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Archive for March, 2006

March 31st, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Books2Eat April 1st

What is Books2Eat?
The International Edible Book Festival is a yearly event that takes place on April 1 throughout the world. This event unites bibliophiles, book artists and food lovers to celebrate the ingestion of culture and its fulfilling nourishment. Participants create edible books that are exhibited, documented then consumed.

Who can participate in Books2Eat?
Books2Eat can be celebrated with family, friends, colleagues and public anywhere. The only rule is to make edible art that has something to do with books as shapes and/or content.
Each participating group or individual is responsible for its/his/her own audience and website. In previous years, the event was held throughout April, according various considerations. Tickets can be sold for the event; each venue can use the Books2Eat festival as a fundraiser for book centers and organizations.

Where are Books2Eat’s creations?
The artworks are consumed on the day of the event. Images of this world celebration are posted at The documentation will be used for a potential (non-edible) book by Umbrella Editions in the future.

March 31st, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Poetry Reading Where Lampman Lies

Photo from here

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry. The occasion will be celebrated with an evening of poetry and music presented by Arc Poetry Magazine and the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation, Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 7:30 pm.

Beechwood Cemetery is the resting place of Archibald Lampman, John Newlove, and many other leading Canadian poets of the nineteenth and twentieth century. A portion of Beechwood Cemetery has been designated as “Poet’s Hill,� and is being developed as a site for literary commemoration, reflection and education.

Come out to hear some poets in this historic and inspiring literary venue. The event is free. Click here for more info.

March 31st, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Anselm Kiefer is a Semen Staining Bibliophile

And speaking of size mattering, in addition to the book exhibit at the Canadian Centre for Architecture that I will be visiting next week in Montreal, The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is, contemporaniously, presenting Anselm Kiefer: Heaven – Earth. It runs until April 30, 2006.

Bookmaking is big in Kiefer’s art. Many of his books are sculptures, massive symbols of his search for wisdom that combine seemingly disparate historical images. As he puts it “The book, the idea of a book or the image of a book, is a symbol of learning, of transmitting knowledge . . . I make my own books to find my way through the old stories.â€?

As Erika Biddle reports in Artnet
For 30 years, the German artist Anselm Kiefer has made large, sculptural books with pages like paintings, layered with straw, lead and his trademark script. Scandalously, in 1993 — celebrating the end of his first marriage — the artist exhibited hundreds of white-painted ledgers and handmade books, the pages stained with 20 years worth of his own semen and called 20 Jahre Einsamkeit (Twenty Years of Solitude).

March 30th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

The Chairs: A Meaningless Play reviewed by Nigel Beale

Let me preface this review with admiration, three reasons to celebrate, and an admission. 1) There is a new, relatively speaking, theatre company in Ottawa called Third Wall Theatre . 2) In 2005, Third Wall was awarded the prize for best professional production of the year by the Capital Critics’ Circle, marking the first time in its history that a company outside the GCTC or the NAC had won the award. 3) Third Wall’s focus is on the great masterpieces of world theatre, a repetoire which in my opinion can never be performed often enough. Anyone who devotes their time and energy to the production and presentation of art, in any form, deserves admiration and support from the community at large. I therefore am not pleased with what I am about to have to say because I want to support the people behind Third Wall. Theatre of the Absurd, as I understand it, conveys the message that life has no meaning. It rejects logic, and is filled with empty speeches and silences. My sense is that it is presented not necessarily to be enjoyed, but rather to ellicit reflection, most often morbid and frustrated. It was experimental and groundbreaking, just as, I suppose, was Duchamp’s urinal. Becket did it better than anyone else, if it had to be done at all. I find theatre of the absurd boring (regardless of the fact that its defenders will say that this is its very intent) and as a result, difficult to review favourably even when production and performance values are superior. Third Wall’s presentation of Eugene Ionesco’s ‘The Chairs’ simply reafirms my distaste for this genre. Typically, whilst waiting for curtains to rise I like to read something about the play I am about to see. The program for this show contained no such information. If this was done on purpose then cudos are due, because it succeeded in causing frustration, just as the play is designed to do. If not, then it was an incompetent oversight. The set was a room lined with what appeared to be totem poles, interspersed with doors, and shuttered windows. Two step ladders, a blackboard and a small wooden lecturn were present in the room. The premise of the play has an elderly unfulfilled couple played by James Bradford and Beverley Wolfe ushering a group of invisible people into their home. The expectation is that they will listen to the old man’s important life message, delivered not by himself, which is typical of his life, but by a hired orator. Needless to say expectations are not met. The pale orator is dumb and cannot communicate. The couple exit their respective windows plunging, it is assumed, to watery deaths. Actors Bradford and Wolfe deliver their lines with confidence and, as far as I could tell, without flaw. The problem with both of their performances however was that neither conveyed with conviction the truth that they were communicating with those they had invited into their home. It is a difficult task to portray realistic conversation on stage at the best of times. When the people you are talking to happen to be invisible the task is made that much more challenging. These actors did not meet this challenge. They didn’t dialogue, they monologued. The most affecting moment in the play occured at the end when the lights dimmed over a stage full of expectant, empty chairs, and a hum drum Beatles tune played in the background. I was grateful to escape back to my real, miserable, meaningless life, somehow made less so in contrast to the hour and a half spent in the theatre. Uplifting in a way.

