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7Jun

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

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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.

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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.

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31May

Town Talk: B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inducts Sedins and many others

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Backed by a blow-up of Duomo di Milano cathedral, Ross Bonetti increased the La Dolce Vita flavour of his Italianate Livingspace store’s expansion party by straddling his two classic Vespa scooters.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

CHAMPS NIGHT: Chaired by Michelle Collens and Tewanee Joseph, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s recent gala was replete with memories. It couldn’t be otherwise with inductees like the 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse team, 1975 NFL Super Bowl winner Roy Gerela and 1977 Vancouver Whitecaps coach Tony Waiters. Also inducted were 17-season Vancouver Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin.


B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductees Henrik and Daniel Sedin were 21 when they served wine at a Canuck Place children’s hospice benefit in 2002.

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When seen in this column in 2002, the twins displayed deft passing skills. Not with the puck but with bottles of wine that then-Canucks GM and former part-time bartender Brian Burke had them serve at a benefit for Canuck Place children’s hospice. Back at the gala, rugby-star inductee Kelly McCallum heard honorary co-chair Marvin Storrow call her sport “a game of skill, not for me.” Then again, 1934-born Storrow does play hard, skilful tennis four times weekly.


Portrayed at age four with twin James, former MP, cabinet minister and senator Pat Carney will be inducted into the Order of British Columbia on June 28.

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MORE TWINS: Shanghai-born siblings Jim and Pat Carney shared an 84th birthday May 26. They’ll celebrate again June 28 at Pat’s induction into the Order of British Columbia. The honour likely acknowledges her years as an MP, cabinet minister, senator and best-selling author rather than early-career slogging as a Vancouver Sun reporter.


Departing Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels welcomed Rogers Group Funds chair Phil Lind to a reception for film and television producers.

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MILES AHEAD: At the Polygon Gallery, Rogers Group of Funds chair Phil Lind presented a $5,000 emerging-artist prize to movie maker Jessica Johnson. It recognized her Scotland-set 14-minute documentary, Hazel Isle. Lind also fronted a reception for regional film and television producers on Vancouver Art Gallery’s rooftop patio. No one present, especially departing VAG director Kathleen Bartels, quibbled with his assertion that “Vancouver has the best artists in Canada — by 10 miles.”

SPACEMAN: The Armoury district’s free-standing Livingspace store always had room aplenty for swish European furniture. There’s even more now that building owner Ross Bonetti has expanded the fifth floor to accommodate specific-brand showrooms. As usual, Bonetti pulled out all the stops — and his two La Dolce Vita-style Italian Vespa scooters — for a recent relaunch party. He rides the mint-condition 1969 and 1971 Sprint models around town, but not astride both as he demonstrated with them parked. Ever the showman, perhaps he’ll master Ben Hur-style riding for his next event.


With a Dina Goldstein work behind them, sponsor Matthew Halse and Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation head Scott Elliott saw an art auction raise $185,000.

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Angela Grossmann’s mixed media work, Farm Boy, struck the right note at a Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation event where it fetched $9,500 at auction.

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PICTURES FOR PETER: Eighteen artists, from Thomas Anfield to Elizabeth Zvonar, didn’t stint when donating works for live auction at the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation’s recent Art For Life event. Twenty-four others gave to its silent auction. With supporters filling Pender Street’s The Permanent hall, foundation executive director Scott Elliott reported $185,000 being raised.


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s Opioid Ovoid Humanoid sculpture seems to come alive beside his painting in the Macaulay & Co. Fine Art gallery.

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TRANSFORMER TODAY: Imagine the wonderment of coastal longhouse dwellers when performers manipulated carved-cedar masks so that the creatures they depicted seemed alive. Something similar pertains at Sarah Macaulay’s First-off-Scotia gallery where long-established artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s first sculpture is displayed. The mask-headed work echoes figures in Yuxweluptun’s large paintings that fetch over $100,000. Step in front, though, and the mask becomes a confusion of multicoloured pieces. The spooky change represents “the process of what drugs do, and this can happen to you,” said Yuxweluptun, who named the $45,000 sculpture Opioid Ovoid Humanoid. There’ll be four more, he added.


Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko had geo-strategist Parag Khanna (centre) address a $100,000 gala audience. Photo: Malcolm Parry.

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SUMMER WINNERS: The 11-day Indian Summer Festival will begin with its usual Roundhouse Community Centre party July 4. Revving up for that, organizers Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko staged an Odlum Brown-sponsored banquet that reportedly raised $100,000 with the slogan: The Future Is Asian. That’s the title of a new book by geo-strategist Parag Khanna, who addressed attendees. His assertion is supported by the multinational Standard Chartered Bank’s 2017-to-2030 projection for global economies. It foresees China’s GDP rising to $64.2 trillion, India’s to $46.3 trillion and the U.S.A.’s to $31 trillion. Meanwhile, Canada, France and the U.K. lose their global top-10 positions.


Beverley Robinson, Sonja Chopty, Margaret McFaul and Renata Hofer ringed “termite taxi” owner Tevie Smith at a memorial for promoter Harry Moll.

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ROUNDER BOUT: Old-time Howe Street flickered again on Hornby Street recently. That was when Neil Aisenstat opened Hy’s Encore restaurant’s upper room to those attending a wake for 1988 Promoter of The Year Harry Moll who died at age 83 on April 25. Although most old Vancouver Stock Exchange habitués arrived on foot, Tevie Smith pulled up in his somewhat symbolic “termite taxi,” a junk-festooned 1947 Chrysler “woody” sedan with 300,000 miles on the clock and two rescue dogs on its duct-taped seats. As for the chi-chi era, wake attendees Sonja Chopty, Renata Hofer (who flew in from Zurich), Margaret McFaul and Beverley Robinson recalled partying in the Moll-launched Sneaky Pete’s, Charlie Brown’s and Sugar Daddy’s nightclubs. Moll’s 1994-divorced wife Suzy was unavoidably out of town but still speaks warmly of him.

THE DRILL: Regarding the old stock exchange’s freebooting mining promotions, a contemporary of Moll’s once said: “Sometimes we drill the ground, and sometimes we drill the sky.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Canadians and Americans wrangling over the North Pole’s ownership might recall that cheeky London journalists long ago determined principal-resident Santa Claus’s citizenship. A bewhiskered, overstuffed fellow who feasts on cookies and works one day a year would be a fellow Brit, they said.

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17May

Transcendental Meditation is food for thought in battle against ourselves

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Consciousness & Creativity with David Lynch & Bob Roth

When: May 23, 7 p.m.

Where: SFU Goldcorp theatre

Tickets and info: $27.50-$65 eventbrite.ca

These days it seems you can’t swing a string of Buddha beads without hitting someone who meditates or is about to start to do so with help from their freshly downloaded Headspace meditation app.

