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Last night, I attended the Fugue launch party… and didn’t last long. In a fully-lit room at the library, with no cash bar, and a rows-of-chairs-facing-the-podium setup, here’s what happened, as it happened:

Am at literary launch party. Am grossed out by couple two rows in front of me. A man is rubbing his girlfriend’s back with one hand. She is wearing one of those shirts that close with a clasp at her neck, revealing a teardrop-shaped outline of skin on her back. He started out just sort of tracing the skin inside the teardrop with a thumb. It seemed affectionate, just a little erotic. Then he was rubbing her back with his whole hand. Now the hand is going through the opening and under her shirt. Gross – we all know now you two are gettin’ it on later (and possibly just before this, too), but could you at least save the going UNDER the shirt for when you two are alone?

The guy just behind them moved seats (to avoid the spectacle?) As I write, his hand is still moving around, still moving under her shirt. I wish she’d slap him off. Gross. Even if he doesn’t actually undo that button, I’m out of here.

When I looked over again, the guy who moved seats had left the room altogether. The gropers were right in my line of sight, making it very hard to look at the reader and concentrate on hearing her story. The groping just got worse. He was fingering the clasp and straining at it with the flap of skin beween thumb and fingers (so they are opposable after all). Then the hand was reaching through the hole and rubbing her neck.

I put on my jacket and held my bag, ready to bolt the very second the reader finished reading her story. A little PDA is normal for couples who are just getting together. But if y’all can’t keep your hot little hands off each other long enough to be around other adults for awhile, just stay in bed instead of subjecting us all to the half-time show between touchdowns.

By the way, organizers of literary events, please have more readings in bars and cafes, preferably with low lighting and delicious drinkies. Aubyn, you are right on for having the launches for Memewar at the Railway. See you July 10.


The 2007 edition of Fugue, an anthology of creative non-fiction by UBC Creative Writing students, is being launched this week. I bought the 2005 edition, and it’s high-quality reading, my friends. Check it out. Here are the details of the launch event, according to the Georgia Straight:

Hear from tomorrow’s authors of travel writing, memoir, and more at the launch of the 2007 edition of Fugue, the school’s creative-nonfiction journal, on Wednesday (June 13), at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street), beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free and no registration is required; no word on whether there will be a refreshment stand. The last time I went to the party for this, they had it at the lit-friendly Crush Champagne Lounge. Good times.

The Vancouver Public Library has just announced their pick for the 2007 edition of One Book One Vancouver: My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. I read this book on a friend’s recommendation a few years ago, and I even campaigned for it as a selection for our own little book club (currently on hiatus).

My initial reaction to the news was “Isn’t it supposed be a book about Vancouver in some way?” But I’m swallowing my parochialism. Everyone should read this book. It’s a slim, funny, and occasionally unsettling novel that takes on big themes: Japan-America cross-cultural relations, violence against women, genetically modified foods, and industrial meat production.

Read the rest of this entry »

I just got word of an exciting “instant literature” event that is being presented by the Vancouver International Writers Festival. Vancouver Writes will bring together teams of eight participants with established Vancouver writers who will act as coaches. In 20-minute rounds of play, each team has to collaborate and create a piece of writing based on a given phrase. It promises to be fast-paced and competitive, qualities not normally found at most glacial-paced reading events.

The event is scheduled for February 23, 2007;
details and ticket info can be found at the VIWF website.

Brought to you by the fine folks at Memewar magazine, the Short Line Reading series starts January 9 at (my favourite bar) the Railway Club. In the words of the organizers:

The reading series is a free event where artists from different circles can connect, debate and collaborate. Representatives from other Vancouver magazines will also be in attendance. The night will include readings from up and coming writers, music by innovative Vancouver artists, and a presentation by an established guest reader.

The Short Line reading series is slated to run on the second Tuesday of each month until April. Come out, get some beer, and soak up the culture. They’ll be posting details as they become available on the Memewar forums page.

Here’s a literary contest that has always seemed doable: the Geist Magazine Literary Postcard Contest.
The gist of it: take a postcard, write a 500-word story about the picture on the front, and send it in with a cover letter and 20 bucks by December 31. In case you don’t win the top prize of $250 (that’s .50 a word for you mathemagicians), the $20 entry fee also nets you a one-year subscription to the quintessential Canadian literary magazine.
Full details are on the Geist website.
Sometimes you don’t need many words at all to tell a story with a postcard. For proof head on over to Post Secret, that crazy popular blog of postcards artfully altered to tell the deep dark secrets we all keep.

Teen Angst Poetry Nights used to be a weekly hoedown at the Montmartre Cafe. Unfortunately, attendance got a bit sparse, so Sara Bynoe condensed the schedule down to a few special events a year. Tomorrow night, she will be hosting a fabulous Teen Angst Retro Comedy Night. Here are the details:

Teen Angst: A Retro Comedy Night
Thursday November 9, 2006
Start time is 8 pm but get there early it is expecting to fill fast
The Annex – 307 W Cordorva
(across from Biz Books and Next to Dream)

An open mic comedic reading series where everyday people perform their embarrassing old journals, poems, songs, essays (and more), in front of an audience.

Part stand-up comedy, part poetry reading, part karaoke (in the way you go to watch people humiliate themselves) but 100% funny. Copycat shows are popping up all over North America, come and see the original.

Hosted by Sara Bynoe
Angst, Depression, Bad Rhyming

Me again: I’m still waiting for Bad Grad: The Musical!

I don’t know which is the bigger story today – the Democrats taking back Congress, or Britney Spears dropping about 180 lbs of white-trash fat in a hat. Go Democrats! Go Britney!
But that’s all just preamble to bring you a link with some actual literary relevance: the winners of a contest to create campaign signs for fictional characters. My favourite slogans? “Viola Swamp for Board of Education: Paid for the by the Committee to Oust Miss Nelson” and “Gregor Samsa: It’s Time for a Change!”
It’s gonna be a good day.

This one’s for my fellow inmates in Print Futures.
The City of New Westminster is looking for a Poet Laureate:

The City of New Westminster is seeking a Poet Laureate to write poetry, at the request of City Council and staff, for special occasions and events.
A Poet Laureate is responsible for reflecting the life of New Westminster by writing and reading poetry to mark and record important civic occasions. The Poet Laureate will also serve as an advocate for literacy, creative arts and act as a literary ambassador for the City.
Candidates must be current or long-standing New Westminster residents with a thorough knowledge of New Westminster ’s history and heritage. Candidates must be poets and/or writers that have received awards or other public recognition; presented poetry at public events; and have been published.
Candidates will include, as part of their submission, a cover letter and resume that details their community involvement and portfolio of work including pieces related to New Westminster ’s community life.
The Poet Laureate‘s work will be posted on City websites and become the property of the City of New Westminster.

It didn’t say anything about grammarians, however.

Marianne -- The Romantic
You’re Mariane Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility! You are the romantic youngster, also found in Jane Austen’s work as Catherine of Northanger Abbey and possibly Georgiana Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. You wander through life like Red Riding Hood in the forest, picking wildflowers and humming a happy song… and you can’t see the wolf right in front of you! Ruled by heart and not by head, you are best advised to to learn a little caution, before you are forced into a better acquaintance with the ways of the world.

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

I’m a little obsessed.

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