Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An enjoyable trip to Sechelt -- first to the home of Helen and Dave Ible, in whose guest suite I stayed, then Anne and Geoff Carr’s, who hosted a potluck in my honour.

The event took place at the Doris Cowan Gallery at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, where I read from 8x10 as well as the paper I gave last August on gardening and Northwest Coast motifs at the Tlell Fall Fair, Haida Gwaii. Talewind Book’s Bev Shaw “manned” the book table while Susan Telfer from the Live Poets Society drove up from Gibsons.

Thank you to everyone who came out, and for your many thoughtful questions.

Monday, November 29, 2010


From the Free Meriam-Webster Dictionary: 1) an exhibition of optical effects and illusions; 2a) a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined; b) a scene that constantly changes; 3) a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage.

From the Free Dictionary: a type of magic lantern show in which rapidly moving images blend, change size, etc.; hence, any series of images that move and change rapidly, as a dream.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My punctuality habit shows no sign of abating. Afraid I might miss yesterday's 1:20PM ferry, I left the house early enough to find myself on the 11:20AM. Now five hours ahead of schedule, I stopped into Gibsons for a tour of the shops.

First up was the Gypsy Cove, where I purchased four magic lantern slides ($5 each), a January 9, 1968 issue of Look Magazine ($15) and a 2.5"x4" photo of a late 19th century English Bay ($2). From there, a couple of craft co-ops for soaps and a very odd Hwy 101 mug produced by bcallahan36@uniserve.com.

Giddy with my purchases, I crossed the street to the Salvation Army in search of a good driving tape. I thought I found one in David Bowie's Station to Station (1976), but the cassette, no doubt issued at the time of the album's release, began slowing during the first of the "It's too late"s, giving out altogether after the second bar of the next track, "Golden Years".

(David Bowie)

The return of the Thin White Duke
Throwing darts in lovers' eyes
Here are we, one magical moment, such is the stuff
From where dreams are woven
Bending sound, dredging the ocean, lost in my circle
Here am I, flashing no colour
Tall in my room overlooking the ocean

Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth
There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station
The return of the Thin White Duke, throwing darts in lovers' eyes
The return of the Thin White Duke, throwing darts in lovers' eyes
The return of the Thin White Duke, making sure white stays

Once there were mountains on mountains
And once there were sunbirds to soar with
And once I could never be down
I got to keep searching and searching
Oh, what will I be believing and who will connect me with love?
Wonderful, wonderful, wonder when
Have you sought fortune, evasive and shy?
Drink to the men who protect you and I
Drink, drink, drain your glass, raise your glass high

It's not the side-effects of the cocaine
I'm thinking that it must be love
It's too late - to be grateful
It's too late - to be late again
It's too late - to be hateful
The european canon is here

I must be only one in a million
I won't let the day pass without her
It's too late - to be grateful
It's too late - to be late again
It's too late - to be hateful
The european canon is here

Should I believe that I've been stricken?
Does my face show some kind of glow?
It's too late - to be grateful
It's too late - to be late again
It's too late - to be hateful
The european canon is here,
It's too late
It's too late, it's too late, it's too late, it's too late

The european canon is here,
And yes it's too late
It's too late, it's too late, it's too late, it's too late

The european canon is here,
And yes, it's too late
It's too late, it's too late, it's too late, it's too late
The european canon is here,

The return of the Thin White Duke, throwing darts in lovers' eyes
The return of the Thin White Duke, throwing darts in lovers' eyes
The return of the Thin White Duke, making sure white stays

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Friday, November 26, 2010

For those living on the Sunshine Coast I will be reading and talking tomorrow at the Doris Crowston Gallery of the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt, 8PM. Still not sure what I will be reading from, or talking about, but it will likely include a selection from 8x10, as well as some odds and sods I uncovered during fall's spring clean.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Time to change the flowers. Some flowers look good dead, but not these. Or maybe not flowers but some of that tissue paper I bought at the dollar store -- robin's egg blue, police-tape yellow, fire-cracker red -- crumpled into shapes.