Despite some forms of it dating to as far back as 1500 BCE, it seems meditation really is all the rage today. You can tell that is true by how tightly the marketers have embraced the idea of selling inner peace. Everything from juice to moisturizing lotion and bubble bath come with the word mindful attached. If you are in the U.K. you can even order online meals from the Mindful Chef. However, you have to agree to not talk with your mouth open. Actually not talk at all. Kidding.

“Meditation has become so much more mainstream, all the different forms,” said Anne-Mareike Chu, who is one of the 20 registered transcendental meditation, or TM, teachers who work out of the Vancouver TM Centre. “We have lots of people who come to us who have tried different kinds of meditation or apps.”

If you’re the type of consumer that likes a good celebrity stamp-of-approval in these influencer-driven times then TM has you covered. Supermodel Kendall Jenner told Vogue it helped her with anxiety and to clear her mind. Fans of Ellen DeGeneres’s daytime TV show have likely heard her talk about her eight-year TM practice.

“It’s changed my life,” said DeGeneres during a show that aired a year ago.

She was talking about TM on this day because her personal TM teacher Bob Roth was on the show with his new book, The New York Times Bestseller Strength in Stillness — The Power of Transcendental Meditation.

The book is a quick and interesting guide to TM through Roth and other people’s (some famous, some not) experiences. It’s an engaging and unfailingly understandable guide to a meditation practice that was brought to North America 50-plus years ago by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Roth learned the practice from the Maharishi/guru to the Beatles and has been practising it for five decades. For the past four decades he has been instructing it to everyone from PTSD-suffering war veterans to Fortune 500 CEOS to anxious teens to Tom Hanks.

Aside from teaching, Roth runs the non-profit David Lynch Foundation (DLF) that he formed with the famed film director 15 years ago.

As part of the DLF’s international outreach (it has offices in 35 countries) Roth is in Vancouver for the Consciousness & Creativity with David Lynch (via live video link) & Bob Roth event on May 23 (7 p.m.) at the SFU Goldcorp theatre. He will also be travelling to Montreal and Toronto.

The event is a discussion of TM, Roth’s book and a chance for audience members to ask questions of him and Lynch. Lynch is the director behind such wonderfully weird works as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks.

“We’re both Eagle Scouts. Which is funny David Lynch as an Eagle Scout,” said Roth over the phone from his office in N.Y. when asked about he and Lynch’s connection.


David Lynch will be joining Strength in Stillness author Bob Roth in Vancouver on May 23 to talk about the power of transcendental meditation. The David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace is a global foundation founded by the film director to fund the teaching of TM in schools.

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Currently there is a DLF office in Toronto and Roth says there are plans to expand in Canada.

The non-profit focus of the foundation is to bring free TM to inner-city kids, vets and victims of domestic abuse. Roth reports that the foundation in North America has delivered meditation to about one million of those people. All the proceeds from Strength in Stillness will go back into supporting that work.

Roth’s connection to famous folks began with Lynch. From there word of mouth brought him together with other bold names like Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern and hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio.

“Whether they are CEOs or famous people they say: ‘Oh, you need a good cardiologist. I’ve got a good cardiologist for you. Oh, you need a good meditation guy, oh, I’ve got a good meditation guy.’ So that’s how it works,” says Roth about his famous clientele.

While more and more celebs and CEOs are signing up, Roth says there is another growing demographic — politicians.

It’s seems the lawmakers (sometimes) in Washington are a little bit stressed out these days. Hmmm, wonder why? Roth says he has been working with quite a few members of the U.S. Congress — members from both sides of the aisle.

“It can’t hurt,” said the affable Roth when asked about bringing meditation to the partisan gridlock of the beltway.

“There’s a different quality of stress in Washington, D.C. Everyone’s furious with them. The members of Congress go back to their districts and no one is happy with them,” said Roth. “You’re either not Liberal enough. Not Conservative enough. Nobody is happy and it is sort of this thankless task. They’re really stressed.”

A big driver for Roth these days is to help end what he calls the “epidemic of stress.”

“Modern medicine has no antidote to stress and people are eager to minimize the detrimental impact of stress,” said Roth.

“Canadians go to TM centres now: that means, all types of Canadians — students, retired people, doctors, business people, athletes, teachers, clergy, yoga instructors, because stress does not recognize age or religion or profession,” says Roth.

When talking about TM’s benefits Roth points to studies and peer-reviewed papers that support TM”s health-benefit (less anxiety, better sleep) claims. The American Heart Association has gone so far as to say the practice of TM helps to lower blood pressure.

Right now the DLF is in the midst of raising funds to bankroll more third-party research so that TM is considered in the same light as any other medicine or any other medical intervention.

“Right now we are in the process of subjecting TM to the exact type of studies so that we can go to all these insurance companies and employee assistance programs and government agencies and say, Hey this is as good or as if not better at reducing high blood pressure than this antihypertensive medication and there are no side-effects and we’ve got the same research by the same researchers as a drug,’ ” says Roth.

It’s the increase in and access to studies and discussions about meditation that Roth and Chu say have led to an uptick in interest in all forms of meditation.

“Meditation in general used to be seen as so out there, but now it is so widely accepted because people started realizing the power of our mind really lies within and now science is catching up to that finding,” says Chu, who worked in the sustainability field with Bing Thom, the famed Vancouver architect and TM enthusiast. “People are more open to natural treatment to improve their health and well-being.”

TM is easy. You sit down comfortably. And with your eyes closed, repeat a mantra.

“I use the analogy that you are in a little boat and you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and all of a sudden you get these 30- or 40-foot-high waves around you and you could think the whole ocean is in upheaval, but the word whole ocean is a bit of an exaggeration because if you were able to do a cross-section out there you would realize that the ocean is over a mile deep and while the surface of the ocean may be turbulent, by nature the depths of the ocean by its nature are pretty darn quiet,” said Roth when asked to describe TM. “The analogy is to the mind.”

The official TM course in Vancouver will run you $1,300 (centres do have discounts depending on individual circumstances) for a lifetime membership. The course consists of four consecutive days with 90-minute-to-two-hour sessions.

In Vancouver, the TM Centre says about 35,000 people have picked up the practice since the late-1960s.

“Vancouver is one of the most successful centres,” said Roth, who also hosts a Sirius XM radio show.

While TM is booming there have been detractors over the years. Some people have called it a cult (especially at the higher levels of the practice) and some just poo-poo it as some leftover flower-child, free love thing invented by a tiny hirsute Indian man who thought he could fly (look up yogic flying).

However, if social media and shopping habits are any indication, the times have changed and people no longer think yoga, organic food and meditation are only for the hippies and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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12Apr

Book review: Whatever Gets You Through is a reminder that you are never alone

by admin

Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault

Edited by Stacey May Fowles and Jen Sookfong Lee | Greystone Books

$22.95, 219 pp


There is a war being waged constantly — a war against women. Whatever Gets You Through is a dispatch from the front lines.

The numbers alone represent a nightmare. In 2017, nearly 24,000 sexual assaults were reported to Canadian police and judged to be “founded.” And that number, horrific as it is, is a gross undercount. Only one assault in 20 is reported to police and only one per cent of sexual assaults on women leads to conviction. Aboriginal women, poor women, women of colour, trans women, sex workers and women living with disabilities are all more at risk for assault.

