MMXIII

10 01 2013

So it’s a new year and I have about half a dozen writing projects on the go. Some are long and some are short, but they all involve me tapping away at my laptop into the wee hours of the morning every single day. More news to come as it develops.

distro update late 2012

Distro gems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve restocked the zine rack at Depanneur Le Pick Up. Here are some of the more recent additions, including the new issue of Scam, which is a history of the first Black Flag LP, the latest issue of Maranda’s amazing Telegram, and some fantastic little books by James Kirkpatrick. Also new stuff from One Way Ticket zine, the Still Crapulent After All These Years food blog, and more! Check it out.

One of the funnest things I’ve done in the last few months is write book reviews for the daily culture website and monthly print periodical, Cult Mtl, born from the ashes of the late lamented Montreal Mirror (you can read all of my reviews here).

eva and alice munro

My co-reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As in previous years I’m including a list of some of the best books I read this year. All the books that I chose to read, outside of school and reviewing, were by women. I read very slowly and carefully this year. One of the downsides of writing so much is that there is less time for reading, so I tried to choose books that would slow my brain down and offer gifts on each page.

Here’s a partial list, in no particular order:

Inferno: A Poet’s Novel and The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art by Eileen Myles; Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness and Summer of Hate by Chris Kraus; The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America and Sister Spit: Writing, Rants, and Reminiscence from the Road  (ed.) by Michelle Tea; Orlando, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, The Voyage Out, “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” by Virginia Woolf; Strange Heaven by Lynn Coady; The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman; Dear Life by Alice Munro; Out of the Vinyl Deeps by Ellen Willis; A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence; Heroines by Kate Zambreno; Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War by Deb Olin Unferth; Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig; Aspects of the Novel by E. M. Forster; Love and the Mess We’re In by Stephen Marche; Deadly Snakes: Real Rock and Roll Tonight by J. B. Staniforth; NoMeansNo: Going Nowhere by Mark Black.

winter 2

Stay warm

 





No P. O.

11 10 2012

I closed my post office box last week. If you want to send me a letter or package, write the email address listed on my contact page and I’ll fix you up with my current mailing address.

Winter 2006

Shutting down the P. O. Box is a little bit sad. I opened it seven years ago when my living situation was up in the air. I lived on the Plateau and moved house every few months. It was nice to have my have a little cube where my mail went, and I checked it every day. I spent my teen years mail-ordering zines and records from post office boxes so it was exciting to finally have one of my own. The box was located in a dep two doors down from Barfly and the trilingual Portuguese ladies who ran it nodded to me whenever I came in.

After all those years of total chaos it’s hard to believe that I’ve  now lived on the same block in Little Italy for five years, and in the same apartment for four. The Portuguese ladies closed their dep years ago and the postal counter moved down the Main into the big chain drug store near Schwartz’s, which always stinks like brisket.

Over the past few years it’s become more of a pain to get down to the Plateau on a regular basis to pick up ever smaller piles of mail. And nowadays most zine reviews in Maximumrocknroll have email addresses instead of P. O. Box numbers. And so I finally decided to shut it down.

I’ve got a lot on my plate these days (including reviewing books for the amazing Cult MTL), but a new issue of GP is gestating quietly in a few different notebooks. Ghost Pine Fanzine is now sixteen years old, as old as I was when I started writing it.





Spring

16 05 2012

Hi. If you haven’t seen me for a while it’s because I’m living in a seaside cottage in Nova Scotia for the summer.

If you haven’t seen me for a while before that, it’s because I’ve been in graduate school for the past two years. I’m working on my last big paper now. It’s about this funny back-to-the-land magazine called the Canadian Whole Earth Almanac, which was published by the Coach House Press in Toronto in the early seventies.The Almanac was sort of like the Canuck version of the Calfornia-based Whole Earth Catalog, but also totally different. It’s been fascinating to unearth the past of the Coach House through various textual sources and a bit of hearsay. For my project I’ve also been researching Toronto’s utopian/dystopian free university Rochdale College, which has a large part to play in the creation of the Almanac.  Here are the covers of a few issues. It was these beautifully-detailed and cryptic images which first piqued my interest in the Almanac to begin with.

The Food Issue – Beavers in space!

The Shelter Issue

I’ve only be out east for three weeks and have already gone on a roadtrip with Spike to Saint John and Fredericton. New Brunswick has always been a bit of an unknown on my personal map of the country so it was nice to finally see it up close. One day we crossed the swollen Saint John River on three (!) separate cable ferries, one which had birdhouses for the swallows that follow it back and forth across the river  every morning.

Cable ferry birdhouses

In Fredericton we stayed in a haunted-feeling old university residence and the next day I explored the town, picking up some manga at Strange Adventures, acquiring a local zine at Backstreet Records, and downing a few tasters at the Picaroon’s Brewery storefront. The next day we bought a 2.5 lb. bag of fiddleheads for $5 from a teenager selling them on his front lawn outside of Woodstock and then crossed the world’s longest covered bridge at Hartland.

Longest covered bridge!

Before leaving for New Brunswick we went to the farewell barbeque/punk show for the Roberts Street Social Centre, home to the Anchor Archive Zine Library, as well as a silk screen studio, meeting space, photocopier, and other amazing community resources. They have been evicted and are currently looking for a new space to move into for June 1st.  If you are a benevolent Halifax landlord who wants to host this amazing project, or can help out in any way, now’s the time to get in touch.

Spike and I serving during our tenure as writer- and historian-in-residence at the Anchor Archive back in the day (Daniel MacDonald photo)

It’s still cold out here by the waterside, but signs of spring are all around. In one of the Almanacs I found the following quote

“Spring: Forms of life which have been gathering their forces underground now come forth. Ideas and insights which have been developing through the dark months enter the light.”

