Monthly Archives: September 2009

How Unfortunate – Surly Server – Need New Office Perhaps?

The new server at The Wired Monk is sullen and unfriendly. At first I thought that he didn’t like me, but upon closer observation, I realize he doesn’t like anyone. I think if he cracked a smile, it might be a first for him. I am tempted to take a picture of him, but I won’t – this isn’t about outing a grouch, rather it is about the necessity of finding a new “office” with great coffee, good food and respectful people.
I notice this morning that there aren’t as many customers in here as is the norm. Could it be Mr. Grump has scared them all away?
The problem is, it’s hard to create when the mood is down…I spend lots of money here, too.
My coffee and breakfast have arrived. For a test I looked him right in the eyes and beamed a big thank you…
No response. Maybe he is a zombie?
Back to work…

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Word on the Street, Vancouver a Big Success

I spent the whole day at WOT, Vancouver. I heard Ivan Coyote tell two stories in the way that only she can – poignant, gut-splitting funny and never boring. I listened to some of the kids from the Canadian Book Camp read/recite/rap and was blown away by their talent and passion for the written word. Suite was represented by Colin and Lima and I’m sure we’ll be welcoming some fabulous new writers from the west coast. I had the opportunity to chat with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s British Columbia Rep (and got a hard copy of the Best Books For Kids and Teens Mag with Perfect Cut listed) as well as join in the Philosopher’s Cafe with Sam Sullivan.

I started the day with a delicious breakfast with my friends at Medina Cafe and if you haven’t eaten there and live in Vancouver, than you really should. I had this:
Les Boulettes
Soft boiled egg, chickpea salad, baba ganoush, 2 poached eggs, spicy Moroccan meatballs, cilantro, yogurt, cucumber. Grilled Foccacia
OMG, what a great hit of taste and protein first thing in the morning.
I ended the day sipping Pinot Gris with my friend Joy.
One of the reasons I love Sept and Oct so much is WOTS, Writer’s Fest and Film Fest! Not only am I in my element at all three of these events, but I leave each one feeling inspired to keep on creating.
Tonight I am tired, but tomorrow I will awake refreshed and ready to write.


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Martha Eleen – Distant Early Warning at The Loop

Martha Eleen
Distant Early Warning
October 3 – 25, 2009
Reception: Saturday, October 3, 2009, 2-5 PM

loop Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition by loop member Martha Eleen entitled
Distant Early Warning.

Distant Early Warning is a portrait of an Arctic village. In Tuktoyaktuk, the Inuvialuit people still live close to the land and their history is embedded in the landscape. The title is borrowed from the iconic local DEW line, a radar system set up during the Cold War. The Arctic has become a sort of environmental ‘canary in the tunnel ‘ as the melting ice reveals a wealth of new resources to exploit, and the resulting pollution threatens this delicate eco-system.

The exhibition includes Eleen’s current work in progress, The Necessities of Life. These paintings explore the signage of the big box mall, the fourth series in an ongoing investigation into suburban sprawl outside Toronto ( Into the 905: The View From the Car, 2002-2005, Peace Village 2006, High Tech Road 2007) which depicts an environment based on the unsustainable, and already collapsing, car culture, where nature is suppressed and destroyed as opposed to nature treasured. The language of the big box mall signage is an expression of our denial of the impending global ecological crisis.

For Eleen, painting is a procession of intensities. What might reasonably be seen as banal generates, instead, a vividness of response that lifts her small paintings into the realm of the uncanny.
– Gary Michael Dault, Electrifying the bleakest of landscapes, Globe and Mail, Jan. 10, 2009

High Tech Road is on view at the St. Thomas- Elgin Public Art Centre Sept. 12 – Oct 30, 2009.

loop Gallery
1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M6J 1X8 (3 doors west of Dovercourt).
Gallery Hours: Wed – Sat 1 to 5 pm, and Sun 1 to 4pm. Artist is in attendance on Sundays and for the reception.
For more information please contact the gallery director at 416-516-2581 or

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Online Petition: Murdered and Missing Women

A petition and campaign has been initiated by the DTES Power of Women
group against the City of Vancouver, VANOC, RCMP, and VPD in their
attempts to change next year’s historic and sacred Feb 14 March for
Murdered and Missing Women in order to ensure ‘flow of Olympic traffic’
down Hastings Street.

The Power of Women group is based in the DTES neighbourhood and its
membership is composed entirely of women living in poverty who have
experienced and survived sexual violence and mental, physical, spiritual,
and emotional abuse.

Please sign the online petition

Text of petition:

It has been brought to our attention that the City of Vancouver, Olympic
officials, and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit are trying to
change the historic Feb 14, 2010, March for Murdered and Missing Women in
order to ensure ‘flow of Olympic traffic’ down Hastings Street.