In B.C., there are over 1,000 sexual assaults every week. Over half of B.C. women over 16 have experienced physical or sexual violence, primarily at the hands of men. And assaults are often lethal. Indigenous women and girls, as the national inquiry has taught us, are particularly vulnerable to the murderous violence that fuses sexism and racism.

But numbers alone can numb the heart. Every woman and girl assaulted had a name, a face, a history. A new collection of survivors’ stories, Whatever Gets You Through, provides a valuable reminder of this by giving readers 12 vivid accounts of life after sexual assault.

The editors of this important book, Stacey May Fowles and Jen Sookfong Lee, have chosen a dozen voices for this survivors’ chorus. Each of these voices is unique, and none seem tempted by the saccharine truisms of pop psychology or TV versions of “redemptive recovery.” They all tell their own difficult truths in memorable language.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s essay, “Not Over It, Not Fixed, and Living a Life Worth Living, A Disability Justice Vision of Survivorhood” is a particularly eloquent and angry text, and like her recent book Care Work, brilliantly written.

Kai Cheng Thom, a Toronto based trans woman already well known for her fiction, poetry and community organizing, contributes a profound meditation on illness, pain, the body and memory. Other contributors reflect upon their varied paths to survival, from therapy to fabric art to peer support.

Women readers may find in this book the comfort of knowing they are not alone. Every man should read this book, although many will flinch from its painful truths and moral challenge.  As men, we have to change our own unacceptable behaviours and challenge other men to do so as well. Anything less is collusion in the war.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes feedback and story tips at [email protected]


Stacey May Fowles (above) and Jen Sookfong Lee edited Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault. Photo by N. Maxwell Lander.

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Jen Sookfong Lee (above) and Stacey May Fowles edited Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault. Photo by Sherri Koop.

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25Jan

Good sex is all in your head, says The Wellness Show speaker

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The Wellness Show

When: Feb. 2 and 3, 10 a.m.

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre West

Tickets and info: From $12.50 at thewellnessshow.com


Now in its 27th year, The Wellness Show is once again offering up experts to help you do a better job at almost everything; from getting off carbs, getting your morning off to a good start, and, well, getting it on.

The latter on that list is the focus of the presentation: Mind-Knowing Sex is Mind-Blowing Sex: Using Mindfulness to Cultivate Sexual Desire(Feb. 3, 11 a.m.) as part of the two-day Women and Wellness Seminar Series.

Bringing that bit of Buddhism to the bedroom is University of B.C. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology professor and psychologist Dr. Lori A. Brotto, who is also the author of the book Better Sex Through Mindfulness.

Brotto’s book and Wellness Show presentation is the culmination of 15 years of incorporating mindfulness into her sexual health research and clinical work with patients.


Dr. Lori A. Brotto.

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“It is just a powerful strategy for teaching people to be in the here and the now,” said Brotto.

“So many people with sexual problems talk about a disconnect with their body.”

Brotto’s accessible and interesting text — the book is not an expanded academic paper —  moves between hard research, anecdotal examples and practical exercises to help make the sexual experience more enjoyable and engaging for women.

Of course the big O (orgasm not Oprah) is a major player in the conversation about better sex.

“In every study we have done there’s been a significant improvement in ease of reaching orgasm and intensity. It makes a lot of sense,” said Brotto.

“What is orgasm? It is extension of arousal. Because in mindfulness you are really paying attention to the body sensations and really paying attention to when arousal is increasing and mounting and where in the body the arousal is. It’s completely logical then that orgasm would be a natural result of that.”

If you have been awake at all in the last few years you will have undoubtedly heard about mindfulness. The practice has surpassed its spiritual realm and set up shop in the mainstream.

“It (mindfulness) is not just something Buddhist monks do in a cave,” said Brotto.

“It’s hot Western health care, big time. Not just mental health care but also medical health care. Cancer agencies run mindfulness groups because of the data showing mindfulness slows tumour progression. Healthy heart programs run mindfulness  groups because of the affects of mindfulness on regulating heart patterns and arrhythmia, etc. So it has hit big time.

“I think one of the big strengths is that it isn’t just a passing fad because the science really stands up to the claims,” added Brotto.

“We have strong data that shows how it works and why it works and also where in the brain it works, too.”

Related

You know what else works? Talking about sex. But sadly we don’t do it enough as women. There still seems to be a shyness or shame factor that stops women from seeking out conversations about sex.

Brotto says data shows men who develop erectile dysfunction do not hesitate to ask their family doctor what’s up with their non-performing penis. She says, after all, “we live in a culture that prizes men’s erections.”

One of the reasons women may balk at talking with their doctor about bad sex is that women often just accept it.

“I think women do need to be a bit more intolerant of difficulties at least as far as talking to health care providers and saying: ‘is this normal? Is there anything I can do? Or should I just accept it?” said Brotto.

“We have so much more comfort having sex than we have comfort talking about it.”

Brotto hopes her book and public appearances will nudge women towards more open dialogues about sex and female sexual dysfunction. It really can be a big factor to enjoying a healthy, happy life, she says.

“The sex conversation is critical, because sex isn’t just this isolated thing that people do recreationally. It is so heavily intertwined with sense of self, mood and relationship satisfaction, fundamentally self esteem,” said Brotto.

“We know countless studies have shown that when there are problems sexually all those different domains start to take a toll as well. It is a fundamental aspect of quality of life, and so in the same way we take very seriously our physical health we have to pay attention to sexual health, too.”

While Brotto is encouraging more women to talk about sex, she says health professionals may not be giving enough attention to the topic of female sexual dysfunction. But she hopes that as more women take ownership of their sex life and  ask questions more doctors will look for answers, and conversations will occur.

“But what we are not seeing though is an improvement in doctors talking about it. Doctors getting trained in it,” said Brotto.

“Accessibility to treatment that’s what we’re not seeing. So that will probably be a downstream affect but definitely the conversation around this and also around agency is important. Women saying: ‘I value my sex life. It’s important to me.’ And consent and conversations around pleasure are very important. That is where things like the #metoo movement have really benefited that conversation.”

Brotto hopes attendees of her lecture at the Wellness Show, and those who pick up her book, will benefit from her research.

“Sexual desire, all of the science has taught us it is responsive,” said Brotto.

“It’s something that can be cultivated. It is something that can emerge. It’s not that you are born with a set level of desire and you’re just sort of stuck with that for the rest of your life and so if it goes down you just have to learn to live with it.”

Brotto says we need to get through our heads that desire, like happiness, can be cultivated. So if we really pay attention in the moment in a non-judgmental fashion we can make our desire more responsive to our environment.

Brotto is just one of 100 or so guest speakers/chefs/fitness demos that are on hand for show goers. The Convention Centre floor is also teeming with around 250 vendors.