There, that looks okay. A shame about the vase though.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There are a number of worthwhile exhibitions up. Brian Jungen at Catriona Jeffries, Julia Freyer at Artspeak, Robert Linsley at CSA Space, and this from my notebook:


Paintings and collage. The artist’s ongoing battle with colour, form, harmony (see Stravinsky). A battle because the easiest thing for this artist is to make that which everyone agrees is beautiful, and that bothers her, I can tell.

So up it goes, this beauty, and then the arguments start, the rearrangements. How would this colour behave in this shape next to this colour at that scale? I have visited the artist's studio and have seen paintings that appear near-finished, only to be completely reworked days later.

Jack Shadbolt never stopped doing this. Once, while dining at a friend’s, Shadbolt, who had been distracted all night by a painting of his (purchased by his friend from Shadbolt's dealer), asked if he could borrow it so that he might “fix” it. The friend said yes. A month later Shadbolt returned with the painting, and of course it looked nothing like the “original”.

Of less interest to me was the collage room, if that’s what it could be called, given the right-angle application of unrolled bolts of construction paper to the free-standing U-shaped walls inserted within. Yes, yes, yes, I know the artist does not want to work with this window-interrupted room, but I felt little from it, at least not what I felt from the paintings.

Outside, in the gallery’s glass cases, a horizontal stream of stratified blues and greys, evocative of our sea to sky landscape. Nature staring back at us, Culture warm within.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The excerpt below is from "Wanted" by Clarice Lispector (translated from Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero):

"This is the ideal newspaper for classified advertisements and, as I scan the items under "Wanted" or "For Sale", my eye catches on the following advertisement printed in bold type:

'Man or woman wanted to help someone remain contented. I am so contented that I cannot keep all this happiness to myself and must share it with others. Exceptional wages offered: the right person will be repaid minute by minute with happiness. Apply at once because my happiness is as fleeting as those falling stars one only sees after they have fallen; I need this man or woman before dusk because once night falls no one can help me and it is much too late. Applicants must not expect any free time until the horrors and dangers of Sunday have passed. Anyone who is sad may also apply because the happiness promised is so great that it must be shared before disaster strikes. ... There is also a house on offer, all lit up as if a ball were being held. The successful applicant will be allowed full use of the pantry, the kitchen, and sitting room...'"

Monday, November 22, 2010


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maybe "the one for" Lorine's "me" flattened his pay-check against this Walt Whitman poem:


For him I sing,
I raise the present on the past,
(As some perennial tree out of its roots, the present on the past,)
With time and space I him dilate and fuse the immortal laws,
To make himself by them the law unto himself.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jenny Penberthy posted a selection of Lorine Niedecker poems on SUNY Buffalo's EPC site. This is one of them:

I knew a clean man
but he was not for me.
Now I sew green aprons
over covered seats. He

wades the muddy water fishing,
falls in, dries his last pay-check
in the sun, smooths it out
in Leaves of Grass. He's
the one for me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Someone replaced the flowers -- with dead ones. More dead flowers. But they were dead when I bought them. A fish still cooks when you take it out of the oven.

I have new books. Two of them. New as in recently published. In English. David Homel's 2010 translation of Dany Laferriere's I Am a Japanese Writer. Or: Je suis un écrivain japonais (2008) by Dany Laferriere, translated into English by David Homel.

Laferriere's best known book is How To Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired (1985). Or: Comment faire l'amour avec un nègre sans se fatiguer. Which is close.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Awoke in a panic after having dreamt that a week had passed and I had forgotten about Rosa. Threw on my jogging clothes and went downstairs to check on her, fourteen hours after I had last let her out.

Rosa reminds me a lot of our old dog, Lulu. Like Lulu, Rosa is part whippet, and that was most apparent this morning in the way whippets come out of their dormant curl, a leg at a time, stretching, vibrating. Watching this I thought of Lulu, but also the monster in Alien.

Lisa was curious to know if Rosa would behave for me while I took her on my morning run. She did.