As residents of the DTES and supporters of the Memorial March, we
completely oppose any change in date, time, or route of the Memorial
March. This March has been happening for 18 years to honour our sisters
who die each year due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual abuse. It is something far more significant and sacred than the
Olympic Games, which has already increased poverty, homelessness, and
policing in our neighbourhood. The government is spending billions on a
circus, while putting people aside.

We, the women in the Downtown Eastside and our supporters, demand that:
. There be no attempts to change or control our Feb 14th Memorial March
. Not a single person be forcibly removed, evicted, or displaced from
their homes in the Downtown Eastside and any other community due to the

For more information or to obtain hard copies of the petition for your
organization, contact or call 604 681 8480 x 234.

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Pi Theatre’s 2009-2010 Season – I love this place!

OMG – After the Quake!!

Vancouver, BC – Pi Theatre Productions is please to announce its 25th Anniversary Season of dynamic, provocative and entertaining theatre experiences, expanding how you view yourself and your place in the world. Pi Theatre kicks off the season with the Canadian premiere of after the quake, co-produced with Rumble Productions, November 19-December 5, 2009 at Studio 16. Then, Pi co-presents HIVE 3 with Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, March 11-20, at the Centre for Digital Media.

Artistic Director Richard Wolfe says “I’m extremely pleased to welcome everyone to a monumental milestone in the history of our company. 2009-2010 marks 25 years of vibrant and vital performances driven by stellar playwrights. This 25th anniversary season celebrates the spirit of our times with relentless style and passion. Come join us for the party, all season long.”

From the novel after the quake by Haruki Murakami
Adapted for the stage by Frank Galati
Directed by Craig Hall and Richard Wolfe
Featuring Manami Hara | Alessandro Juliani | Kevan Ohtsji | Tetsuro Shigematsu | Leina Dueck

November 19-December 5 (opening November 20)

Studio 16
1545 West 7th Avenue, at Granville Street

Tickets from $15 on sale now at or call 604.629.VTIX (8849).

In 1995, a disastrous earthquake hit Kobe, Japan and the Tokyo subway was hit by deadly poison gas attacks. after the quake is based on bestselling author Haruki Murakami’s stories about life in the wake of disaster.

after the quake takes its audience on a journey where magic and realism collide, in an exploration of disrupted reality. Junpei is a timid writer who enchants Sayoko, the love of his life, by conjuring up stories to soothe the anguish of her young daughter Sala, a girl who is having nightmares of the Earthquake Man. A talking bear makes the very best honey pies, and Katagiri, a bank loans officer, struggles to distinguish between what is real and what is not when six-foot Frog asks for help to fight off giant Worm for the future of Tokyo. Together, these stories explore the emotional aftershocks of disaster, and offer a message of hope and healing.

“Murakami is a genius.” -Chicago Tribune
“An offbeat, whimsical tale of frustrated love, seismic activity, and a heroic, man-size frog.” -Joel Brown,
Lighting Design by Itai Erdal | Sound Design by Yota Kobayashi | Set Design by Yvan Morissette | Costume Design by Sheila White | Stage Management by David (DK) Kerr | Production Management by James Foy

after the quake is presented as a part of the See Seven independent subscription series.

National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre, Geist Magazine, and Biz Books are proud to be community partners for this production.


Pi Theatre co-presents HIVE 3 with Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

Pi is thrilled to be participating in this year’s rendition of what has quickly become a beloved Vancouver home grown initiative, HIVE 3. Created and produced by Pi Theatre, Boca del Lupo, Electric Company, Felix Culpa, Leaky Heaven Circus, neworldtheatre, The Only Animal, Radix, Rumble Productions, Theatre Replacement, Theatre Conspiracy and Victoria’s Theatre SKAM.

In one unique venue, twelve adventurous West Coast theatre companies perform 12 distinct performance pieces in continuous rotation. The audience experience is self-directed: choose when and where to see each site-specific show, then regroup for some theatrical social networking in the central lounge space. Past HIVE events have been wildly popular affairs with stimulating work on display, music, and dancing into the night. Pi’s piece will be directed by Richard Wolfe.

March 11–14 and March 17–20

The Centre for Digital Media
577 Great Northern Way

“The buzz was right — this is the hottest ticket in town…some absolutely dazzling little displays of theatrical innovations.” Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun, review of HIVE2 2008
Tickets on sale now at or 604.629.VTIX (8849).

— divider —
Pi Theatre also invites you to attend our Open House and AGM. Thursday, October 15, 2009,5:30pm at Pi Theatre’s office in the Carousel Theatre building at 1411 Cartwright St. on Granville Island, Vancouver.