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21Dec

Town Talk: Event helps those who need help breathing

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Technology for Living's Ruth Marzetti, Susan Dessa , April Skold and Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui backed patient and peer network facilitator Nancy Lear at the development's firm's annual reception.


Technology for Living’s Ruth Marzetti, Susan Dessa , April Skold and Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui backed patient and peer network facilitator Nancy Lear at the development’s firm’s annual reception.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

BREATHE EASIER: Occupants of Concord Pacific-built condo towers likely relish fresh air wafting in from False Creek. For some at the development firm’s recent 30th anniversary reception, though, receiving any air at all is a matter of life and death. They were staff, supporters and patients of the B.C. Association for Individualized Technology and Supports for People with Disabilities. A beneficiary of the Concord Pacific event, the 12-year-old non-profit organization (bcits.org) “works with people who have severe physical disabilities and helps them to live as well and as independently as possible.” One such person present at the event was Nancy Lear. She is also an association peer network facilitator who assists and supports others who require ventilators to breathe while also tapping into the organization’s transition and 24-hour therapy services and other programs. Backed by caregiver Susan Dessa, association executive director Ruth Marzetti and staffer April Skold, Lear thanked Concord Pacific CEO Terry Hui. As for his firm’s breathing space in a presently down-turning market, Hui told guests: “A whole new wave of social innovation is coming. Every time you shuffle the deck is opportunity. I look forward to next year.”

Accompanied by wife Yuju Yoon, Japan's newly installed consul general, Takashi Hatori, conducted a birthday reception for Emperor Akihito.


Accompanied by wife Yuju Yoon, Japan’s newly installed consul general, Takashi Hatori, conducted a birthday reception for Emperor Akihito.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A new era opened for Takashi Hatori with his recent posting as Japan’s consul general. Another one was seen to be closing when he hosted an 85th-birthday celebration for Japan’s 125th emperor, Akihito, who has said he will abdicate on April 30. Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him. Reminding guests of Akihito and Empress Michiko’s warm welcome here in 2009, Hatori diplomatically called Vancouver “a top-ranked city on the global scale.” Noting the 90th anniversary of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations, he expressed “high expectations” for mutual investment opportunities following the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal coming into force Dec. 30.

DESIGN HERE: The 14th annual Interior Design Show ended Sept. 23. But it left behind a remarkable guide to the maturing regional industry. Curated by the show’s Vancouver director Jody Phillips, Currents: Contemporary Pacific Northwest Design is a lavishly illustrated 176-page book that refers to the “truly borderless”  design region as “not just a geographical location but a state of mind, a sensibility rather than a particular style or esthetic.” The $55 book (vancouver.interiordesignshow.com) portrays eight Oregon designers and/or firms, five from Washington and 19  from B.C. The include ANDlight firm’s Lukas Peet, Caine Heintzmann and Matt Davis, and Annie Tung. Naturally it includes designer, manufacturer and Inform store owner Niels Bendtsen who has championed regional creativity for a half century. The Interior Design Show will return Sept. 26-29, 2019.

ON HOLD: The following items and photographs were drawn from several unpublished in this column during 2018.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musical director Otto Tausk's wife Daphne attended his local conducting debut at an Orpheum theatre concert.


Vancouver Symphony Orchestra musical director Otto Tausk’s wife Daphne attended his local conducting debut at an Orpheum theatre concert.

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OTTO’S PILOT: Long accustomed to seeing Vancouver Symphony Orchestra music director Bramwell Tovey, an Orpheum Theatre audience applauded successor Otto Tausk’s debut concert Sept. 21. With wife Daphne later, he said: “You, our audience, have given us such a great feeling of support and dedication to the VSO.”

SUCCESS Foundation chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to the social-service agency's 40th annual gala.


SUCCESS Foundation chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to the social-service agency’s 40th annual gala.

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GONE FISHING: The SUCCESS social agency’s foundation made a splash at Vancouver Aquarium in March when its 40th annual gala raised $650,000 for services and programs. Chair Queenie Choo welcomed Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, likely then still happy at having netted Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas as the B.C. legislature’s Speaker.

Dietician Ildiko Toth and multiple-gala chair Naz Panahi attended the Daffodil Ball that raised $1.54 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.


Dietitian Ildiko Toth and multiple-gala chair Naz Panahi attended the Daffodil Ball that raised $1.54 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

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MILLIONS MAKER: Registered dietitian Ildiko Toth joined Naz Panahi at the Canadian Cancer Society’s $1.5-million Daffodil Ball. Although a guest at that fundraiser, Panahi has long provided it and others with a necessary diet of cash. She chaired numerous Daffodil Balls and Arthritis Research Canada galas. In September, she and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s Night of a Thousand Stars event to raise $4 million.

Robert and Lily Lee attended the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation's second annual gala that daughter Carol founded to fund a social-housing complex.


Robert and Lily Lee attended the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s second annual gala that daughter Carol founded to fund a social-housing complex.

Malcolm Parry /

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CENTURY SENSED: Attending the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala with wife Lily, Bob Lee likely thought of father Ron Bick Lee settling there from Guangdong in 1911. Daughter Carol Lee founded and chaired the gala. The foundation  “promotes the well-being of those in need (and) invests in projects that revitalize Vancouver’s Chinatown.”

Carol Lee joined philanthropist Sylvia Chen at a reception for B.C. Children's Hospital Circle of Care member-donors at Parq Vancouver's D/6 bar.


Carol Lee joined philanthropist Sylvia Chen at a reception for B.C. Children’s Hospital Circle of Care member-donors at Parq Vancouver’s D/6 bar.

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NEXT CENTURY: Carol Lee and philanthropist Sylvia Chen attended a reception for B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Circle of Care group whose 270 individual, foundation and corporate members each donate at least $10,000 annually.

Many signs had pointed to former Surrey mayor and South Surrey-White Rock MP becoming B.C. Liberal Party leader, but members voted otherwise.


Many signs had pointed to former Surrey mayor and South Surrey-White Rock MP becoming B.C. Liberal Party leader, but members voted otherwise.

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KER-BOOM: Having signed up thousands of new B.C. Liberal party members, signs pointed to former mayor-MP Dianne Watts being elected leader. After leading three rounds, though, she was outfoxed by Andrew Wilkinson, not to mention having fewer than half her signed-up members actually cast ballots.

Le Crocodile owner-chef Michel Jacob served his native Alsace's titanic Choucroute Garnie au Riesling at a March banquet for the big of appetite.


Le Crocodile owner-chef Michel Jacob served his native Alsace’s titanic Choucroute Garnie au Riesling at a March banquet for the big of appetite.

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RIB-STICKER: Even this season’s hefty meals seldom outweigh Alsatian-specialty Choucroute Garnie au Riesling that Le Crocodile’s Strasbourg-born Michel Jacob served to colleagues in March. Think smoked ham hocks, pork ribs, other cuts and several different sausages mounded on half spuds and wine-fermented cabbage.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Merry Christmas to all and especially the British for whom Brexit shenanigans top such traditional seasonal pantomimes as Cinderella, Peter Pan and Puss in Boots.