Below is a second excerpt from Lisa's instructional email:

Apart from rat poison, this is what she eats. Apple cores. The skin from baked squash and yams. The oil from canned fish. Leftovers. Broccoli stems. Two meals a day. One after her morning walk, if she is going to run off-leash at the park. Before the walk is ok if she's not going for a run, just a leash walk (she just shouldn't exercise vigorously on a full stomach).

The meal consists of half a package of the frozen raw dog meat concoction (thawed of course) and a good cup of rice. I'll cook a pot of rice so it's set to go, and leave you extra rice so there's more if you run out. She digests white better than brown. At supper time (5 or 6PM) a second meal. More rice, and a chunk of chicken (the bones are part of her diet, but raw only, never cooked bones!) If the chicken runs out, an egg on her rice. The dinner meal is a little smaller. She would eat absolutely continuously but it's best for her joints if she stays slim.

I'll get her some more treats. I give her a few a day-- like when I get home from an outing, or whenever she is particularly cute. Never leave treats in a coat pocket. She will chew through the coat to get them. In fact, after she chewed through a lovely new pendleton plaid jacket. I never put treats in any pocket any more, and just give them to her at home. Along those lines, keep your pantry door shut. I could imagine her getting into a bag of flour or something, and wrecking your afternoon schedule. She was once a street dog in Poitiers, and foraged for a living, and she has lost none of the impulse. I'll get her some gnawing treats, to keep her busy.

I'm sure you know that dogs can't ever eat chocolate, or any human painkiller.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Up early this morning, 7AM PST, eager to run off what remained of the Banff Centre’s food and booze menu. Lisa’s flight was at noon, so I would have ample time to get her to the airport and ask her a few more questions about Rosa’s needs.

Complicating things was Lisa’s Monday email: Rosa had ingested some bacon-flavoured poison laid out by a neighbour who has rats.

I like Lisa’s description:

I was alerted to this deed by the appearance of an emerald green poo. The poison makers dye the bait so that dog owners will know it's time for the antidote-- Vitamin K1, which causes the blood to clot. The poison works by blocking K1 production in the liver, for as long as 6 weeks, so the blood can't clot. Then the animal bleeds to death internally. Nice. So Rosa, after two days at two vets, has been thoroughly monitored, and has received monster shots of K. Apart from the poo, there were no symptoms, so I caught this early enough to prevent any hemorrhage, and she will be just fine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Left the Banff Centre on the 12:30PM shuttle bus for the 4:10PM flight to Vancouver, which we made, arriving home just before six.

Still numb from the endless panel talks and keynote speeches, not to mention the social activities that go with them. (How is it that curators are expert at working with spaces, yet when it comes to presentations, and the temporal walls they have been asked to abide by, they go over?)

As I said last week, I will be posting on the Banff conference at Lemon Hound, but right now it is all I can do to stay awake and wait for Lisa to return so we can finish my workshop on how to look after her dog, Rosa, while Lisa is back east.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Banff conference continues...

(Cindy Walker)

In the blue Canadian Rockies
Spring is sighing through the trees
And the golden poppies are bloomin'
Round the banks of Lake Louise
Across the sea they call me
And I'm lonesome and so blue
For the Blue Canadian Rockies
And the girl I love so true

In the blue Canadian Rockies
Spring is sighing through the trees
And the golden poppies are bloomin'
Round the banks of Lake Louise
Across the sea they call me
And I'm lonesome and so blue
For the Blue Canadian Rockies
And the girl I loved so true.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Friday, November 12, 2010

Clear skies as we descended into Calgary. A familiar sight: sprawling homes set against a faded doormat of lawns and fields, then the runway.

The last time I was at the Banff Centre for the Arts was in 2008, a guest of the artist Janice Kerbel, who led a science fictive residency here. Studio visits, then my talk, which began with an assigned essay (a chapter from Jacques Larrain’s 1979 book Marxism & Ideology) paired with a screening of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).

