Six VWF events for the writer in all of us

Six VWF events for the writer in all of us

Every year, more than 100 acclaimed authors attend the Vancouver Writers Fest—an electric, week-long whirlwind of today’s most pressing issues and exciting new books. Not only is it an opportunity celebrate talented wordsmiths, the festival holds space for people to learn and be inspired by writers—both emerging and established. For the writer in all of us, here are six events to check out from October 21-27. 

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#FlashbackFringe: In conversation with Lilli Robinson, creator of Mx

#FlashbackFringe: In conversation with Lilli Robinson, creator of Mx

If you caught the premiere of Mx at the 2019 Fringe Festival—a mounting that won the New Play Prize—you’d know it’s far from a relaxing theatre experience. The show serves audiences with a challenge to confront the unsettling truth that white supremacy is alive and well within us, our surroundings and our cultural narrative. SAD sat down with creator Lilli Robinson to talk about the issues of race and intersectionality that her piece tackles.

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Meet October’s Featured Artist: Lindsey Hampton 

Meet October’s Featured Artist: Lindsey Hampton 

For this artist, graphic design came first, and ceramics came later. Lindsey Hampton took up a six-week ceramics course as a hobby, and what started as “just something to do” evolved into a business selling ceramics both online and through local and international stockists such as Vancouver Special, Easy Tiger Goods (Toronto), and Coming Soon (New York City). 

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Ask an Adult!

Let's face it: high school didn't prepare us for much.

Even in our twenties and thirties, there are questions we don't know how to answer. What's the best way to save money? How do you know you're ready to get married, or have kids? Taxes???

Don't ask us! We don't know either.

In search of answers to life's scariest questions, we're Asking an Adult, and we want to hear from you! Specifically, we’re asking Kimberley Clarke and Shanda Leer, for their best advice on being a functioning human in these fraught times.

Meet Shanda Leer:

Shanda Leer

Shanda Leer

“It was 1977 and I was a spry 16-year old who had a good head on their shoulders, $8 in their pocket, and a ticket to see The Goodbye Girl at the local cinema. It had been getting some hot review in the local trades and as a confirmed double triple-threat, I knew I had to be among the first to see it opening weekend. What followed was one-hundred and ten minutes of the most saccharine, overwrought TRIPE I had laid my eyes on. Watching the faces of the hoi polloi as they streamed out of their seats into the damp autumn evening, I knew there and then that I was different. Elevated. It's a deeply concerning lesson to learn as a precocious yet approachable teen. I immediately understood what it was like to grow up and, if I may dip a toe into the syrupy world of cliche, not be able to go home again.

I'm 58-years old. Hard fought and world weary. But eager to impart my wisdom to the younger generation. I'm a hip old auntie who can hip-hop, be-bop, dance til ya drop, yo yo, and make a wicked cup of cocoa. I'm also a chaotic bisexual Gemini who carries a rose quartz just in case even though I know it's just a shiny rock. So send me your questions, queries, quibbles and quandaries. I'll set you straight (figuratively).”

Meet Kim Clarke:

13501831_10154123952516041_6068905452721094982_n (1).jpg

“Okay, here goes. I am originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am the product of public and some private and some independent school education. I attended the University of Winnipeg, the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba and UBC (again) in that order. I love learning, I love teaching and I would love to tap dance.

What makes me a reputable adult is that I am old. I have always been old. Because I was an only child, which made me unusual in my neighbourhood, I always thought of myself as mature beyond my years. Running away to Vancouver, spending my adolescence wailing away to Joni Mitchell albums, pogoing with disenfranchised punks, and experiencing existential ennui because of a questionable hair-do, gives me a little street-cred as an adult. Oh and I haven't been arrested, ever.

The best piece of advice I ever got was "Get a good dentist." I followed the advice and have smiled ever since.”

Got questions?

Send your worries and questions to or use the form below by October 5, and select submissions will be answered by a Kim and Shanda Leer, two Reputable Adults, and shared in the Future issue of SAD, out this fall. Feel free to use your real name, a pseudonym, or ask for anonymity.

Name *
Ask away!


SAD Mag is an independent Vancouver publication featuring stories, art and design. Founded in 2009, we publish the best of contemporary and emerging artists with a focus on inclusivity of voices and views, exceptional design, and film photography.

#FlashBackFringe: 'in several times' dances between space, memory and the body.