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10Dec

New book from Victoria author scares up some Canadian ghost stories

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Barbara Smith’s lifelong interest in ghosts began over sixty years ago when she walking with her father in Toronto.

“We were walking past a huge bank building. You have to understand I was just three feet tall so it was really enormous and my father said to me I understand that bank is haunted — that it has a ghost in it. I just flipped out,” said Smith, who was seven years old at the time. “I had never been so intrigued by anything in my entire life and so I was just throwing questions at him. He didn’t know the answers, that’s just what he had heard.”

Years later Smith found out the ghost at the bank was that of a young teller named Dorothy who was in love with a co-worker but the affection was not mutual. Distraught the heartbroken teller took her own life with a bank-issued revolver (for protection against bank robbers) in the women’s bathroom in 1953.

The story about Dorothy and her death at the Bank of Montreal (which became the site of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993) and her subsequent haunting of the location is in Smith’s latest collection of ghost stories (her 26th book on the topic) titled Great Canadian Ghost Stories.


Great Canadian Ghost Stories by Barbara Smith. Photo: Courtesy of Touchwood Editions

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“I love that story and didn’t that bank become the Hockey Hall of Fame. So what a perfect Canadian ghost story,” said Smith gleefully.

Canada is not lacking in spooky tales and unexplained phenomenon. Smith loves them all and treats the stories about average folks like Dorothy with the same wide-eyed reverence as tales about historical heavyweights like Henry Hudson.

“I love the combination of history and mystery,” said Smith, when asked why she keeps digging up ghost stories. “It just tickles me. I love social history. There is a feeling that I get called deliciously frightened. I love that.”

B.C. is well represented in the book. Vancouverites will love the tale of the Headless Brakeman who slipped while walking the tracks at the Granville Rail Yard and had his head cut off by a train. Now if you happen to be down at the tracks at the foot of Granville St. late at night and you see a swaying light say hello to poor old Hub Clark.

And because you are at the rail yards why not head over to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. That building’s busy history has apparently made for some regular ghostly manifestations including the Little Red Man. This regular haunter is short, dressed all in red and likes to hang out in the women’s washroom.

To call Smith a prolific writer is an understatement. Great Canadian Ghost Stories is her 36th book. She is thinking of retiring but says when she does she’ll write a memoir and some collections of short stories. Retirement it seems is not a clear concept.

Smith’s writing career began in 1988 when she had a secretarial job working for the Edmonton school system. In the past, finances had kept Smith from pursuing writing but now she was in a better position and as a lover of ghost stories she was thrilled to find out that the old school that housed the Edmonton public school archives was supposedly haunted. She wrote the story sold it. That bit of sleuthing lead to more digging and more stories and soon Smith had her book Ghost Stories of Alberta and as she says she has “been at it ever since.”

“The first book was really hard to write, really difficult,” said Smith, who has lived in Victoria for a little over a decade. “But once that came out I was just inundated with stories to the point that all I had to do was go out and interview the people and wham I had another book within a year and a half.”

While ghost stories can be wildly entertaining — who doesn’t want to now the story of the Dungarvon Whooper — at their root they are usually tragic and usually involve a death that is either nefarious or premature in nature.

“Ghost stories are fun and everything but they imply a death,” said Smith. “Some of them have been profoundly difficult emotionally so I really do feel grateful and humbled that these people would share with me.”

Smith says many of us have our own ghost stories, stories of a room going cold or a feeling of someone standing behind us when there is no one else around. It’s these creepy connections that Smith thinks peaks our interest in the paranormal.

“The pre-orders were strong for this book. They were tremendous. All of my books sold well,” said Smith, with not a drop of arrogance in her voice.

She quickly adds though that one ghostly tome didn’t sell so well. Haunted Hearts, about ghost love stories, died a premature death.

Why is it we want to read about and think about the dead?

“I think we want to understand what happens after. Also if we lose someone near and dear to us it is comforting to feel them around you,” said Smith.

After years of collecting stories, she says with confidence the place most frequented by ghosts is not graveyards.

Instead, common haunting sites include hospitals, firehalls and theatres, where there is a lot of emotion.

“I find firehalls are very often haunted because there is that huge surge of emotion. Theatres are often haunted, I have one full book on theatres (Haunted Theatres),” she said.

Smith herself says the spookiest place she has been was an old Edmonton hospital. There she said she had a huge emotional sadness overcome her. She said it was weird because she is a “tough old boot.”

There are a lot of commonalities in ghost stories.

“Children are more likely to see things because as we grow up we train ourselves not to see them. Animals are very sensitive. If a dog or a cat stares at something that is usually not a good sign at all.”

Cold spots are big and also if you got a ghost there’s a higher chance he’s a dude.

“Off the top of my head I say men (haunt the most),” said Smith. “There’s a lot of routinized behaviour with men in a haunted house. There you hear the front door open and then close, heavy footsteps going up the stairs. They’re there five days a week forever. He’s just coming home from work.”

Women seem to a have a bit of flourish. They want to be noticed and it seems they don’t want to be caught dead in just any old outfit.

“We have a lot of coloured ladies. We have blue ladies, The Blue Lady of Peggy’s Cove. The grey ladies that kind of thing. I think they are more mournful and they are here because they are sad.”

What about her own afterlife? Does Smith want to return as a ghost?

“I hope so. My girlfriend Jo-Anne Christensen, who wrote Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan and a few other ones, she and I have promised each other we’ll try to come back and hang out together as ghosts.”

Where would she like to do her ghost work?

“I guess a childhood home. That would be really nice. But now that I think about it I think a theatre would be fantastic. I’m a big swimmer and swimming pools are often haunted. Gee, I think I’d like the freedom to flit around.”

Smith’s next book is due out in April and is a follow up to one she did focusing on Canadian suffragette, politician, author, and activist Nellie McClung.

“I had compiled a collection of Nellie McClung columns. That book naturally lead me to the Famous Five and the “Persons Case,” in 1929 and so I’m finishing up that book (Famous Five) and it will be out in April,” said Smith. “It is social history so it does kind of fit. You are not going to see a book from me about quantum physics. That’s not going to happen.”

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What ghost stories does a writer of ghost stories like?

Author Barbara Smith offers up her favourite books about ghosts:

“Choosing favourite ghost story books was tough, but The Ghost of Flight 401, by John G. Fuller, has always been a big favourite of mine. I really admire the way he sets the scene for the plane crash — December 1972, one of those huge old L-1011s crashing into a Florida swamp. Very chilling. Also, you can imagine the pilots’ reactions going from mild annoyance to the terrifying reality that they are about to crash the plane they are responsible for and likely kill all on board.

“Then when those pilots faces start showing up in other L-1011s — ones that have been fitted with parts from the wrecked plane — with messages to prompt the crews to look for safety hazards, well, it’s just creepy and so believable.

“On a much lighter note — you really can’t beat A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I like the book way more than any version of the movie. I think we can all identify with different parts of each character, which really brings the story close to the heart.