At the time, the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation had only just broke ground; now it is bulging with libraries and meeting rooms, and the Maclab Bistro on the main floor. That they chose to deposit this four-storey square at the circular centre of the Centre’s expansive middle is unfortunate. (A public space I miss entering, either on my way to a meal or to join in on a conversation.)

When I mentioned this to one of the administrators, I was assured that the space was only being “moved” -- in this instance, to the site of the old dining hall and tuck shop, where the mountain view (Nature) is even more spectacular.

Nature versus Culture has long been a battle in this country, one that is clearly not lost on the Banff Centre. But this is the new Banff, a place devoted as much to 12-tone scales and comma splices as “Mountain Culture” -- a Centre in its own right.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Writing from Gate C-50 at YVR, awaiting flight AC210 to Calgary. A 78 minute hop followed by a slightly longer shuttle bus to the Banff Centre, where I have been invited to participate in the Are Curators Unprofessional? conference.

Banff changes with every visit, especially the Centre’s dining hall, the ever decreasing ratio of artists to corporate employees, whose company’s have sent them there for conferences of their own. Did I read recently (e-Flux?) about a conference about conferences?

Sina Queryas has invited me to post on her Lemon Hound blog, so next week I will begin with a report on the catalogue writing panel I have been asked to moderate.

Catalogue writing is something Vancouver poets have always engaged in, writers such as Peter Culley, Jeff Derksen and Lisa Robertson. Not (only) for money, as Clint Burnham suggested at the Vancouver Art & Economies talks some years back, but because many of the country’s literary journals (Malahat Review, Prism International, Prairie Fire, Descant, the Fiddlehead, etc.) were not interested in the critical writing – on any topic – of poets for whom language itself is as ideologically saturated as the landscape Margaret Atwood charted in her 1972 book Survival: A Thematic Guide To Canadian Literature.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There are two catchy songs on Sonny & the Sunsets' Tomorrow Is Alright (Fat Possum, 2010): the first track, "Too Young To Burn", and the second track, "Death Cream" (see lyrics below). The rest of the album has yet to settle in, though from what I have listened to so far, the songs tend more towards a Jonathan Richmond kitchen party than Doug Yule standing in for Lou Reed.

(Sonny Smith)

And I find a strange tube
On the seat of my car
Full of cream
So I put it on my arm
And I went downtown
All the way downtown
And I took my tube
And I spread it all around
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream

And I went to your house
Saw your mother on the porch
She says, Hand me my wig, Boy
My head is kinda sore
And I didn’t say nothing
Nothing more was said
But I gave her some cream
For her head instead
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream

And I see your sister
She says, What’s new?
So I showed her my tube
She says, Woo-hoo
Well I tried to leave
She wouldn’t let me leave
I said, You’ve got to take a squeeze
You’ve got to see the cream
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream

And I got to her room
We were eating pills and drinking booze
You said, What’s new?
So I showed you my tube
And I put it on you
And you put it on me
When they found our bodies
All they said was Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream
D-D-D-Death Cream

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It is so violent out there, the rain just tearing at the leaves.

Someone in a pink slicker running down the alley yelling “Nelson, Nelson…”

(Nelson was the name of our second dog, an English Springer Spaniel.)

I have meetings this afternoon that require me to leave the house.

It is so violent out there!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A day of errands.

I needed to see The Bitter Ash (1963) again, as well as check on the availability of two other films for my contribution to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s February 2011 We: Vancouver exhibition, so off I went to Videomatica, where I was told that both That Cold Day In the Park (1968) and Skip Tracer (1977) are unavailable, but we have The Bitter Ash, Mr Turner, plus your membership has expired.

Since I was in the area I walked the two blocks west to see what was happening at the newly-opened Sitka Books & Art, curious about the art part, and whether they had a copy of the new Keith Richards auto, Life. As for the art, I asked the clerk where it was and he pointed to a small window display, “courtesy” of the Craft Council of B.C. Yikes! If they want to make an art statement, replace the knick knacks with Linda J. Barry.