When the performers first synchronize their choreography for during in several times, the show begins its sensory climax. The three bodies on stage are redemonstrating movements we’ve seen before, but the choreography danced  in unison is more powerful and intense, a building momentum. 

There is a blanket at the back of the stage, precisely decorated with an arrangement of items: a pile of sugar, strawberries, bread and kettle. The bodies carve space together. The kettle begins to boil. A body breaks from the flow of movement, walks over to the steamy kettle, gently rests on their knees. The crescendo of pouring water is audible in the slightest sense.

 I think of the comforts associated with that sound, the filling of a cup. I think of my parents sitting every night with cups of tea. I think of myself alone, clutching a cup for solace while watching the rain. In this space, it feels as though I am sharing a memory with strangers, watching strange movements. Yet in the unknown of this sharing, there is a strong feeling of connect, a distinct commonality in it all. 

The word that best describes in several times is intertwingle— A verb, meaning to interconnect or interrelate in a deep and complex way. The multi-disciplinary work was created by director, choreographer and performance artist Linnea Gwaizda, along with the carefully selected ensemble of Marc Arboleda, Kayla De Vos, Mahaila Patterson-O’Brienon and onstage sound designer Matthew Ariaratnam. 

The show explores concepts and constructs of memory, examining how we share memories and how we exist in memory spaces. How even as individuals who experience a wide range of things, our memories intertwine with our surroundings, creating uncanny connections and profound commonalities. 

Before the work was showcased during the 35th Vancouver Fringe Festival, in several times  was first presented form as Gwaizdas masters thesis at SFU. She was inspired to create the piece while on a trip to her late grandparents’ home in Europe. They died when Gwaizda was young, but she still holds many childhood memories from their home in Quebec.

“It was a place of beautiful tradition, warmth and a connection to the land which they were removed from. When going back to their home country of Poland, and retracing those steps, there was a sense of peculiar familiarity,” says Gwaizda.

”Yet this was a space that I had never been to before. Which got me thinking: where is home? What is a home? When have we arrived in our ancestry?” 

in several times doesn’t follow narrative in a traditional sense, existing in a more fluid, dreamlike choreographic space.Through gestures, spoken word, sounds and props, the show creates a visceral recollection of events, emotions, and sensory experiences. 

The plethora of objects on stage recall specific sensory memories from Gwaizda’s grandparents’ house. Senses are triggered in this piece each time the performers place ingredients on stage, or when field recordings from Quebec ring out over speakers. 

“Smell and taste are a huge part of memory,” says Gwaizda. “I remember the tomatoes and cucumbers being picked from the garden.”


By bringing in taste and texture from other specific, personal places, Gwaizda hopes to establish a personal connection with the audience. At one point in the piece, a performer moves to the arrangement of objects up stage and grabs a handful of sugar from the pile, only to let it fall through her hands in a steady stream. We watch the sugar fall through fingertips, listen to the performers describe the architecture of a specific room, all while what sounds like recordings of creaking floors play through the speakers

It doesn’t matter what the sound actually is, or even if that white pile was sugar, salt or another substance. These specific memories are not mind to understand or analyze, I am simply meant to experience them. Yet there is a familiarity in what each performer is presenting— my own memories surface through their sounds and smells. Each click reminds me of how the wooden gate sounded when my father returned home from work, and through scent I am reminded of my grandmother’s laundry detergent.

Having worked in the past with many of the artists involved in this project, Gwaizda wanted her collaborators to have a connection to the piece. She feels her choreography was somewhat collaborative due to her personal connections. 

“ I mapped out a memory, to create a pathway and use that as a physical map that creates a choreography. This work seemed like an invitation to share, and was an attempt to create a space on stage that feels like a memory.” 

As the piece comes to a close, Gwaizda comes out on the stage, and starts reading a text from a journal, or maybe a better word for it would be a diary. The words are intimate to certain people, places, sense, experiences, memories. Whether tethered to her grandparents or other figures, the text is vulnerable, familial and comforting. 

As Linnea reads and the dancers respond, I have a strong awareness of everyone else in the room. We are all here sharing space and memory in the present setting, but the act of internal recollection is most likely occurring. I wonder if anyone else is reminded of their childhood home, or their favourite meal or the smell of their grandmothers perfume. Either way, I feel embraced by shared space and experience, a connection to strangers and a strong craving for a bowl of my fathers lentil soup from the red ceramic pot on the stove.