“The Haunting of Hill House is such a classic — and scary like mad. I think for the same reason as A Christmas Carol is effective, we can all identify with parts of each character and then our imaginations just go into overdrive. Plus Shirley Jackson was such a skilled wordsmith. She just ratchets up the suspense.

“And last is a Ghost Story by Peter Straub. The nice quiet setting of a small town with four old men telling stories to one another is such a bait and switch for what’s to come and again, it gets personal.”




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7Dec

Town Talk: Odd Squad’s abuse-prevention earns police chief’s kudos

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Chief Constable Adam Palmer congratulated Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia on her Pacific Autism Family Network luncheon reportedly raising $719,000.


Chief Constable Adam Palmer congratulated Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia on her Pacific Autism Family Network luncheon reportedly raising $719,000.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

PRAISE WHERE DUE: Attending the 20-year-old Odd Squad Production Society’s first open house, Vancouver Chief Constable Adam Palmer praised the independent charity’s membership of serving and retired police officers. “You focus on things that really matter in our society,” he said, citing as “brilliant” a resource program titled Understanding Fentanyl that the squad produced and supplied to all B.C. schools. “You do fantastic work, with more to come, and you have 100 per cent support from the Vancouver Police Department.”

Surrounding Chief Constable Adam Palmer clockwise from Odd Squad president Diana Zoppa are director John Daly and members Mark Steinkampf, Dave Steverding, Brian Shipper, Brendon Frick, Chris Graham, Doug Spencer and Toby Hinton.


Surrounding Chief Constable Adam Palmer clockwise from Odd Squad president Diana Zoppa are director John Daly and members Mark Steinkampf, Dave Steverding, Brian Shipper, Brendon Frick, Chris Graham, Doug Spencer and Toby Hinton.

Malcolm Parry /

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Odd Squad co-founder Sergeant Toby Hinton said that volunteer members “work tirelessly on the streets — for nothing. We are very much involved with (drug-abuse) prevention, and will stay focused on that.” Meanwhile, “Our educational work with the kids is going on like crazy. The future is bright for us.”

Chief Justice of B.C. Robert Bauman and former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor were head table guests at the Pacific Autism Family Network lunch.


Chief Justice of B.C. Robert Bauman and former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor were head table guests at the Pacific Autism Family Network lunch.

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MAKING CHANGERS: Chief Palmer was out and about again at the Pacific Autism Family Network’s $175-ticket luncheon. The evening-gala-like event reportedly raised $719,000 for an organization that Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia founded and that has husband Sergio Cocchia as president and board chair. At the luncheon, Game Changer awards were made to the Presidents Group, the RCMP and the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association. The network’s integrated Hub facility in Richmond serves autism patients and their families. A video message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked 1,000 luncheon guests for being there “tonight.” Those present included B.C. Chief Justice Robert Bauman, former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor and Lt.-Gov Janet Austin, who spoke warmly of the Cocchias. Premier John Horgan was expected but detained, not that skipping lunch would harm anyone growing in office.

THE … WINNER: In a medium that usually jams words together, CKNW’s Charles Adler has wrested radio’s longest-pause title from CBC’s As It Happens co-host Jeff Douglas.

Familiar for her role in the city-shot 1987-1992 TV series, 21 Jump Street, Holly Robinson Peete returned recently with son RJ who is autistic.


Familiar for her role in the city-shot 1987-1992 TV series, 21 Jump Street, Holly Robinson Peete returned recently with son RJ who is autistic.

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ROBINSON REDUX: Once familiar around town, Holly Robinson Peete sat as an “honorary game changer” at the autism luncheon’s table. As the yet-unmarried Holly Robson in 1987 to 1992, she played the role of undercover cop Judy Hoffs in the city-shot television series 21 Jump Street. At the luncheon, she accompanied autistic son R J Peete, who will soon be 21 himself. Extolling Vancouver to magazine writer John Lekich in 1987, the multilingual Robinson Peete said: “There are so many naive American who don’t even know there’s civilization here.” Not that that perception has changed entirely.

POWER ON: That would be a red dress according to Lisogar-Cocchia, Robinson Peete and Taylor who were all so-attired at the autism luncheon.

Ottawa-based Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk fronted a party staged by Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre founder Zoe Peled.


Ottawa-based Animal Justice executive director Camille Labchuk fronted a party staged by Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre founder Zoe Peled.

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NO-MEAT MEET: Zoe Peled’s limbs, neck and chest are the backdrop for fruit-and-flower tattoos, but the Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre founder says more are unseen. Most evident, though, are the sentiments she showed to produce a holiday party for Animal Justice, a 10-year-old, Ottawa-based non-profit organization of animal-advocacy lawyers. Executive director Camille Labchuk greeted 150 guests, shared vegan fare and said that four animal-supporting bills are before parliament now.

Gillian Meghan Walters showed her second book about 14-year-old son and animal activist Kingston Zoom Walters, aka King Zoom: The Vegan Kid.


Gillian Meghan Walters showed her second book about 14-year-old son and animal activist Kingston Zoom Walters, a.k.a. King Zoom: The Vegan Kid.

Malcolm Parry /

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Guests were intrigued by the quicksilver antics of 14-year-old Kingston Zoom Walters, a.k.a. King Zoom: The Vegan Kid. The subject of a second book by writer-illustrator-mother Gillian, Walters recently joined American actor and animal-activist James Cromwell to address a Utah gathering and reportedly save 100 turkeys from Christmas tables. Aware of some animal-rights organizations’ combative protests. Walters says: “My mom reminds me that, when we are talking to pre-vegans, we must always come from a place of compassion and model non-violent communications.” Smart kid.

UP PARRYSCOPE: Downtown’s 105-year-old Sinclair Centre could use a good scrubbing.

AIDS Day luncheon founder Ani Feuermann was portrayed in 2004 with now-pending Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame enrolee David Podmore.


AIDS Day luncheon founder Ani Feuermann was portrayed in 2004 with now-pending Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame enrolee David Podmore.

Malcolm Parry /

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TIME WAS: AIDS was still a whispered word in 1990 when Ani Feuermann invited female friends to an awareness lunch at Cafe Veneto. Some of them likely wore bijoux from Feuermann and husband Daniel’s Cartier store. The event caught on. Such early attendees as Jill Lyall, Joan Gusola and Julia Molnar joined current supporters when executive director Lisa Martella fronted the Loving Spoonful feeding agency’s recent World AIDS Day luncheon at the Terminal City Club.

Artist and long-time HIV/AIDS patient Joe Average attended a World AIDS Day luncheon staged by Loving Spoonful executive director Lisa Martella.


Artist and long-time HIV/AIDS patient Joe Average attended a World AIDS Day luncheon staged by Loving Spoonful executive director Lisa Martella.

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Once an inevitable terminal ailment itself, HIV/AIDS has been controlled enough for attending artist Joe Average, 61, to say: “I’ve had it longer than I haven’t had it.”

