Saturday, February 24, 2007

san fran's disco

La dolce vita in San Francisco, 'puter on back. 76-speaker sound experience at the Audium, all egg-like and dark. Chris says it's so passe, but I dug the immersion. Coit Tower, Columbus plus labour-inspired murals-- strange combo of ideologies. Fishy Farralon, big dollars. Karaoke screams the spirits out. Cafe hopping, revising diss, reading Mark Leyner aloud and David C's soon-to-be-published Soucouyant quietly. Red Victorian themes rooms, butterflies for peace, peacocks for vanity. Ashok and David B pop up periodically, in restaurants, beside Jack Kerouac, or at mic. Winter blues washing downstream.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

mind travel

Lots of travels and projects on the go. Interesting stuff in the next bit:

Serial Accomodations: Diasporic Asian Women's Writing, a symposium at the Choi Bldg, UBC, March 9-10

2007: Anniversaries of Change, conference to mark (among other things) the centennary of 1907 anti-Asian Vancouver Riots, March 15-17

I'm on to San Francisco this weekend just to catch little sun and visit my sound-singer friend, Chris Tonelli. The following weekend, off to Miami to do a class visit and see Rita Wong, who is teaching there for the year.

A nice invitation recently to a conference in Frankfurt this April called Negotiating Diversity: Transatlantic Exchanges Between Canada and Europe.

I've been house hunting a little. I need more light! I need sun, coffee shops, people. The housing market in this city is so depressing. Let me know if you hear of anything.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Why We Write

Just received from TSAR:

TSAR Publications Presents

Why we Write:
Conversations with African Canadian Poets and Novelists

A Discussion Panel with interviewer H Nigel Thomas

FeaturingWayde Compton (Author, 49th Parellel Psalm)
Karina Vernon (Journalist)
David Chariandy (Professor, Simon Fraser University)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
6:30pm – 9:30pm@Spartacus Books
319 West Hastings2nd Floor
Vancouver, British Columbia

The panelists will discuss the issues and challenges facing African Canadian writers.

The Book: In this volume, African Canadian creative writers discuss the complexities of the writing experience. Most of the writers interviewed here are humanists; i.e., they see their work as serious depictions of the human condition, admit that their works are informed by an African Canadian ontology, and adhere to the notion that their books must delight and instruct. These interviews, therefore, are valuable additions to the creative process of the individual writers.Apart from identifying how the writers’ geographical and social origins have influenced their work, the questions deliberately avoid autobiography. Instead, these writers respond to the exigencies of craft, the manipulations of publishers, the criticism of readers, and the absence of a clearly identifiable market for their works.

Price: $24.95Paperback For More Information, visit:

Monday, February 05, 2007

chilly philly

Actually, it wasn't that cold, though it did snow. Had a great week visiting with Janet Neigh, her two lovely and generous roommates James and Jennifer and the wonder-chihuahuas Popsicle and Nina. Getting there was a hassle-- it took Air Canada four tries and three passes through US Customs to get me, and two newfound friends out of Toronto. They did put us up in the most bizarre party palace hotel out on the snowy 401. I was trailed for a few hours by a strange stalker boy who wanted to know about Nietzsche. The weirdest moment of the trip, though, was after the third cancelled flight, when they sent us to a dark empty hall in the bowels of an almost-abandoned Terminal Two (just a short and several times repeated shuttle ride from the trailer Terminal E) where we were to rebook the fourth (and lucky) flight. There was a row of dark, unmanned kiosks as the back, and on the opposite wall, a row of six phones that 60 stranded passengers were supposed to use to call ticket agents in Montreal, or may be Delhi... Welcome to Air Kafka.

So what a shock to finally land in Philly and discover it is indeed a real place! Janet and her roomies have a great three-storey house near the Italian market some of you might be familiar with from Rocky. (Not me. OK, gotta watch it.) We did tons of yoga. I went to my first Kundalini class ever. Tried to visit the Eastern State Penitentiary, which is the original panopticon that Bentham writes about, but it was closed for the winter. Went to the very grand Philedelphia Museum of Art, though, and admired the 20th century rooms-- some faves, Rothko, Brancusi. There was even a concert in the atrium-- a good one-- a band called Box Five playing with the Arts in Motion String Quartet. They were a bit Morcheeba-like-- sad girl songs with cool computer/synth background sound, and some lovely live violin.

Man, the class/race divide in Philly is a shocker though. Much sadness, anger and poverty on certain blocks, lots of boarded up buildings. I know it's no different here...

Found myself a copy of China Mieville's Perdido Street Station at a groovy bookstore across from the panopticon. Ate a crazy pork and greens sandwich in the Italian market with James. Saw Judith Butler speak at UPenn on the instrumentalization of queer freedoms for racist purposes (interesting, smart and upsetting). Read a huge chunk of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas at a sweet neighbourhood coffee shop called Chapterhouse. And did a bunch of thinking and writing on Writing Thru Race. Adventures are good.