18 November 2005

Bathurst & Lawrence

In and out of cold symptoms.

This afternoon I drove up to Bathurst and Lawrence, to the Negev book and gift shop to find a bar mitzvah gift for my cousin's son, Harrison. Harrison is obsessed with computers and sports, so I decided to get him a poetry book. I'd call that a prescriptive bar mitzvah gift, instead of a descriptive bar mitzvah gift. Wound up with a hardback volume by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, and a graphic novel called The Rabbi's Cat, by Joann Sfar. It was a really emotional feeling being in that very very very Jewish place. In that very very very Jewish neighbourhood. Got weepy when I left and felt anxious for the rest of the day. My missing family, my missing religion, my missing.

Yesterday was a book day of a different nature. Katherine Parrish organized the second Going To Press at Marc Garneau Collegiate in East York, and I was the keynote speaker. On two hours' sleep I delivered a talk I'd completed only a few hours earlier. Seemed to go over well, at least among the kids who were listening. As always, I became a little flustered and forgot an important element -- a bit of show and tell of some items I'd spent hours digging up the night before: the box issue of Scat, a poetry T-shirt of mine (E.V.M.) and a couple other things.

Part of Going To Press is a small press book fair, and I had a table at that, along with 15 or 20 other small pressers. I don't expect to sell anything there, because it's mainly high school students, but I did sell a few things, primarily to visiting teachers. It was a lot of fun, as it always is to sit behind a book table. Spent far more than I made, and here's what I bought:

Edward, by Rose Red (Feed My Eyes), an amazing ziney story with fantastic scratchy visuals.
The Archival Stone, by Beatriz Hausner (Lyrical Myrical), a poetry book.
Stormy Weather/Foursomes, by Stan Dragland (Pedlar Press), a gorgeous collection of short prose pieces.
The Amazing Challengers Of Unknown Mystery, by Evan Munday (Building & Loan Comics), a comic book about the kidnapping of Avril Lavigne.
Monstress, issues 2, 3, 4 and 8, edited and mostly written by Una Crow, and this film/etc zine looks to be excellent.
Hung No. 1, by Shannon Gerard, a graphic fiction thing. Vigilante Poet Shannon sat beside me and we had great discussions about art interventions.
Year, by Shannon Gerard, a crazy little artist's book, again with fascinating images and fine text.
Feral Delights #2, ziney poems and texts by Rose Red.

After the fair, Jen LoveGrove and Sandra Alland and I went to a Goodwill about a block away and I bought:

So Beautiful, by Ramona Dearing (The Porcupine's Quill)
Billy Tinker, by Harold Johnson (Thistledown Press)
Mile End, by Lise Tremblay (Talonbooks)
The Stand-in, by David Helwig (The Porcupine's Quill)
Loitering With Intent, by Peter O'Toole (MacMillan)
Open Letter, Ninth Series Number 3: Summer 1995
Baroque-a-Nova, by Kevin Chong (Penguin)
The World's Best Optical Illusions, by Charles H. Paraquin (Scholastic)
The Cat, by Pat Gray (Ecco)

Today I finalized the venues and dates for two literary events: the first instalment of The Fictitious Reading Series, which I'm organizing with Kate Sutherland and which will feature Harold Johnson and Heather Birrell; the Mud Game 10th Anniversary Complete Reading, which I'm doing with Gary Barwin. Both events at This Ain't the Rosedale Library, on December 4 and 15 respectively, both at 7:30 p.m.

Better go get some sleep so I can wake up and pick Dana up so's we can go to the bar mitzvah.

Over and out.


At November 19, 2005 12:44 am , Blogger a.rawlings said...

did you meet julie birrell yesterday? she was one of the teachers there, from vaughn road. heather's sister! small, small world.

At November 20, 2005 4:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear stu,

Matisyahu (Hasidic reggae) might make an excellent bar mitzvah present. Very positive, rockin spiritual guy.


At November 20, 2005 11:46 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...


A Bar Mitzvah present for the boy who has almost everything:

Matisyahu "Live at Stubbs"

Very positive, spiritual, hasidic reggae.


At November 21, 2005 11:11 am , Blogger torontopearl said...

"Got weepy when I left and felt anxious for the rest of the day. My missing family, my missing religion, my missing."

Stuart, those few lines hold so much! Expand on them...and write something for next year's Parchment. You missed this year's again...

At February 11, 2006 6:44 pm , Blogger Steve Bergson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At February 11, 2006 11:28 pm , Blogger Steve Bergson said...

Did your cousin's son enjoy The Rabbi's Cat? You know, it is only book 1. They may be coming out with a book 2 after Sfar finishes books 5 and 6 of the series (in French).

It's great that the Negev carries the occasional Jewish graphic novel, but to find a wider selection, you really need to head down a bit further south (i.e. Bathurst & Bloor) to The Beguiling comic shop (http://www.beguiling.com).

There, you can find such works as :

- Adolf by Osamu Tezuka (tale centered around 2 boys named Adolf who start out as best friends (one is a Jew, one becomes a Hitler Youth)

- Auschwitz by Pascal Croci

- Little Vampire Goes to School by Joann Sfar

- Dropsie Avenue : The Neighborhood by Will Eisner (one of my personal favorites)

There's some great stuff getting published in the next year or so :

Homeland : The Illustrated History of the State of Israel by Marv Wolfman

The Golem's Klezmer Band (another of Joann Sfar's)

Home Number One by Marion Baraitser

You can read more about Jewish comics and graphic novels at my blog, my discussion forum &/or my bibliography website.


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