Seen with a decorated confection at his Aberdeen Centre, Thomas Fung has had the same done for his personality in Fête Chinoise magazine.


Seen with a decorated confection at his Aberdeen Centre, Thomas Fung has had the same done for his personality in Fête Chinoise magazine.

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FAIR ENOUGH: A bilingual article in Toronto-published Fête Chinoise magazine is resonating in Richmond. Its five pages have Jennifer Lau write about Fairchild Group founder and Aberdeen Centre owner Thomas Fung under the headline (and Fairchild motto) Spirit of Enterprise. The $350-million media-and-real-estate firm’s name reflects an admonition by Fung’s father, the Sung Hung Kai Finance firm founder, to treat everyone fairly. According to Lau, Fairchild’s Chinese-language title merely means “New Era.”

FAIRER YET: Mega-tycoon Henry Ford named his Michigan estate Fair Lane and a series of Ford cars Fairlane to commemorate his maternal grandmother’s birthplace in Cork, Ireland. Ford established a new era, too, when his Model T put America on wheels.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Unlike Harbour Air’s seaplane fleet, Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden discourages twin otters.

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30Nov

Town Talk: Frank Giustra’s sun-raised olive oil best kept in the dark

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Domenica Fiore president Anna Wallner and production director Cesare Bianchini launched Novello di Notte extra-virgin oil that sees no light from its nighttime picking until the $65-priced stainless-steel bottles are opened.


Domenica Fiore president Anna Wallner and production director Cesare Bianchini launched Novello di Notte extra-virgin oil that sees no light from its nighttime picking until the $65-priced stainless-steel bottles are opened.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

MIDNIGHT OIL: Open a $65 stainless-steel bottle of Domenica Fiore Novello di Notte extra-virgin olive oil and its 500-ml contents should blink. That’s because three varieties of olives therein were harvested from an Italian hillside in the cool of night, promptly cold-pressed, and kept in the dark ever since.

Domenica Fiore president Anna Wallner and owner Frank Giustra cooked Italian meatballs at a 2017 benefit for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.


Domenica Fiore president Anna Wallner and owner Frank Giustra cooked Italian meatballs at a 2017 benefit for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

Malcolm Parry /

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“Olive oil’s big enemy is light,” production director Cesare Bianchini said at Commercial Drive’s Caffe La Tana where he  and Domenica Fiore president Anna Wallner, the former Shopping Bags TV co-host, launched Novello di Notte and $9.95 jars of Datterino tomatoes. Both come from the Umbrian operation city-based global tycoon Frank Giustra bought and named for his mother.

Craig and Marc Kielburger attended a dinner beside the Segal home's lengthy fireplace after conducting their 10th annual WE Day rally at Rogers Arena.


Craig and Marc Kielburger attended a dinner beside the Segal home’s lengthy fireplace after conducting their 10th annual WE Day rally at Rogers Arena.

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WE NIGHT: Brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger welcomed 20,000 youngsters to their 10th-annual WE Day rally in  Rogers Arena, then dined with 70 adults at Lorne and Melita Segal’s Southlands home. First Lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and mother-in-law Margaret Trudeau attended by day. The latter stayed for supper chez Segal as, in earlier years, had Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and British global tycoon Sir Richard Branson.

Lorne and Melita Segal's pool is usually covered to accommodate the diners that they sat entirely indoors when hosting this year's post-WE Day event.


Lorne and Melita Segal’s pool is usually covered to accommodate the diners that they sat entirely indoors when hosting this year’s post-WE Day event.

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The Segals occupy one half of the 14,000-square-foot house and host charitable and similar events in the other. Such functions can place 150 participants on a swimming pool’s temporary transparent covering with floodlit water gurgling below. This time, guests dined wholly indoors, some close enough to a six-metre-long gas fireplace to toast their personal hams while dining on sablefish, sweet spuds and wilted spinach.

Former NFL tackle Esera Tuaolo dressed suitably Hawaiian and former CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge suitably at-home for the Segals' WE Day dinner.


Former NFL tackle Esera Tuaolo dressed suitably Hawaiian and former CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge suitably at-home for the Segals’ WE Day dinner.

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Accustomed to gridirons, gay-disclosed NFL defensive tackle, author and WE Day speaker Esera Tuaolo had a cooler seat. So did former CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge. Freed from being shaved, made up and suit-and-tied for 29 on-camera years, he’d grown grizzled white whiskers and, although furthest from it, dressed for a casual at-home night beside the fire.

Open Road chief Christian Chia's Portfolio program puts members in 25 cars from nine luxury brands with the option to change up to four times monthly.


Open Road chief Christian Chia’s Portfolio program puts members in 25 cars from nine luxury brands with the option to change up to four times monthly.

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CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS ONWARD: To launch a $2,499-to-$3,499-a-month “subscription service” for nine makes of Asian, German and British luxury cars, Open Road dealer Christian Chia had Pear Tree restaurant owner-chef Scott Jaeger prepare matching snacks. They included marinated seaweed, pork-jowl schnitzel and hash-like bubble and squeak. No raisin-and-currant-studded spotted dick pudding, though, which would have complemented the paint job on an unlamented British Hillman Imp coupe. Portfolio clients may switch between 25 models up to four times monthly while driving 2,500 km. subject to  “likely removal from the program if driving habits consisting of high volume proceed.” No Palm Springs back-and-forthing, that is.

Brig-Gen. Jack Stewart's portrait backed Vancouver Heritage Foundations' Judith Mosley and David Dodge at a Seaforth armoury event.


Brig-Gen. Jack Stewart’s portrait backed Vancouver Heritage Foundations’ Judith Mosley and David Dodge at a Seaforth armoury event.

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HERE’S TAE US: With fitting respect for accuracy, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation sidestepped evasive names to call an annual $60,000-range fundraiser City Drinks. Toasts were raised when foundation board chair David Dove and executive director Judith Mosley welcomed guests to the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada’s recently renovated 1936 armory. Archivist James Calhoun spoke about the regiment’s past. Venerable artworks and artifacts displayed included a table bearing a Lewis machine gun, bagpipes and other lethal devices. Less belligerently, a large portrait depicted railway contractor turned brigadier-general Jack Stewart who commanded all Canadian and British military railway units in 1917-1918 wartime France and became the Seaforths’ honorary colonel.

Seen in 2007, producer Shawn Williamson joined reviewer-riling director Uwe Boll, who is the subject of a Whistler-premiered documentary.


Seen in 2007, producer Shawn Williamson joined reviewer-riling director Uwe Boll, who is the subject of a Whistler-premiered documentary.

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BOLL WEAVING: Uwe Boll was in Whistler recently, but not to replace the closed Bavaria restaurant with a satellite of his feted Cordova-at-Carrall Bauhaus. It was for the premiere of moviemaker Sean Patrick Shaul’s F*** You: The Uwe Boll Story. The documentary addresses the 15-or-so feature films Boll made that incensed critics but made money for, among others, Brightlight Pictures founder and former Whistler festival chair Shawn Williamson. Boll recently addressed indie filmmakers at Vancouver’s 21-year-old Celluloid Social Club that screens their productions. Some doubtless applauded his having challenged harsher reviewers to meet him in the boxing ring.

