'Oddly Normal' confirms it gets better for parents too

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'Oddly Normal' Book CoverWhat “It Gets Better” has done to help LGBTQ youth, author John Schwartz is looking to do for parents of those same kids with Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality, one of the featured books at this year’s Vancouver Jewish Book Festival.

“Dan Savage has done miracles through the It Gets Better Project, but my wife and I felt no one was telling parents that,” explains Schwartz.  “For my wife and me [writing the book] was about telling a parent of any kid who is different, and who is miserable about being different, that we can embrace, support and help them to be happy with themselves.”

Embracing and supporting their own gay son came through a near tragic 2009 suicide attempt by their then 13 year old son Joseph and with it a need to understand and heal.  As a reporter for the New York Times, Schwartz turned to the best way he knew how.

“Writing the book helped make everything gel for us,” says Schwartz.  “Everything we had been through was still very raw: the problems that Joe had in elementary and middle school, the incidences of bullying, not fitting in, but then also the upswing as things got better, as he started to find himself and feel more comfortable about who he was.”

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Vancouver Cigarette Recycling Bins

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Cigarette Butt Bins in the Davie VillageVancouver unveiled new cigarette-collecting receptacles, or "Butt Bins", as they're labelled, this month in an effort to keep Vancouver's streets clean and move the city closer to its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan goals. Smokers will be encouraged to dump their cigarettes in the fire-proof bins so they can be properly recycled and prevent environmental damage.

The Cigarette Waste Brigade pilot project will have 110 new bins installed along several blocks in Vancouver, including in the Davie Village. The main areas that this program covers are the West End, Downtown Vancouver, Robson and Gastown, but the city is hoping to expand the project across Vancouver and to over 2000 receptacles in the future.

"It’s about how you take a very toxic piece of waste and turn it into something useful," deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer said. "Ultimately, we would like to see everything that is on our streets or waste products in our city, whether they’re in homes, businesses or on the streets, turned into something useful."

Cigarette waste is one of the most dangerous and prevalent problems our environment faces, with an estimated 3.5 trillion butts thrown out annually. That equates to about 768 million kilograms of toxic waste that is not properly disposed of.

What do you think of this new pilot project? Let us know on Twitter or follow us on Facebook for more updates.

Weekend News Roundup

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Hawaii man holding rainbow flagHere are our top gay news picks from November 3rd to November 9th.

Gay Vancouver News

Gay World News

Theatre Reviews

  • The Wizard of Oz is fun for kids of all ages: Like a good animated film there is plenty for kids of all ages in the touring production of The Wizard of Oz currently playing Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
  • The Woman in Black is a Bloody Good ScareThe Woman in Black is a throwback to the days where you didn't need a huge special effects budget to unleash the dark side of your imagination. At times fettered by the confines of its indie venue and shoestring budget, Woman is nevertheless a solid introduction to a unique genre usually not attempted in the local theatre scene.

Top Gay-friendly Dining & Food of 2013

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Wine and GrapesEvery year WE Vancouver Weekly announces its best eats in the city, and of course numerous restaurants in the Davie Village took home awards. We've compiled all of the top restaurants in the Village from WE Vancouver's Best of the City Dining awards. Congratulations to all of the gay-friendly restaurants and food stores in our community!

Farmers Market

Private Liquor Store

Breakfast

Bakery

Burgers

Milkshake/Smoothie

Tapas

French

Greek

Indian

Singaporean

Of course there's plenty more great food in the Davie Village: check out all of our recommended restaurants and support your local community!

New biography explores Svend Robinson’s life and career

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Graeme Truelove, author of the biography Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics.It’s been nearly ten years since Canada’s first openly gay MP left politics under the cloud of a bizarre scandal.  Now a new book, Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics recounts a sometimes controversial career as one of Canada’s longest serving federal politicians and his fall from grace.

Written by biographer Graeme Truelove (photo right), an intern in Svend Robinson’s Ottawa office from 2002 to 2004, the book explores Robinson’s difficult childhood, his growing realization of his own sexuality, and the bipolar diagnosis which followed his baffling, career–ending theft of a diamond ring.

In our Q&A, author Graeme Truelove talks about the process of writing the book and the discoveries about Robinson he made along the way.

When did you first start working on the book?

I first started thinking about it in 2009, and began in 2010. The bulk of the work was completed in 2011-2012, with updates in 2013.

It’s been a number of years since Robinson was in the public eye – what makes a book about his life relevant now?

