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  • February 23, 2023 edition - Food, Fentanyl, And Flaming Lips

February 23, 2023 edition - Food, Fentanyl, And Flaming Lips


Massey Theatre

I’m not your regular newsletter writer. I’m another, different, disembodied voice. And I have a secret to admit: I’m not from Vancouver.

When I moved here, I had big visions of seeing my favourite bands play sweaty, crowded shows. I would dance till my Blundstones blistered my feet, stumble into the night, grab a slice of greasy pizza from a little shop on Granville, and hop on the bus home to tuck myself into bed before the calendar even flips over to tomorrow.

And then none of my favourite bands ever came here.

They would stop tantalizingly close in Seattle, or play one measly Canadian date in Toronto and call it a day. Like, c’mon guys, you’re already getting the visas to come up north… you can squeeze us in too… we’re a fun crowd if we get a couple $12 beers and a nice sativa in us…

COVID obviously didn’t help the whole live music situation. But this week has felt like a breakthrough. Guns N’ Roses is set to play Vancouver on Oct. 16! And Depeche Mode is coming Nov. 24! Both The Boss and The Chicks are making stops too! It’s a bonanza!

So my cynicism is slowly defrosting. Sure, I still can’t see Boygenius without leaving my census metropolitan area. But I could pay a lot of money to see Axl Rose turn up two hours late and scream incoherently, a mere 45 minutes from my apartment. And that’s… something.

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Black food founders recognize progress, call for trust and community

Back in 2019, Lilian Umurungi-Jung launched Mumgry, a successful line of all-natural nut butters. Like the rest of us, she had no idea what global chaos would upend the world for the next three years. And, like many entrepreneurs, she questioned if she could continue with her business.

But her uncertainty was put on ice one day when Beyoncé showcased Mumgry on her website, among more than 100 other Black-owned brands.

Straight contributor William Johnson spoke to Black food business owners across the city about the successes and challenges of a delicious, tumultuous industry.


A live-action fantasy adventure for the whole family

Massey Theatre Dinosaurs

A mysterious time-warping wormhole has brought DINOSAURS back into our world and it’s up to Lisa and Declan, a pair of intrepid eighth graders, to send them home before their school field trip is over. In the tradition of such family favourites as E.T., The Avengers, and Jurassic World comes A Dinosaur Tale, a puppet filled, live action fantasy adventure for the whole family.


“It really is about love”: Love in the Time of Fentanyl documentary showcases community care

Since Love in the Time of Fentanyl debuted at DOXA last year and netted Colin Askey the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, it’s garnered critical acclaim for showing the unregulated drug crisis with compassion and clarity.

The film, shot in 2019 before COVID-19 and the rise of benzo-dope, focuses on workers at the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) safe consumption site as they provide care for the people who need it.

“I look back, and it was really, really life changing for me and changed not only how I viewed this issue, but just really how society works in general,” Askey tells the Straight about his many years working in the DTES.


For Bassem Youssef, comedy is about more than telling jokes

There’s no need to ask Bassem Youssef how he comes up with material for standup shows.

“My kind of comedy is not really an hour of telling jokes, it’s an hour of storytelling. The story that I tell is my own story,” Youssef told the Straight in an interview.

Youssef’s upcoming show in Vancouver will offer a glimpse into his tumultuous life, leaving behind a professional medical career to become “Egyptian Jon Stewart.”

Featured arts listings

  • Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival: Adventurers, films, workshops, and more! In-person shows Feb. 24-March 5, and online shows Feb. 24-Mar. 26.*

  • Oscar Shorts 2023: Each year, VIFF presents the best in show in the form of the Academy Award-nominated shorts in the Live Action, Animation and Documentary categories. | Until March 2 | $15+ | Vancity Theatre

  • The Wrong Bashir: Touchstone presents this riotous mistaken-identity comedy full of family foibles and cross-generational clashes by playwright Zahida Rahemtulla! March 2-12 | From $25 | Firehall Arts Centre*