Straight Lines Designs' Judson Beaumont is one subject in Keith Cunningham's film about the 1000 Parker building and its artists and artisans.


Straight Lines Designs’ Judson Beaumont is one subject in Keith Cunningham’s film about the 1000 Parker building and its artists and artisans.

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ROSY PARKER: Director-producer Keith Cunningham’s debut feature-length documentary is about collaborative folk, not scrappers. Living History: 1000 Parker warmly examines that 105-year-old building’s past as a mattress and furniture factory. It also pictures some of the many artists and artisans there today who constitute the annual Eastside Culture Crawl’s largest participating group. Longest-term tenant Judson Beaumont established Straight Line Design in 1985 to produce child-oriented furnishings with barely a straight line in them. Cunningham hopes to film a documentary about Jacqui Cohen whose properties include the 1898 Army & Navy Stores complex and nearby 1910 Dominion Building.

Pledged to end homelessness, new mayor Gregor Robertson joined big-time home builder Terry Hui at Concord Pacific's 20th anniversary party in 2008.


Pledged to end homelessness, new mayor Gregor Robertson joined big-time home builder Terry Hui at Concord Pacific’s 20th anniversary party in 2008.

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TEN YEARS AGO: Seventeen days after being elected mayor and pledging that he and eight Vision party councillors would end homelessness, Gregor Robertson had Concord Pacific president Terry Hui greet him at the firm’s 20th anniversary party. That development company resulted from Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing acquiring Expo 86’s 82-hectare False Creek site in a 1988 deal reportedly worth $145 million. Today, possibly planning to attend Concord Pacific’s 30th anniversary celebration Dec. 12, former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart has succeeded former NDP MLA Robertson. The Vision party is history, there are more homeless than ever, and Concord Pacific does multi-billion-dollar business in Canada, the U.S. and U.K.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Not all speakers deliver high fidelity.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
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16Nov

Town Talk: $3.99 million benefits VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation

by admin

Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.



Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

STARRY HIGH: Hospitals always have the edge when fundraising. So it was when the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala reportedly raised $4,000 for each star in its title. OK: $4 million. That total delighted multi-time chair Devi Sangara and Naz Panahi, who co-chaired this year after several at-bats with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Ball and Arthritis Research Canada’s annual ARThritis Soirée.

Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.


Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.

Malcolm Parry /

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Still, the four megabucks raised were overpowered by last December’s $25 million donation from Gaglardi family members who received the foundation’s Leadership Award at the gala. The night’s proceeds will pay for a new MRI machine and support various programs at the two hospitals, the G.F. Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. It was rewarding to see attending surgeons Marcel Dvorak and John Yee’s whose labours kept me working and, in Yee’s case, alive. Anyone disgruntled by this column now knows who to blame.

Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's $3.99-million gala.


Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s $3.99-million gala.

Malcolm Parry /

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Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.


Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.

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PNG

Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.


Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

FORTUNE COOKING: Newly elected mayor Kennedy Stewart joined diverse attendees at the 11-year-old Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala. The $1.1 million reportedly raised will benefit the 58 West Hastings social-housing complex. That sum was noteworthy for an event that Carol Lee founded only last year and that was MCed by former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor and music-biz agent Sam Feldman.  Fairmont Hotel Vancouver chefs served dim sum, shrimp har gow, chicken sui mai and smoked maple sablefish to guests, many being devotees of the brisket, chicken, duck and pork at Lee’s year-old and much lauded Chinatown BBQ on East Pender Street.

Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.


Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.

Malcolm Parry /

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DOWN PAYMENT: Charity fundraisers seldom make seven figures at their first or even second events as the Vancouver Chinatown gala did. Still, Dreyer Group Mortgages COO Meryll Dreyer was pleased when her debut event for KARES (Kids At Risk Embracing Success) reportedly brought in $50,000 to aid disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds. Dreyer hopes to parallel the similar Invis Angels in The Night program where she also had a starter role.

Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown's Secret Location store.


Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown’s Secret Location store.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

BAA BAA: Fashion-industry professionals and customers celebrated Canadian Wool Week at Gastown’s Secret Location store recently. Before becoming cosy garments, sheep’s wool is washed, dried, oiled, carded, died, glazed and woven, not to mention sheared from sheep twice annually in two-to-eight-kg lots. Giving the event perspective, Butterfly Fibres principal Marianne Iberg brought three-year-old Shetland-breed twin ewes Sweetpea and Thumbelina from her family’s Langley farm. With winter imminent, having their fleeces clipper-ready mightn’t be the sheep’s best prospect. Encouraging for us, though.

The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie's 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.


The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie’s 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG

SHINING LIGHT: Ryan and Cindy Beedie’s pre-48th-birthday party at Malkin Bowl in 2016 had Huey Lewis and the News entertain 3,000 guests. Lewis’s hit song, Build Me Up, may have suggested a possible birthday present. Ditto Take Me To The Top by Loverboy’s Mike Reno, who sang at a repeat outdoors party this year. The present actually took shape at the couple’s official 50th birthday rock party in the Commodore Ballroom on Sept. 7. It would be $50 million. Not for them, though. That sum would launch the Beedie Luminaries Foundation. According to property-development firm principal Ryan, the foundation will provide scholarships to “bright, driven students from disadvantaged backgrounds … who are smart, but constrained by circumstance.” Some recipients may progress to Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, possibly humming Lewis’s Give Me The Keys.

RED, WHITE AND BLUET: Philippe Tortell, Mark Turin and Margot Young, University of B.C. anthropology, oceanography and law professors, edited and recently released a book titled Memory. It was sparked by post-First World recollections and a 2017 discussion at the varsity’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies that Tortell directs. Accepting that “the essays share an appreciation of the fragility and fluidity of memory,” the editors also note: “Why we forget is just as important as thinking about what we can remember.” French consul general Philippe Sutter, who donated a memorable amount of Château De Fesles wine to the release readings, contrasted attendees’ red and white poppies by adding the cornflower “bluet” with which his nation respects fallen warriors.

EVER REMEMBERED: Margot Young’s father Walter headed the UBC and, later, the University of Victoria’s political science departments. As a wittily perceptive political columnist to Vancouver magazine, when local periodicals had such things, he was politely asked why one monthly opus was a little overdue. “It’s a good reason,” he replied languidly by phone. “I have a brain tumour.” He perished, to widespread dismay, at age 51.

LOVIN’ YOU: Peter Wall, whose institute published the Memory book, will present his own composition while hosting the Wall Ball on Dec. 18. Past events featured live cattle, an ostrich, Santa Claus and miniskirted elves criss-crossing the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre’s glass ceiling while ball-goers dined below. This year, Canadian tenor Richard Margison will perform a “love song” for Vancouver that Wall wrote and frequently warbles.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Where’s Wally Buono? In our hearts.

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