After several very busy years it’s nice to be out here on the shore, listening to the spring peepers and loons, trying to dig deep and get some work done. Sorry for being out of touch for so long. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon.

Sunset in Head of Jeddore on Saturday night





Doris and Ghost Pine ON TOUR

29 09 2011

A few months ago my old pen pal Cindy Crabb sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to read with her on the Canadian leg of her tour promoting The Encyclopedia of Doris, the second collection of her long-running zine Doris. Doris is one of the best and most influential zines of the last twenty years. I’ve been reading it regularly since 1996 and I am very excited for these events! Come on out!

Doris and Ghost Pine on tour:

Thursday, September 29: Montreal @ Le Cagibi, 7pm FREE

Saturday, October 1: Ottawa @ Venus Envy, 8pm FREE w. Jennifer Whiteford (Matilda zine)

Sunday, October 2: Guelph @ The Dragon, 7pm  $5 PWYC w. Maranda Elizabeth (Telegram Ma’am zine) and Adriana Blake * I won’t be reading at this one *

Monday, October 3: Toronto @ TRANZAC (Tiki Room), 7pm $5 PWYC (no one turned away for lack of funds) w. Tara Michelle Ziniuk, and Laura Mac





SappyTimes

9 08 2011

Have you read SappyTimes? For the past three SappyFests my pal Sean Michaels of noted mp3 blog Said the Gramophone burns the midnight oil, madly tapping on his laptop into the wee hours in order to file his daily newspaper sometime before dawn. The result is a double sided 8.5 x 11 sheet filled with keen-eyed reporting on the previous day’s music and good feelings, distributed throughout downtown Sackville, NB. It’s a fun read.

Sean Michaels reading both fact and fiction at the Sackville Legion Hall as part of the Sappy zine fair

This year Sean asked me to contribute a 150 word column every night of the festival with a 3 AM deadline and what resulted was “Jeff’s Weather Report.” Instead of predicting the weather I reported about it after the fact because no one writes about the weather after it happens unless someone dies because of it. You can read my columns here, where Sean has conveniently archived all three numbers of this year’s run of the newspaper.

Yours truly looking dorky with Motivist editors Al Barbour and Sarah Evans at the Sackville Legion

 





Friends in the East

28 07 2011

Here’s a picture of me reading at SappyFest last year. It was a tonne of fun. I’ve been asked to read again this year, sharing a bill with heavy hitters Ian Roy, Sean Michaels, Jenner Berger and Jesse Dangerously. It starts at 3pm Saturday July 30 at Branch #26 of the Royal Canadian Legion, 15 Lorne Street Sackville, NB.

I’ll also be selling copies of Ghost Pine and select zines from my distro at the Legion from noon to 5pm as part of the amazing SappyFest zine fair. Drop by and say hi!





Eganville Alert!

9 06 2011

 

I will be giving a talk and reading from Ghost Pine in Eganville this Saturday, June 11!  It starts at 7 PM at the Bonnechere Union Public Library, 74 Maple St. See you there! I love libraries and I love the Ottawa Valley.





Best of Montreal!

13 05 2011

Thanks to everyone who voted me into the “Best Local Living Author” category in the Mirror‘s Best of Montreal poll! I’m in some pretty rarefied company here.





April Update

9 04 2011

Ghost Pine: All Stories True won the Expozine Alternative Press Award for best English book!
Here’s how the judge described it: “The life and times of a young–and, by the end, not so young–politically engaged turn-of-the-millennium Canadian is captured in a collection that works equally well as stand-alone vignettes and as de facto autobiography.” Aw shucks.

I don’t think I’ve ever won anything before, let alone an award from the best zine fair in Canada! Pretty sweet, thanks to all involved. You can read about it at the Quill & Quire or on the Dep Le Pick Up blog.

Speaking of the mighty Dépanneur Le Pick Up, I will be hosting a zine reading there on Tuesday April 19 at 7PM (7032 Waverly, Metro De Castelneau). Here’s the info:

JULIAN EVANS returns to Montreal to launch the seventh issue of his long-running and awesome One Way Ticket zine, featuring stories of a year long sojourn in Pittsburgh that are both bittersweet and triumphant. A former resident of St. Henri, Julian currently lives in Guelph, where he operates a letterpress shop.

Current St. Henri denizen JONAH CAMPBELL, creator of low-budget food blog “Still Crapulent After all These Years” makes his reading debut at Depanneur Le Pick Up. Equal parts food critic and punk rocker, Jonah’s best work will be collected in the book Food and Trembling, forthcoming from Invisible Publishing in Fall 2011.

Also, one last thing before I forget. I was interviewed by genius Brendan Reed for his latest art project “Black Light Times.” Described on its website as “Interviews filmed under blacklight, with sound effects on the microphone, ” that’s pretty much what you get. Watch my hoodie shimmer!





Zine Rack

28 02 2011

I just re-stocked the zine rack I run at the amazing Depanneur le Pick Up (7032 Waverly, in Montreal). I’ve been running this thing for nearly two years now and the response has been really great. Montreal loves zines!

zine rack!

Some of the international titles on the rack right now include: the new Cometbus, Doris, Slice Harvester, Xtra Tuf, Mostly True, Henry & Glenn Forever, Greenzine, Kiss Off, About My Disappearance, and lots more.

Local titles include: Ghost Pine, Querencia, Culture Slut, Soul Gazers, and more on the way.

If you’re in Montreal come north and take a peek (Metro de Castelnau); just make sure you stay for a Veggie Pulled Pork or one of the other delicious hot sandwiches on the menu.








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