While walking back to my car I spied a couple of Zulu Records employees staring dispassionately out the window, their faces dead to everything but their own impeccable taste. Rising to the challenge, I walked across the street, eventually settling into their Top-Ten listening post. There, I sampled new music by Brian Eno, Kathryn Calder, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, before deciding on two discs, the first by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (Before Today), the second by my new favorite band, Sonny & the Sunsets (Tomorrow Is Alright).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Contemporary Art Gallery held their annual dinner/auction last night, their 39th for those counting. As in recent years, the event was held at Vancouver’s version of the Overlook Hotel, the Vancouver Club, where the dining room’s Doric columns have been painted the colour of tree bark and the club’s paintings look like inferior versions of their equally inferior referents. Or maybe it’s the lighting, as my tablemate Cathy Sousloff pointed out.

There are twenty tables in the VC dining room, each supporting ten seatings. Our table was “purchased” by long time arts patron and builder Rick Erickson, who could not make it but wanted us to have a good time. Which we did, I think, Attila grabbing the Etch-A-Sketch that held our table number, turning the 4 into what the more apologetic of us were calling a “svastika” (from the Sanskrit), as opposed to what Cathy saw.

An endive salad was followed by the vegetarian option (risotto), and then suddenly the "live" auction. Nothing outstanding from where I sat (not that I could afford to feel otherwise). The "silent" auction was more to my liking. I entered bids on an out-of-focus Trips Festival poster and a Khan Lee sculpture, but these were not maintained. Artist/educator Yunhee Min, who quietly teaches at Emily Carr University when not being an L.A. artist, contributed an energetic bit of 2D colour and form. Had I the night to sleep on it, I might have bid harder.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thank you to everyone who came out to Write to the City: Adventures in Social Writing at the Brickhouse on Thursday, and a special thanks to those to who, after each exercise, read their work aloud. For those who wanted a copy of the evening's exercises, here is what Elee and I drew up:

1. Illôt-Mollo

A dadaist exercise from the literary salons of the 1920s and 30s. Begin writing. Do not stop, even if you have to repeat the same word until you can think of a new one. Every thirty seconds someone will call out a word they have written and each writer must incorporate that word into their next sentence. The calling out of words will flow in order around the room. For example, if you have just written, “I made my way downstairs and tripped on the rug…” and the word “mermaid” is called out, you might continue, “…and landed on a mermaid.”

The exercise will begin with: “If Vancouver…”

2. Acrostic Acronym poem

Using the four letter acronyms lifted from Your Welfare Rights: A Guide to BC Employment and Assistance create a four-line poem, each line beginning with one of the letters. Or, if another acronym comes to mind, use that.

CIHR Child in the Home of a Relative
MHSD Ministry of Housing and Social Development
PLMS Prevention and Loss Management Services Branch
PPMB Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers
RDSP Registered Disability Savings Plan
RESP Registered Education Savings Plan

3. Directions

Using directions, write about the metaphysical trip, “from here to eternity,” “hand to mouth,” etc. Or use other oppositions (black to white, richer to poorer) and describe how to travel from one to the other.


4. Phone Number Poem

Some poetry forms, like haiku and tanka, invite the writer to come up with a specific number of syllables for each line of a poem. We’ll use Vancouver’s by-law fines phone number to determine how many words each line of your poem requires. For example, if the phone number is 555-1212, your poem will have three lines with five words on each, followed by four lines that have a one followed by two words on the next line, etc.

The By-law Fines telephone number is 873-7642.

5. 3D Narrative

Link the three objects on display in a narrative.

1) measuring tape
2) jaywalking ticket
3) BandAid

Friday, November 5, 2010

According to Wikipedia:

Butterfly is a 1982 film directed by Matt Cimber, based on the 1947 novel The Butterfly by James M. Cain. The starring cast includes Stacy Keach, Pia Zadora, Ed McMahon, and Orson Welles. The original music score was composed by Ennio Morricone. The film was financed by Pia Zadora's husband, Israeli multimillionaire Meshulam Riklis, at an estimated cost of US$2,000,000.

