-8 engine promised high performance. Rainnie, foundation chair Irene Chanin, board chair Brian Curin and all involved doubtless hope the gala will spur a similar result. That would include supporting an automated external defibrillator program planned to double the survival rate of those experiencing cardiac arrest.


Paul Armstrong heads the Crazy8s Film Society Andrew Williamson founded in 1999 and that received an outstanding-achievement Leo award.

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PICTURE PERFECT: Directors Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaai Edenshaw’s Edge of the Knife (Sgaawaay K’unna) cut through other nominees at the recent Leo Awards gala for B.C.’s film and television productions and personnel. It was named best motion picture, and Haig-Brown and Edenshaw received best-direction Leos. Director Menhaj Huda’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance was named best TV movie.


Walter Daroshin and wife Tina walked the red carpet at the local movie industry’s Leo Awards gala he has headed since its second running in 1997.

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Staged by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of B.C., the event is nostalgic for chair Walter Daroshin. That’s because a feature film he’d executive produced, The War Between Us, won the 1996 debut running’s top award. Daroshin signed on as Leos president in 1997. Two years later, Andrew Williamson founded the Crazy8s Film Society that won this year’s outstanding-achievement Leo. Long headed by Paul Armstrong, its juried contestants shoot, edit and deliver short but sometimes superb movies in eight days.


Twins Sam and Kailey Spear made the short horror film Alien: Ore at Britannia Mine to commemorate the Alien feature film’s 40th anniversary.

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QUADS: One Crazy8’s production was written and directed by Bowen Island-raised twins Kailey and Sam Spear, and filmed by two more twins, Graham and Nelson Talbot. Nominated for six Leos, it has a robot nanny violently attack a mother regarding the care of her daughter. Keeping up the jollity, the Spears and Talbots made the short horror flick Alien: Ore in the Britannia mine. It’s the only Canadian picture among 20th Century Fox’s commissions to commemorate the original Alien’s 40th anniversary.


Tim Roddick accompanied entrepreneur-wife Madeleine Shaw at a plate-smashing benefit for the United Girls of The World Society she founded.

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SMASH BASH: You could wait for a Greek wedding to break plates. Or you could pay $20 for a plate emblazoned with the word for something you dislike — homophobia, perfectionism, say — and sling it against a wall. Attendees did that when multi-entrepreneur Madeleine Shaw fronted a fundraiser for the United Girls of the World Society she founded. The organization aids parents and caregivers “that assist in supporting adolescent girls’ development of personal empowerment, healthy peer relationships, self-esteem and body positivity.” Shaw’s accompanying husband, Tim Roddick, was newly met in 1996 when this column reported her launching a women’s apparel firm. “He had a girlfriend, and I was having unwholesome thoughts about him,” Shaw recalled. “But one thing led to another.” They married in 2001 — without smashed crockery.


City-based movie producer Tex Antonucci’s name was a consequence of animator-father Danny’s reverence for famed film cartoon creator Tex Avery.

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IN A NAME: Tex Antonucci, who co-produced the Leo Awards’ best-movie-nominated Indian Horse, was named to commemorate legendary cartoon animator Tex Avery. Antonucci’s father Danny made the cult classic Lupo The Butcher (Google it). His Ed, Edd n Eddy was possibly the last TV series to employ Walt Disney and Avery’s hand-painted-cell technique rather than computer animation. At least Danny didn’t name his son for a beloved Avery character: Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Porky, etc.


Danny Antonucci’s TV series Ed, Edd n Eddy may have been the last one produced by hand-painted cells before digital technology triumphed.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Th-th-th-that’s all, folks.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456


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