Just read THIS on Bookninja this morning, stating that Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran is declining to participate in the Cultural Olympiad, mostly [if I understand his argument] because it is only paying lip-service to Canadian writers.
Yay for Brad Cran! I love a poet who sticks to his metaphorical guns. But Mr. Cran WILL be appearing at the W2 Real Vancouver Writers series finale on February 24h, and I look forward to meeting him there. [I'll be reading there, too, that night...] This event is, in fact, antithetical to all things commercial, and is the best way I can think of to spend that 5 bucks that is burning a hole in your pocket.
Speaking of W2, I went to the second event [of four] last night. It was held at 112 West Hastings on the downtown east side, and the place was HAPPENING, man.
[That's the big W, floating in the dark above the new building.] From a distance, the new site looks as though it is on fire, with projected images of flames dancing in the windows.
Now, as I understand it, the W2 facility is not quite ready yet, so for now, this series of events is being held across the street from the not-quite-finished Woodwards building. Behind a corrugated metal door, just down the block from Victory Square -- it is a hyper-cool venue, and there was a selection of readers last night that more than did the venue justice.
I was invited to participate by the effervescent Sean Cranbury, whom you can see orchestrating things in the picture above. I'm actually quite, quite thrilled with this shot, as it shows Sean doing his thing on stage, the screen to one side reflecting photos of the downtown east side [taken by Emmanuel Buenviajje] from a book called 'Vancouver Special' by Charles Demers AND the guys working upstairs in the booth to live-stream and tape the readings. kc rocks the meta-media photo...!!
This is Charles, who co-hosted the evening, making a sock puppet hand, just to show that young writers don't discriminate against low-tech, either.
It was a great evening, with loads of amazing talent. The line-up included: Kevin Chong, Jen Sookfong Lee, Ian Weir, Chris Walter, Peter Darbyshire, Jenn Farrell, Jane Sayers, Shay Wilson, Larissa Lai, Anne Stone.
I particularly enjoyed hearing Jen Sookfong Lee [whom it was nice to put a face to, after hearing her so often on CBC]. Here's a shot of Jen, followed by shots of Chris Walter and Ian Weir. [For more pix, check out my Flickr page.]
All the writers gave wonderful readings -- and Sean has rassled up a bunch of raffle prizes, to add to the fun. There was even a bar in the back.
So, if you're hanging around Vancouver in the next couple of weeks, and if you feel like raising a fist of protest in the air to all the commercial elements of the Olympic Games, there's no better way to do it then to come on out to these W2 Real Vancouver Writer events.
I'll be there, as promised, on February 24th, along with Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Steven Galloway, Timothy Taylor, Rhonda Waterfall, Yarnbombers Leann Prain and Mandy Moore, Weldon Hunter, McKinley M Hellenes, Alex Leslie, Leilah Nadir, Caroline Adderson, Brad Cran, and ably hosted by the marvellous Hal Wake.
With a line-up like that -- I'd suggest arriving early. It was standing room only, last night.