The movie was almost universally panned by film critics. The film received 8 nominations for the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards, with Pia Zadora winning "Worst Actress" and "Worst New Star", and Ed McMahon winning "Worst Supporting Actor". Nevertheless, Pia Zadora won "Best Female Newcomer" at the Golden Globes for her role, over Elizabeth McGovern and Kathleen Turner. This occurred after her husband flew members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to Las Vegas to watch Pia sing, producing accusations that the award had been "bought".

This English language movie was filmed in color and ran for 108 minutes. It received a MPAA rating of R.

Plot summary:

In 1937, Jess Tyler is a desert hermit who has spent years guarding an abandoned silver mine in Goodsprings, Nevada. Suddenly, Jess is confronted by his very grown-up and sexy daughter Kady, who had been taken away from him at her birth by his wife, Belle. Kady, it so happens, has not come home for a family reunion - she has just been dumped by a rich young man who is the father of her illegitimate child Danny, and whose family owns the very silver mine that Jess is guarding.

Kady hopes to use her feminine wiles to seduce Jess and reopen the mine and extract the money from the earth that she feels is due her from the family. As if his seductive daughter walking around bare-breasted in front of him is not enough, Jess must also deal with the sudden return of his older daughter, Janey, who appears with Kady's son; Belle, who comes back to Jess dying of tuberculosis; and Moke Blue, the man who stole Belle away from Jess years ago. Also squeezing his way into Jess's shack is Wash Gillespie, the father of Kady's child, who now wants to marry her.

Main cast:

Stacy Keach - Jess Tyler
Pia Zadora - Kady Tyler
Orson Welles - Judge Ranch
Lois Nettleton - Belle Morgan
Edward Albert - Wash Gillespie
James Franciscus - Moke Blue
Stuart Whitman - Reverend Rivers
June Lockhart - Mrs. Helen Gillespie
Ed McMahon - Mr. Gillespie
Paul Hampton - Norton
George Buck Flower - Ed
Dylan Urquidi - Baby Danny

Thursday, November 4, 2010

As my father used to say, “There’s nothing worse than yesterday’s newspaper.” But I can think of something: yesterday’s Metro newspaper.

In his “Just sayin’” column, Paul Sullivan devotes 400 words to the “Phenomenon of ‘fake’ celebrities.” Under that: “Who is Kim Kardashian and why is she famous?”

From there the reader is taken on a tour of Kardashian’s life, beginning with her ubiquity, the Rolls Royce she bought on her 30th birthday, the fragrances she endorses, until the columnist “decide[s] to find out who she is and what she is famous for.”

In the following paragraph, he writes: “ After extensive research, I can report with some authority: Nothing. Kim Kardashian is famous for nothing.”

And that’s a bad thing? Or more to point: Is this so unexpected in an age where publicity has supplanted critique? Where in-depth news reportage (“extensive research”?) is largely a thing of the past?

What drives Sullivan’s incredulity, aside from journalism’s addiction to polemic, is news that Kardashian wants to record an album. Has he heard her sing? No. At least not that he lets on. But that doesn’t stop him from writing: “There’s no talent for acting or singing.”

Why is Sullivan so down on Kim Kardashian? What has she ever done to him? One thing she has done is allow the columnist to reveal himself to be someone who does not care about anything other than generating a polemic.

For years now we have had people whose medium is the media itself (when I was a teenager it was Pia Zadora). What Sullivan is not communicating in his column (at least not directly) is how the media is being turned inside-out, from an ostensibly objective profession, one that delivers the news and brings cultural achievement to the fore, to something an artist like Kardashian can make meaning with.

So yes, the media is the medium, like pencils and pens, paint, cameras, computers and (thank you, Kim Kardashian and Paul Sullivan) performance.

Maybe this is something Sullivan might make meaning with as well. Or at least accept as his collaborative role. Anything less is just hatred.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Below is the press release for an evening of social writing devised by myself and Thursdays Writing Collective's Elee Kraljii Gardiner. Please come. Elee and I will be supplying the prompts, as well as the paper and pens.