  • Saltwater Cures All: Saltwater Cures All is a compilation of video works featuring Racquel Rowe in her native island of Barbados. | Until March 11 | Free | Gallery Gachet

  • VMF’s Winter Arts: Vancouver Mural Festival’s winter offerings turn downtown Vancouver into an open-air gallery with a variety of free events. | Until Feb. 26 | Free | Various locations

  • David Cross: Worst Daddy in the World: Emmy Award-winning actor, writer and comedian David Cross brings latest standup tour to town. |  March 4 | $32.50+ | Vogue Theatre

  • The Vancouver International Dance Festival celebrates 23 years of contemporary dance from Feb. 27 to March 25 with kinetically exciting performances and workshops. Book your tickets today.*

    *Sponsored Listing

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The sorta new, mostly improved Flaming Lips

Wayne Coyne doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. But if all goes to plan, his band, the Flaming Lips, will finally play in Vancouver.

The band has performed here many times over the years, though there’s been a significant three-year gap between when these tickets went on sale and when, finally—mercifully!—the show will happen at the Commodore Ballroom (plus an added second night, for good measure).

That gap, of course, was the result first of worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns, then, later, the result of Coyne getting COVID. But now, here we are. Hopefully.

And—better yet—we’re giving away a pair of free tickets to their Feb. 28 show. You’ve got until the end of Saturday to enter the giveaway here.

Featured music events

  • The McDades: Edmonton’s own The McDades are bringing their Celtic-rooted, jazz-influenced music to Vancouver this Sunday. | 8pm | Feb. 26 | $30 | Mel Lehan Hall

  • Dumbo Gets Mad: The psychedelic pop project based in Italy will be at the Fox Cabaret for a Monday night show. | 6:30pm | Feb. 27 | $18 | Fox Cabaret

  • PopCappella III: Dance away the winter blues as Chor Leoni sings your favourite pop hits backed by a band of Vancouver’s best. March 3 & 4*

  • Fidlar: The American punk band from Los Angeles will be performing in Vancouver at the top of March. | 7pm | March 3 | $28.50 | Rickshaw Theatre

  • Announcing Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit with special guest Kathleen Edwards at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, in Vancouver on March 5, 2023. Get the best seats in the house by using this link.*

  • World Music legend Zakir Hussain returns to Vancouver with Masters of Percussion, bringing together the very cream of global music. Get the best tickets now!*

    *Sponsored Listing

The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show

Your adventure begins here! BC’s largest showcase of outdoor gear and adventure travel experiences takes place Mar. 4 & 5 at the VCC!

Tickets are on sale now. Use code Straight23 at checkout for $2 off The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show. Plus, your ticket also gets you into the BC Bike Show!


Shameful Tiki owner Rod Moore is looking for the right buyer

After a decade of running one of North America’s most successful Polynesian-themed bars, Rod Moore is selling Vancouver’s Shameful Tiki. In an interview with the Straight, he said it’s a decision that wasn’t easy to make.

“Honestly I have put so many things on my plate and I’ve become so scatter-brained that I’ve just kind of had enough,” Moore said.

He hopes to sell the iconic Main Street bar, as-is, to a new owner who’ll continue his love for meticulously crafted tropical cocktails.

The Rest of the events

  • Descent Gothic Party: Descent Gothic Party brings together an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life who share an appreciation for gothic culture. | 9pm | Feb. 26 | $10 advance, $15 at door | Red Room Ultrabar

  • Step into the Hustle Dance: Hustle at RS Dance Society is partnering with Vancouver Mural Festival to welcome you to an interactive event showcasing a fun and approachable partner-dance style known as the Latin Hustle. | 3 to 5pm | Feb. 26 | Free | šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square, Vancouver Art Gallery

  • Gentle Hatha Yoga + Meditation Classes: This cozy Gentle Hatha class is for anyone interested in a more traditional yoga practice. It is a slow-paced class where the asanas (poses) are each held for a few breaths. | 6:30 to 7:30pm | Every Wednesday | By donation ($20 suggested) | Cadence Cycling and Movement Fitness Studio

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