Power, corruption and lies – new book on Vancouver history digs deep

A man and woman walk across the still-relatively-new Lions Gate Bridge, 1939. City of Vancouver Archives. CVA 260-995. Photograph by James Crookall.

A man and woman walk across the still-relatively-new Lions Gate Bridge, 1939. City of Vancouver Archives. CVA 260-995. Photograph by James Crookall.

It’s likely that even most Vancouverites won’t know the facts or even the names behind many of the stories collected in a forthcoming book on the city and its history. Anvil Press’s Vancouver Confidential, to be published Sept. 15, collects essays by a variety of writers on unknown and obscure stories from the fringes of Vancouver.

Police corruption, blinkered courts, a murder/suicide in Chinatown and the case of the Lovers’ Lane Marauder are all here, featured in a book the publisher promises will “honour the chorus line behind the star performer, the mug in the mugshot, the victim in the murder, the teens in the gang and the ‘slum’ in the path of the bulldozer.”

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Power, corruption and lies – new book on Vancouver history digs deep

Behind the cowl – UBC’s academic look at superhero movies

Cinephile journal cover

Vol. 9, issue 2 of UBC’s film journal is now available.

Like a malevolent villain – the Skrull, say, or Galactus (hey, do I know my stuff or what) – superhero movies have taken over the planet.

It seems you can’t turn on the TV, go to a movie or visit a website without coming across ads, trailers or reviews for the things (of course, some people even go see them in theatres!). Since The Avengers did a billion dollars in box office receipts and the continued success of the Thor and Iron Man series, not to mention the Dark Knight trio of flicks – and isn’t that Spider-Man swinging around the moviehouse this week? – Hollywood has gone comic-book crazy.

But what does it all mean? Sure, some movie critics in the serious mainstream press occasionally talk about the bigger picture, and how the latest X-Men move is actually about racial profiling or whatever. But there’s more going on here, and that’s the idea behind the latest issue of Cinephile.

Vol. 9 No. 2 of the film journal, a quarterly publication from the film studies department at the University of British Columbia, looks at The Superhero Film.

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Behind the cowl – UBC’s academic look at superhero movies

A Vancouver First: The “Craft Brewing” of Publishing

What do craft beer and books have in common? Read on to find out.  Photo credit: Don LaVange | Flickr

What do craft beer and books have in common? Read on to find out. Photo credit: Don LaVange | Flickr

There’s a new craft brewer (of sorts) in Vancouver.  What they’re selling is robust, fair-trade and, apparently, “very quaffable.”

It’s not beer, however.  It’s books.  Vancouver has just become home to a one-of-a-kind experiment in artisan publishing. A brand new independent publishing house called Nonvella, which describes itself as “the craft brewing of publishing,” is aiming to go where no local book publisher has gone before.

Nonvella’s focus is a genre known as narrative nonfiction – timely works of journalism, adventure writing, essay and memoir taken from real life.  What’s unique about their model, however, is the length of these stories.  Their specialty is long-form nonfiction that’s much shorter than a book but longer than the average magazine article (i.e. stories that are roughly the length of a fictional novella, but in nonfiction form – hence the catchy name, Nonvella.)

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A Vancouver First: The “Craft Brewing” of Publishing

5 must-see events at this year’s Vancouver Writers Festival (Oct 22 – 27)

Night Film author Marisha Pessl. Photo credit: Deborah Lopez.

Night Film author Marisha Pessl. Photo credit: Deborah Lopez.

The day after the Oct 10 announcement of Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for Literature win, it seems appropriate to take a look at writers and writing and, especially, the Vancouver Writers Festival.

This year, the fest takes place as it always does at various locations around Granville Island. There are day-time events suitable for different age groups, some night-time fun for the adults and lots to interest book lovers and book readers. And while Alice Munro – the first Canadian woman to win the prize – won’t be there in the flesh, she will no doubt be there in spirt.

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5 must-see events at this year’s Vancouver Writers Festival (Oct 22 – 27)

City of Vancouver Book Award nominations announced

Amber Dawn How Poetry Saved My Life book cover

The 2013 City of Vancouver Book Award nominations have been announced. The 25th annual City of Vancouver Book Award will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards Gala at Science World (1455 Quebec St.) on Nov. 22. Poetry, memoir and non-fiction books –  all very Vancouver-centric – are up for the award, which is picked by a jury that includes a retired librarian.

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City of Vancouver Book Award nominations announced

Fan Expo Vancouver April 20 – 21

Fan Expo Vancouver

Batman, Catwoman and Black Canary at Vancouver Fan Expo 2012. Photo credit: Shawn Conner.

“Geeks” is too derogatory and “nerds” is so passe. “Fan” is as good a term as any, although the people coming out to Vancouver’s second Fan Expo (at the Vancouver Convention Centre, 1055 Canada Place) might more accurately be called “pop culture vultures.” They love (and collect) their fave pop culture media and titles, particular when it comes to genre TV and movies, along with comics, games, manga and anime.

But just about anyone who’s ever seen an episode of a Star Trek series or picked up a comic book can enjoy a Fan Expo. Taking its cue from the multi-media soiree that is the San Diego Comic-Con, Fan Expo brings together folks of all stripes to mix and mingle. Many of them dress up for the occasion as their favourite character/characters, making Fan Expo Vancouver possibly the best people-watching experience this side of Burning Man. And there’s a ton of celebrity guests, too.

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Fan Expo Vancouver April 20 – 21

Meet Vancouver artist Camilla d’Errico

Camilla d'Errico art

Camilla d’Errico’s surrealist images of women, often in helmets, have captured a world-wide fanbase. Now, these “helmetgirls” are the focus of d’Errico’s second full-length hardcover art book.

The Art Of Camilla d’Errico Vol 2: Helmetgirls follows her 2011 book Femina & Fauna, which sold out of its first printing within the first six months of its spring 2011 release. To celebrate the new book’s release, d’Errico will sign copies of her work this Saturday March 9 at Vancouver’s only downtown comic book store, Golden Age Collectables (852 Granville St.). She’ll be there starting at 2 p.m., and will have special prints on hand as well.

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Meet Vancouver artist Camilla d’Errico