‘The Chairs’ runs at the Ottawa Arts Court until Saturday, April 1, 2006. 


March 29th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books


Here’s an idea: a Hans Zimmer Film Festival. Audience could attend blindfolded if they wished.

The graphic accompanying this post was supposed to be a head and shoulders shot of Hans…but hey…I kind of like what came out instead, so we’ll leave it that way.

March 29th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

The Glory of Gladiator

Watched Gladiator again recently. God this is one superb film that will get its full deserts, but for now: Russell Crowe doesn’t even have to open his mouth for us to know that his Maximus is a supreme leader of men. His walk says all.

The early snow-flaked battle sequences are among the most serenely choreographed anti-war statements I’ve yet seen on screen and Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus ruins the rest of his acting career. Regardless of who he plays, or how well he plays them, this depiction is indelible and wont wash out. Gladiator also marks the end of an old favourite Oliver (Sir Carol’s nephew) Reed. See his gladiator wrestling scene with Alan Bates in Women in Love.

Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerard add a soundtrack that grasps and deepens all the emotional complexity and grandure of time, place and man who goes through hell in a savage world.

March 29th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books, On Collecting

Size Matters: Exhibit on Books in Montreal

125 Kilos of Books
In the Octagonal Gallery at the Canadian Centre for Architecture , from 23 March to 30 April 2006

Celebrating the designation of Montréal as UNESCO World Book Capital City for 2005-2006, the exhibition presents a selection of printed architectural works dating from the 15th century to the present from the CCA’s collection in order to provoke thought about what seems, at first sight, the most banal fact of any book: its size. With dimensions ranging from 10 cm to 1 metre, the works are explored through such themes as Buildings are Bigger Than Books, Theory is Bigger Than Practice, Size is Luxury, Mother and Children, Big Beyond Bounds, and Portable Computers.

I’ll be in Montreal for the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in early April. Will be interviewing the curator of this sizeable show for The Biblio File.

March 25th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books, On Collecting

Livres Chelsea Books

Dropped in at Livres Chelsea Books last weekend located on the Old Chelsea Road, opposite Chelsea Town Hall. The bookstore is owned by Frances Curry and opened last fall. It is housed in a modest bungalow. The walls of every room on the main floor save for the kitchen are lined with books. Not surprisingly I left with an armful of books including firsts of Raymond Carver’s Elephant, William Vollmann’s The Atlas, Tim Lott’s Rumours of a Hurricane, and a charming little volume by Morley ‘Callaghan’ called The Varsity Story, illustrated by Eric Aldwinckle about U of T, worth nothing.

Frances mentioned that her father had recently written a book on his wartime experiences, and, at the advise of local writer Phil Jenkins had used the services of one Nicholas Chadwick to help get it published. I hope to interview Nicholas for The Biblio File.

March 24th, 2006 • Posted in Authors and Books

Beale MacDonalded in Sepia

John W. MacDonald introduced himself to me at the Ottawa Antiquarian Bookfair last fall. Given our shared insanity over books, notably collecting them, and our passion for capturing author ideas and images…me with microphone, he with camera, we became fast friends.

So John is a friend, yes. And this is a picture of me, yes. But blot that out for a moment, appreciate the form, John’s artistic rendering, and agree with me that he is a real talent. One that publishers and authors should utilize, fully, frequently and frankly.

Oh. And I totally agree with Canadian fiction writer Alison Gresik when she says in her blog ” I am totally getting this guy to do my author photos. His work is stunning.”

My first novel will be published late this year or early 2007. Look for John’s name on the dustjacket.

March 23rd, 2006 • Posted in Wicked Quotes

Bed Advice

These from Elibron:

“My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife, you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” Socrates (469-399 B.C.E.)

“Bed,” as the Italian proverb succinctly puts it, “is the poor man’s opera.” Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)