You can get or renew your membership at the door for $3.14. Membership benefits include invitations to Pi events, voting privileges at the AGM, and free tickets for the first week of our mainstage show this season to the first 20 members at the door! You can also get your membership here.
— divider —
Pi Theatre would like to acknowledge their appreciation of support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver Office of Cultural Affairs, and The Georgia Straight.

Pi Theatre’s 25th Anniversary Season of deepening intercultural dialogue through theatre. Global Thinking. Local Acting.
Please consider making a donation to support Pi Theatre. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

* Pi Theatre
* 1411 Cartwright Street
* Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
* V6H 3R7

ph 604.872.1861 | |


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Manuscript Evaluation – The Importance of Feedback

I’m feeling good this morning. As I write, ten copies of a portion of a new novel I am working on are being printed. Tonight, I will present the manuscript to a group of grade nine and tens who will act as front line critics for me. A month from now, we will meet again to discuss the positives and negatives of the story. I will also take home with me ten marked up manuscripts. I will pay close attention to their ideas. These are a thoughtful, intelligent group of kids and I am eternally grateful for this opportunity.

I had hoped to be much farther along in the manuscript but due to the fall from the horse in PEI, everything in my life, including my writing was stalled for a couple of months. I considered putting the whole evaluation off, but then decided that if they like the first 30,000 words I will know I am on the right track. If they don’t, it’s the perfect time for a first rewrite before continuing on.

It will be interesting to see how they respond, because I’ve played with POV, length and style. Will they find this confusing? Engaging? Will they want to keep reading?

Thank you to Christianne’s Lyceum for providing this opportunity to local writers. It is an invaluable service. I’ve been involved with the Lyceum in the past when the grade 11, 12 group picked The Perfect Cut for their book club – a very rewarding evening – and I am very excited about what they’ll have to say about this as yet un-named work.

Also worth mentioning, The Lyceum provides writer’s workshops for all ages and year round.

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Polar Expressions Writing Contest

Suite writer Thomas Alan Gray has provided some great information about a Free (yes I did say free) writing contest for Canadian authors. The competition is open to older teens and adult poets and fiction writers.
If you are interested check out Alan’s article Polar Expressions Short Story and Poetry Contest.
Entering legitimate contests is a great way for emerging writers to get published and this one won’t cost you any money!


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New Network for Writers – Pen and Palette

Dulcinea Norton-Smith is one of suite’s many talented writers that I’ve been lucky to work with over the past three years. Recently she has launched a really great website for emerging writers. It’s called Pen & Palette and it’s really worth dropping in. There is information on jobs, writing tips, support for writers and much more. Don’t just take it from me. Go and have a look yourself.

Dulcinea was interviewed about Pen & Palette on

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My Shoulder!!

Today I went to the doctor for a check up. I felt so discouraged because my dislocated shoulder hurts so much when I type. Well, that’s because it is broken…at least I know.
I write through the pain while listening to The Beatles on 101.1.
I hate to admit it, but I can’t actually hear the difference between the old Beatles and the remastered???
I guess I really am tone deaf.

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President Obama Speaks to Students – But You’d Like to Shut Him Up

Apologies in advance to my more sane-American neighbours – I know not all of you are paranoid, right wing conservatives who fear everything from universal health care to alien invaders, but the you have been the focus of our headlines in Canada today. Shame on you for wanting to ban your own president’s speech in schools. Shame on you for thinking that Obama’s hidden agenda is to indoctrinate your youth into Marxism…
This kind of censorship and paranoia reminds me of, dare I say it, something you might expect from fanatical Islamic groups — you know those people who you imagine are your arch enemies in the world.
News Flash: Fanatics are dangerous and crazy no matter what part of the world they live in or what their religious believes. By tyring to hush the words of your own elected head of state, you are showing a huge amount of disrespect. Besides, where were you when Bush was struggling with the English language?
Censorship, in any form is a ridiculous concept. Why don’t you let your youth read what they want to read, listen to what they want to listen to and then decide for themselves what works for them and what doesn’t.
Oh, and by the way, my 79 year old mother in law just had hip surgery. She waited only two months to go into hospital here in Vancouver where she received excellent care. She even had a private room. Nobody decided she was too old or too useless to society to undergo this operation. She wasn’t secretly subjected to euthanasia or spirited away to be experimented upon. In America, she could never have afforded to even consider hip surgery and she would have spent her “Golden Years,” wincing in pain unable to move off her sofa.
So before you totally trash uni health care, why don’t you get your facts straight.

Ah, that felt good.

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