One of the films to premiere last year at DOXA was Virunga, which received an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature. It was previewed at DOXA, before Tribecca and Hot docs, but the film almost never got off the ground.
Virunga filmmaker, Orlando Von Einsiedel, was feeling overwhelmed when he sent in his rough cut to DOXA. “It was a little rough around the edges” says Director of Programming, Dorothy Woodend. “But it was such an incredible story. You watched and you feel your eyes bug out of your head. Right away we said we want it, and we want it for opening.” When she emailed him to say it had been accepted at DOXA, it turned out to be the vote of confidence he needed to actually continue with it. And of course the film went on to achieve ridiculous success.
I sat down with Dorothy Woodend and DOXA Programming and Education Coordinator, Selina Crammond, to learn more about Vancouver’s premiere documentary festival, now in its 14th year.
When Juliana Moore returned to Vancouver from New York in December 2010 she moved into the Waldorf Hotel. The condition, set by her friends who had reopened it, was that she help with planning the venue’s creative programming.
Taking cues from New York’s notorious underground party scene and her eclectic network of performer friends, Moore decided to initiate a night of mish-mash performances from local musicians, magicians, poets, and weirdos. It grew into an event that packed the Waldorf full two Sunday nights per month throughout 2011. In 2012, Moore tweaked the program to focus on collaborating musicians. The self-professed “Bob Dylan nerd” decided they should do a Dylan covers night. The response was overwhelming. “All kinds of weird and wonderful things happened on this night,” Moore says.
The success of the Dylan songbook, as it was called, was soon followed by a Neil Young songbook and a Lou Reed songbook. These cover nights united about a dozen Vancouver musicians who each spent about 10 minutes playing tributes to their favorite artists in front of a packed room of their peers.
SHiNDiG 2012 Winner: Praying For Greater Portland
When it comes to cock talk, Clint Sleeper doesn’t shy away. After his experimental multi-instrumental one-man project, Praying For Greater Portland (P4GP), was victorious in SHiNDiG 2012, we talk a bit about the rock, but more about the cock. After 13 weeks of 27 bands battling for top honours, host Ben Lai announces the official winner and Discorder finds the least chaotic corner of the Railway Club to chat with the man behind P4GP.
Discorder Revisited: Part 2
For Discorder’s 30th anniversary issue in February, we revisited the magazine’s past with founding co-editors Mike Mines and Jennifer Fahrni (via phone from Hawaii, at the time). These days, Fahrni travels frequently as PR manager for the Irish Rovers. While home in the midst of a busy touring schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to chat with her face to face and visit Discorder’s birthplace: her childhood home.
Fahrni grew up in an old character house at 2nd and Blanca in Point Grey. It was there on her parents’ massive dining room table that she, Mines, and fellow CiTR alumni Harry Hertscheg held paste-up-parties, where they would physically assemble those first issues of Discorder.
Three decades later, I’m plopping the glossy, full-colour 30th anniversary issue on that same table. It’s a powerful feeling and I can sense the energy in the room. With me, I have a copy of — according to Fahrni, from previous conversation — her favourite issue: March 1983. Volume one, issue two. A huge smile grows on Fahrni’s face as she peers through the pages. With candid confidence, takes me for a trip down memory lane.
Discorder Revisited: Part 1
Discorder Magazine is 30 years old this month, and what better way to say, “Happy Birthday!” and reconnect our present with our past than to chat about the future with Mike Mines and Jennifer Fahrni, the founding editors of Discorder Magazine.
Three decades after co-editing the first issue, Fahrni is now the PR manager for the folk group Irish Rovers, and Mines is now a lawyer for Mines & Company. I visited Mines at his downtown Vancouver office and pulled out the February 1983 issue of Discorder, Volume 1, Number 1 — in all its original black and white newsprint glory — for him to peer over. “I must admit, not to pat myself on the back too much, but for a kid who was just barely hanging on at university, this is pretty well written.” It was the first time he had looked at the magazine in about 30 years.