He was one of the most well-known, most polarizing, and most effective MPs in Canadian history, with a painful and dramatic personal life. And yet, his full story had never been told. There was a bit of a gap in our Canadian political archives. And his career ended in such a baffling way that people still want to understand what happened. This book gives people that chance. Despite the years that have gone by, I don’t think there’s been anyone quite like him. He really did politics differently. Who else goes to the front lines like he did? Who else is as fearless? His story shows what an MP can do. That’s as relevant now as ever.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Gay Marriage March in TaiwanHere are some of our top gay news picks from October 27th to November 2nd:

Davie Village News

Local Vancouver News

Gay World News

  • Priape saved from extinction by new owners: but only in Montreal.
  • Gender-Neutral Restrooms Become the Law: When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation Thursday to afford equal rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, he said he hoped Philadelphia would become “the most LGBT-friendly” city in the world.
  • Hot Wired: Gay men are on the vanguard of the digital sexual revolution, and the rest of us are not far behind. Are we satisfied yet?
  • Tens of thousands march for same-sex marriage in Taiwan: Tens of thousands of demonstrators, many displaying rainbows and glitter, thronged the centre of Taiwan's capital on Saturday to press demands to legalise same-sex marriage amid an increasingly tolerant environment on the island nation.

Movember in Vancouver

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Movember LogoMovember is upon us and soon our community will be a whole lot... hairier. Starting November 1st until the end of the month, men are encouraged to join the movement of growing their moustaches, asking friends and family to donate to charity for their efforts. Movember is meant to support and raise awareness for men's health causes such as prostate cancer.

How it Works

Participants are encouraged to sign up on the official Movember website and document their progress as the month goes on. These "Mo Bros" act as walking billboards, bringing awareness to men's health issues and prompting conversations wherever they go.

And for the ladies? "Mo Sistas" are encouraged to sign up online as well. By encouraging the men in their lives to participate and by raising funds, Mo Sistas can equally help the cause - without the hair.

At the end of the month, Vancouver's own Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending the infamous Gala Partés held at the Commodore Ballroom.

Learn More

John Apple Jack is full of sex, food and passion

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Two Actors from John Apple Jack in VancouverWith the Vancouver Queer and International Film Festivals now over for another year, it’s time to get a little “naughty or rice” with the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) and the world premiere of the locally shot gay film John Apple Jack.

“Over the past few years, VAFF has continued to grow and this year’s theme, ‘Naughty or Rice’, invites our audience to challenge their own perceptions about Asian film, and has brought in an interesting array of talent,” says Grace Chin, festival director.

Along with over 40 feature-length films, documentaries and shorts screening over four days, the 2013 VAFF line-up includes John Apple Jack, a feature length movie that definitely fits within the festival’s naughty spectrum.

The semi-autobiographical film from Vancouver writer Rick Tae, John Apple Jack tells the story of a glamorous playboy who realizes that his dream guy is about to get away and how his life turns upside down in a mad rush to confess his love.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Top 3 Gay Halloween Events for 2013

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Halloween is almost upon us and the gay ghosts and ghouls of Davie Village will soon be haunting the streets. Want to join in on the fun? Get your costume on and check out our top 3 terrifying Halloween events in Vancouver on October 31st!

  • The Capital on Davie Street

    Halloween @ The Capital

    Come by and help The Capital (1178 Davie Street) celebrate their very first HALLOWEEN PARTY! It's going to be a great time with loads of specials: Lonetree, CPT Morgans, Lucky, Burt Reynolds and Mindfucks.

    Learn More on The Capital's Facebook »

  • Celebrities Liberace Halloween Poster

    Liberace Halloween Ft. DJ Grind

    Celebrities Nightclub (1022 Davie Street) presents Liberace Halloween Night with special guest DJ GRIND (SFO) opening set by resident Del Stamp. Performances by both Vancouver’s next drag Superstars Iona Whipp (2012) and Anita Wiglít (2013).

    Buy Tickets »

  • PumpJack Pub Slaughterhouse Halloween Poster

    Slaughterhouse

    The PumpJack Pub (1167 Davie Street) is offering a no cover Halloween event with DJ Jay Douglas. The PumpJack Pub is your neighborhood watering hole, full of diversity and a great place to enjoy a mug.

    Learn More »

Weekend News Roundup

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Rainbow Crosswalk at Davie and Bute Street in Vancouver Here are some of our top gay news picks from October 20th to October 26th:

Local Vancouver News

World News

Theatre Picks

Gay / LGBTQ History