Dick Wagner–who played stunning lead-guitar in the seventies for the likes of Aerosmith, Lou Reed, and Alice Cooper–died today in Phoenix at the age of 71. He had been hospitalized after contracting a lung infection following heart surgery in early July.

I was crazy about Wagner’s guitar playing before I even knew who he was. As a hired gun, he played on those awesome Alice Cooper albums like School’s OutBillion Dollar Babies, and Muscle of Love when Cooper’s lead-guitarist Glenn Buxton was too drug-addled to get it right.

At the Pride flag-raising ceremony held at Vancouver City Hall on July 28, Stewart Gonzales, a two-spirited member of the Musqeam and Squamish First Nations, conducted a blessing by singing the Coast Salish national anthem.

Here is a brief clip of his powerful performance.

He also took the opportunity to speak about the ongoing struggles that aboriginal two-spirited (LGBT) people continue to face in communities across North America.

Every weekday, the Straight highlights a great local shot as the Photo of the Day. Interested in submitting your photos for consideration? Check out our Flickr group.

On Monday evening I saw my friend Jimmy; he was making one of his rare binning forays through the back alleys of Fairview and he was beaming—literally.

“Mr. Fixit” had mickey-moused a head-mounted incandescent floodlamp to guide his way. He’d even wired in a custom taillight on the back of the helmet, though it wasn’t evident at first glance.

“Is it on? It’s not on?" he asked as he joggled and tapped his helmet rig until the little blue and red LEDs jittered to life.

Last weekend, Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightingale said that his facility tried without success to buy an orca in the late 1990s.

This came after Bjossa's partner, Finna, died in 1997.

"When the male killer whale died, we spent a year trying to find a companion for Bjossa, and we couldn't anywhere in the world," Nightingale said at a July 26 special park board meeting on captivity of cetaceans. "We would have tried to buy one if we could."

The comment arose in a question-and-answer session with Vision Vancouver commissioner Aaron Japser. (See video above.)

Nightingale said that Russians weren't capturing wild orcas at that time, so there weren't any killer whales available.

Couldn't make it out last night? You missed Philadelphia indie-rock band The War on Drugs at the Rickshaw. David Sojka was there and caught a moment of the show on Instagram. Here’s your concert pic of the morning. The War on Drugs at the Rickshaw Theatre on July 29, 2014. Thanks David.

Every weekday, the Straight highlights a great local shot as the Photo of the Day. Interested in submitting your photos for consideration? Check out our Flickr group.

Melo Productions has announced that reggae groups Easy Star All-Stars, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Tatanka will play a show at Venue on Thursday, September 18. 

Easy Star All-Stars has established itself as one of the top international reggae acts since its live debut in 2003.

On this tour, the group is returning to its first release to celebrate the decade anniversary of Dub Side of the Moon, a complete reggae re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad is an American jam reggae band based in Rochester, New York whose eclectic blend of roots reggae, dub, and afrobeat has garnered it a large and growing following. 

The 2014 Celebration of Light features Team France on Wednesday (July 30).

Photographer Andrew Chin got a behind the scenes look at the team's preparations.

Four months ago I did a blog about Led Zeppelin releasing deluxe reissues of its first three albums, under the headline "Led Zeppelin super-deluxe boxed sets destroy all other boxed sets."

Well, I take it back.

Today the legendary hard-rockers announced that they are releasing two more deluxe editions, and these are the ones that really destroy all other boxed sets.

At least until that Physical Graffiti boxed set comes along.

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