A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lift Studios Talks to Clive Goodinson about Pixton

Ya! My friend Clive and his cool company, Pixton: DIY Comics, is on this vidcast by mutual friend Haig Armen of Lift Studios. This is part 1.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Grand Finale of the W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series

This is the last week of the Olympics and the Grand Finale of the W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series!

So far, we’ve had 3 straight weeks of enthusiasm, great writers and standing room only crowds. If you’re interested in going, better get on it.

Here’s the details:

Date: Wednesday February 24th
Location: W2 Culture + Media House 112 West Hastings Street across from the refurbed Woodwards Building.

Doors open at 630
First Reader 710ish
Hosted by Sean Cranbury & Hal Wake

Program:

Opening Remarks: Sean Cranbury

Introducing Honoured Special Guest Michael Nichol Yahgulanaas who will showcase a video/interactive discussion about his work.

From there we will go to a streamlined line-up of 5-7 minute readings from our writers including two breaks.  Like this:

Rhonda Waterfall
Weldon Hunter
kc dyer

Break

Steven Galloway
Leilah Nadir
Alex Leslie
Caroline Adderson

Break

Leanne Prain & Mandy Moore aka The Yarn Bombers
McKinley M Hellenes
Timothy Taylor
Brad Cran

Here’s a great video from week 2 about the series: http://realvancouverwriters.com/2010/02/19/cool-video-about-w2-real-vancouver-writers-series/

Plus, Sean says, “we will be giving away some amazing prizes during the evening.  There’s a cash bar, too and great art and photography on the walls.”

(Thanks for the email update Sean!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Review: The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman

Andrew Kaufman is one of my favourite writers, even though he’s only written one book, All My Friends Are Superheroes. But that changes this month with the publication of his second book, a novel called The Waterproof Bible—and I’m meaning that what’s changed in the number of books published, not my fandom.

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The Waterproof Bible backcover has one of those descriptions that either impresses you or frightens you.

A magical story of love and the isolation that defines the modern condition - Andrew Kaufman pulls off the near impossible and creates a wholly original allegorical tale that is both emotionally resonant and outlandishly fun.

Rebecca Reynolds is a young woman with a most unusual and inconvenient problem: no matter how hard she tries, she can’t stop her emotions from escaping her body and entering the world around her. Luckily she’s developed a nifty way to trap and store her powerful emotions in personal objects - but how many shoeboxes can a girl fill before she feels crushed by her past?

Three events force Rebecca to change her ways: the unannounced departure of her husband, Stewart; the sudden death of Lisa, her musician sister; and, while on her way to Lisa’s funeral, a near-crash with what appears to be a giant frogwoman recklessly speeding in a Honda Civic.

Meanwhile, Lisa’s inconsolable husband skips the funeral and flies to Winnipeg where he begins a bizarre journey that strips him of everything before he can begin to see a way through his grief… all with the help of a woman who calls herself God.

What the hell, right?

This is a book about what we think about before we die: who has a score to settle, who needs to say farewell, who needs forgiveness, who needs forgetfulness. In the case of The Waterproof Bible the characters are all tied in some way to the death of Lisa.

Lisa’s husband Lewis needs to deal with his grief through flight. Flight in a twofold way in that he chooses flight vs. fight and flight as in he jumps on an airplane to get far away. Far away from himself, I believe.

Lisa’s sister Rebecca has so much emotion that she doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s a woman with a lot of baggage. As she physically and metaphorically lets go, she’s able to come to terms with herself. 

Lisa’s brother-in-law Stewart is estranged from Rebecca and is living somewhere in the middle of the Prairies, where he’s building a boat. Landlocked and oh so misguided, or so it seems.

Margaret and Aby are two Aquatics whose lives intersect with the other three. Aquatics are those who are meant to live underwater, according to the laws of the Aquatic Bible. But Margaret has chosen another path, much to the chagrin of her daughter Aby who, in making her way to her mother’s home on the Prairies, has a run-in (in the literal sense) with Rebecca and Lewis. Oh and Margaret runs the hotel where Stewart works and is building the boat.

I know it’s all bizarre, but truly, this is my favourite book of 2010.

Kaufman writes literary fantasy the way that Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes magical realism. Where indeed is the line? The Waterproof Bible is a crazy, magical story of love—the beginning, middle and end—and life—the beginning, middle and end. I loved it.

Andrew Kaufman’s writing is completely sensible, even with the greenskined Aquatics floating around on the Prairies. Andrew, thank you so very much for giving us a second book that rivals the first. It’s lovely and brilliant.

I hardly even re-read books, but this one is back in the nightstand pile.


The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman
Published by Random House in ebook and hardcover on Feb 23, 2010.

Thank you for the advance copy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Here they come

I am so excited. The anticipation of the Opening Ceremonies is bubbling up inside me. I am truly a bandwagon supporter when it comes to sports. I care about the winners and the big games. During playoffs and tournaments, I get excited, I follow along, I love the connection to something bigger. The Olympics is the pinnacle of that, in particular the Vancouver Olympics since they are hosted by my city.

Today I saw the torch run by my office. I’ve spent years watching the Athlete’s Village build up around the office. I have helicopters buzzing above my home. I don’t care! I know intellectually I don’t like the politics and moving homeless people out of the downtown and the commercialism of the sponsorship, but emotionally I’m totally hooked right now. I am thrilled to invite people to my city. I am smiling a broad smile. Everything about this moment is contagious.

I believe! Go Canada Go! And whatever other sayings have been drilled into my head. Let’s do it! Higher, faster, further ...

Electricity is in the air. Good luck to all the athletes. If I’m this pumped, I can only imagine a quarter of their excitement.


(This post is in memory of Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili who was killed today in Whistler during a training session. May his spirit fly on.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Design Your Own Light Show with Vectorial Elevation

Last night, the Vectorial Elevation light show was so distracting that I almost tripped walking home from dinner with my mom. Vectorial Elevation let’s people create their own light show online and then it puts each light show into the playlist so people can watch it in real life. I think this is an awesome example of digital life and real life holding hands.

The series of 10,000-watt robotic searchlights are set up along Vanier Park and Sunset Beach and are super strong. The searchlights that make up the show are visible as far as Richmond and the peaks of Grouse and Cypress.

Montreal-based artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer created the show and it’s played in Dublin, Mexico City, and Lyon.  This is the first time it’s been in Canada.

Using a three-dimensional interface with Google Earth, VectorialVancouver.net lets you design your huge light sculptures by directing the 20 robotic searchlights. A web page is made for each participant with photos of their design from four cameras located around the city. It runs until February 28.

PARTICIPATE: Create your own light sculpture online

WATCH: See the light designs in real time.

Ok, I’m going to make mine now!