Write to the City: Adventures in Social Writing
Thursdays Writing Collective, featuring guest author Michael Turner

Date: Thursday, November 4, 2010
Time: 8:30-10pm
Place: Brickhouse Bar, 730 Main St.
Entry: Free

Numbers, acronyms, forms: how can we repurpose these constraints and social controls into an act of creative liberation? In 90 minutes of writing prompts, pencil-chewing and laughter we will push the phrases and numbers that determine how we navigate Vancouver into a creative realm.

The evening, held in a community atmosphere at the Brickhouse Bar, will question the right to move freely through the city and explore the barriers we have come to accept. Do we recognize to what extent we are determined by constraints, architecture and the urban plan? How can we leverage restrictive regulations to open creative discovery and change the way we experience civic space? Pencils and paper will be supplied and participants will have the opportunity to share their writing.

Michael Turner is a Vancouver-based author of fiction, criticism and song. His books include Hard Core Logo, The Pornographer¹s Poem and most recently 8×10.

Thursdays Writing Collective, directed by Elee Kraljii Gardiner, has been called, “the biggest, boldest, and by far the most vital conspiracy of writers operating in Vancouver at present,” by Geist magazine. TWC meets at Carnegie Community Centre every Thursday for drop-in creative writing sessions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From the Caramilk Wikipedia site:

Cadbury Caramilk is a caramel-filled chocolate bar made by Cadbury Adams in Canada. It was first sold in 1968.

Variations available, some of them limited editions, include Caramilk made with dark chocolate maple, chocolate, or cappuccino. "Chunky" (thicker) versions called Caramilk "Thick" and cylindrical versions called "Caramilk Rolls" (similar to Rolo) have also been introduced.

One of the advertising campaigns for Caramilk bars revolved around the question of how the centre of the confection was put into the chocolate exterior. This theme led to the production of more than 15 separate television advertisements since the candy was introduced, making the series one of the most productive advertising efforts in Canadian history. The `Caramilk Secret`ad campaign was conceived by Gary Prouk when he was at Doyle Dane Bernbach. When Prouk left DDB to join Scali McCabe Sloves, the Cadbury account went with him. One notable advertisement involved two conehead aliens who were complimenting each other on creating some of earth`s long-standing works of wonder (e.g.- the pyramids, etc).

Another ad, featuring Leonardo da Vinci drawing the Mona Lisa as she eats a Caramilk has won a Clio award.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hallowe’en was a last minute affair this year.

On Sunday afternoon I purchased a smaller-than-average pumpkin to go with the three 50-piece boxes of inch-long chocolate bars acquired at the drugstore the day before, a format that included the Caramilk (reduced to two sections), the Wunderbar (note diversity’s German spelling), the Crispy Crunch and the oxymoronic Mr Big.

While last year’s pumpkin featured the Mandarin character for “evil” (well-received by my Chinese neighbours), this year’s face was all of eight cuts: three for each eye and two for the grin.

No sooner had I placed the candle inside, when night fell. Sadly, it was a good hour before my first trick-or-treaters, not that it picked up much after that. Not sure how many times I peeked outside to check on the candle.

At 8:30 PM, an hour after my last caller (a three-year-old Vietnamese princess wrapped in her father’s down jacket), I counted the candy and saw that I had over a hundred pieces left, making this my quietest Hallowe’en, ever. At least for trick-or-treaters.

Things were not so quiet after 9 PM, when I went for my evening stroll. Whereas in past years I heard a firework every three minutes, last night’s action was non-stop. Not quite the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, but close. Never before have I heard such thunderous explosions. And those whistling things. I found those particularly annoying.

As I awoke this morning the radio was reporting on how out-of-hand things were, with numerous instances of fireworks being shot through schoolhouse mail slots. But the one story that blew my mind was the building fire at the 1400 block of Venables: the same florist/firework shop I mentioned in yesterday’s post!