“We were suddenly going to be in the studio in less than four weeks and hadn’t finished or even played most of these songs,” says Matt Moldowan (vocals) about Fine Times’ first foray into recording a full-length album. A year ago, Moldowan and bandmate Jeffrey Powell (bass) made a list of people that they wanted to work with, and at the top was legendary Vancouver producer Howard Redekopp (New Pornographers, Tegan & Sara, Mother Mother). When they tossed around the idea of working together, Redekopp said he just happened to be finishing another project and had a window of a few months to work with them. Their alternative? Wait another year for him. The timing was right, but also a wake up call for Moldowan and Powell...
In the shadow of Enbridge, Kinder Morgan pipeline looms large
On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground off the coast of Alaska, resulting in the one of the worst ecological disasters in history.
The 23rd anniversary of the spill was marked by the gathering of hundreds of people at the Vancouver Art Gallery who, at the same time, voiced their opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project, which would carry oil from Northern Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.
But lost in the shadow of the Enbridge debate are plans for the expansion of a different pipeline that has received comparatively little media attention.
Kinder Morgan (KMI) wants to “twin” — essentially construct a new pipe next to the existing one — its Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alta. to Burnaby, B.C. Should the company’s proposal be accepted, the Trans Mountain pipeline’s transport capacity of tar sands crude to the West Coast would double to an estimated 700,000 barrels per day.
The expanded pipeline would subsequently mean roughly double the number of oil tankers would pass through the Port of Vancouver, much to the dismay of environmental groups and First Nations whose traditional territories are located in the region.
Adriane Carr bids to build on Green Party federal success
Adriane Carr is running for Vancouver City Council for the first time, but she is no stranger to campaigning. This will be Carr’s eighth attempt at winning an election.
While the positions she’s tried to secure over the years have varied, her party has not. She’s once again running on the Green Party ticket, the perpetual underdog at virtually all levels of Canadian government over the past two and a half decades.
But the ever-resilient Carr and her supporters are optimistic that this time it will be different, following the success of the Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the federal campaign earlier this year.
May, a longtime friend and political ally, recognizes the sacrifice that Carr made to ensure that the Greens were able to finally secure a seat in parliament.
“She’s extremely determined, tireless, and more focused on getting things done then getting credit for getting things done,” said May.
Vancouverties will decide on Carr’s fate when they cast their ballots on Nov. 19.
For some Vancouver schools, demolition may be the only option
At a recent meeting held at the Vancouver School Board (VSB), a dozen or so people gathered in the main boardroom armed with signs and placards, hoping that their attempts to save General Gordon Elementary School had been successful.
They had not.
General Gordon, located at the corner of West 6th and Bayswater in Kitsilano, celebrated its 100th birthday in June.
It is now the second Vancouver school slated for demolition as part of a province-wide safety initiative. Charles Dickens Elementary suffered the same fate in 2008.
So far, the city has seismically upgraded 32 schools. But another 48 may also be subject to the wrecking ball.
UBC Graduate School of Journalism
The Apparent State of Unfriendliness in Vancouver
If you have ever lived in Vancouver, you have likely heard that it is an unfriendly city. Some say Vancouver is polite on the outside but otherwise insincere, some say it is snobby, while others say it is a hard city to adjust to. I’ve heard all of these things, on many occasions from residents young and old, established and new arrivals.
This thesis investigates the phenomenon of the image of Vancouver, otherwise renowned worldwide for its liveability, as the “unfriendly” or alienated city and employs academic literature related to urban connectedness and social capital. It is a three-part project that includes a literature review and a two-part work of journalism, comprised of a magazine-style feature story with sidebars and a short video.
The feature-story element of this project is an article titled ‘The Lone Amigo in Vancouver’s Network of Strangers.’
This is work of journalism from the view of a newcomer who felt like an excluded outsider upon arriving in Vancouver but opted to take action against “unfriendliness” by creating a series of networking events for strangers to connect. Here, the inclusion of public conversations that transpired simultaneously in Vancouver help to reveal why this loneliness affliction is cause for concern.