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ISSUE 01  

 SPECIAL FEATURE: 

     MAY/JUNE 2011

Q&A WITH NOWHERE FAST

CANADA $7.99

THE COLLLECTIVES ISSUE

 ALSO INSIDE:  Chatting up Leisure Collective Party poopers no more: how new venue laws will work in your favour Vancouver Women's Health Collective stresses why health should remain a gendered issue


ASCENDER MAGAZINE

this is our very first issue, please be gentle with us. Photo by W. Pearson for Nowhere Fast

FOUNDER & EDITOR

Melanie Kwan CONCEPTION & PRODUCTION

Melanie Kwan CREATIVE ADVISOR

Melanie Kwan Michael Whitney

ISSUE 01 MAY/JUNE 2011 THE COLLECTIVES ISSUE

HEAD WRITER

Steve Louie SPECIAL THANKS TO

Wesley Robert Chad Thiessen Michael Whitney Steve Louie Cohort-24 ADMINISTRATION

Melanie Kwan

Ascender Magazine 1567 E. Broadway

LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGN

Melanie Kwan

SHOW PHOTOS (P9-11)

ASCENDER MAGAZINE©2011

Vancouver, BC V5N 1V9

ISSUE 01: MAY/JUNE 2011     

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CONTENTS

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30

WHAT'S GOING ON?

VANCOUVER: LESS OF A PARTY POOPER?

HOW CAN WE BE MORE?

All the current events of the past two months squished into two pages.

With venue laws slated to change, Vancouver night life is about to get later and better..

This month, look at how we can improve Vancouver living through better coffee houses and cafés.

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23

35

Q&A WITH NOWHERE FAST

THE WEEKENDER

Finding out why they do what they do and where they do it.

Our Man About Town recaps his weekend well spent. Sounds scandalous? It probably is.

Chatting up one of the boys from Leisure Collective. Now playing at the Cobalt, get excited, there's ping pong involved.

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26

36

LEISURE COLLECTIVE

DOLLAR STORE FINDS

HARM REDUCTION IN THE DTES

WORKING @ HOME

See what we've picked out this time. You might be surprised and even a little jealous.

How the Downtown Eastside's controversial InSite has proved to be an international model.

A feature survey on the best local home studios and workshops. Time to get inspired and do something!

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CONTENTS

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56

BI-MONTHLY DESCENDERS

WOMEN'S HEALTH COLLECTIVE

Exploring the best underground spots, literally and figuratively. Find out where to eat and drink this summer.

Resisting the oppression of women at the very basic level:how it works and why you should care.

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PROMANIA!

It's that season. We revisit our high school prom moments and still can't figure out why it was such a big deal.

NOISE CALENDAR

All the show listings you could ever want to desperately remember without having to write them down.

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Issue 01 May/June 2011

REVIEWER

Melanie Kwan.Side photos

A survey of what's good and what's godawful. Books, films, art exhibitions, TV shows; it's high and low culture all mingling together.

shot by W. Pearson.

Cover main photo shot by

ISSUE 01: MAY/JUNE 2011     

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“all my film photos are very safely in boxes under my bed, every single  one of  them.”

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AN ASCENDER Q&A FEATURE

Band of Outsiders/Insiders

Nowhere Fast

Their subject matter ranges from provocative signage to sleepless nights to the most alarmingly quiet still lifes. From a hidden corner in Berlin or from under a blanket in an Edmontonian’s bed, these guys see a moment in everything. INTERVIEW BY MELANIE KWAN

Each time I crack open the latest issue of Nowhere Fast, I find an inside smile, an “oh my god,” a creeping nostalgia. Nowhere Fast is perpetual youth laser printed and hand-stapled. Nowhere Fast Collective is a group of friends who use film to remember the best times of their lives. But unlike you’d expect with anyone involved in the process of capturing time, there’s no sense of urgency. How did this all start?  Wes (NWF founder): I was in school, taking some really repetitive design classes, hating it more and more each day. And I finally just left one day at lunch. It was definitely a good move, I knew I couldn’t drop out of school to smoke weed and watch Seinfeld all day though, so I decided I would “do something.” This was it I guess. Opposite: Various spreads from various issues of Nowhere Fast zines. Though printed solely in black and white, most original NWF photographs are shot in colour. With an ever-expanding team of photographers and a collective wandering spirit, members of

How would you describe the objective of this project, if there is one? I really just wanted a place where my friends and I could show our photos off. Most of the contributors are on the same page as far as how they go about getting their photos. Exploration and travel, late nights, band tours…I wanted to give people the

NWF have had their works shown

opportunity to see things in the zine that they may not get around

in exhibitions and galleries

to seeing for themselves in real life.  ▶▶

across North America.

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Q&A WITH NOWHERE FAST

Nowhere Fast installation, Edmonton, AB, 2009.

If you could reduce it into words, how would you describe the

This is an obtuse question, but why film? 

overall tone of the photos? 

Photography is so over saturated, at least with film there’s some skill

98% of the photos in the zine are candid. Not to discredit anyone

and general know-how needed for a good photo. Digital cameras do

involved, but I’ve never thought of Nowhere Fast being a collective

all the work for you, then photoshop does the rest of the work for

of professional photographers. I’ve always seen it as a collective of

you. . I don’t really insist on it being all 35mm photography, it just

interesting human beings, that happen to have cameras with them

sorta happened that way.

when something memorable ends up happening. I don’t know if that answers the question. I know most of the collective is based in Canada (particularly Edmonton and Vancouver?), but where is everyone else from?  There’s people from all over, it’s tight knit though. It’s all friends, and likeminded friends of theirs. People I’ve met over the years, people I’ve been trading with forever. There’s no home base really, which is cool. I just happen to live where I live, and a lot of my dogs live in Vancouver. It’s all coincidence.

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 I ’M A FAIRLY SIMPLE GUY, I LIKE TO KEEP MOST THINGS    MINIMAL, SO A ZINE JUST MAKES SENSE. Are you working in any other mediums right now? I know you’ve fully embraced cell phone photography.  I’ve been shooting some promotional photos for a band my friend is in. Yeah, I’ve been going dumb with my iPhone since I got it. I also got


Q&A WITH NOWHERE FAST

a camcorder for christmas, so I’ve been looking for excuses to use that whenever I can. I’ve sort of been slacking lately though, to be honest. Obviously the project stems from ‘90s zine culture, and obviously I’m a big fan, but for everyone else out there - why do you think it’s important to perpetuate something that, from a technological and (mainstream) cultural perspective is dated or “retro”? I was never really making a conscience decision to perpetuate anything from the past, although I do have an immense respect for the founders of the culture. I’m a fairly simple guy, I like to keep most things minimal, so a zine just makes sense. A simple layout that works well is really all I could ask for. I also like the idea of being my own curator, publisher, and distributor. Which you’re pretty much forced to be in this game. What’s the deal with Nowhere Fast Records? Just another outlet, pretty much. I did what I could for fans of photography, and that’s all well and good, but there are many other art forms that really interest me. I wanted to use the connects I’ve already made to give music distribution a chance. I mean why not do it all? I’m just trying to take it super slow and always be aware of what’s happening, there’s only one band on the label so far, and it’s a longtime personal friend of mine, so it’s not as stressful as it could be, which I’m not exactly complaining about. What direction do you think this will go in the future? Any far off plans right now?  I have a huge list of plans for this company, that’s for sure. The record label being one of them. I’m looking to start a publishing company, publishing people’s zines, becoming a distributor for those. I’m working on some book ideas. I’m also going to give the zine a huge facelift, moving away from it being strictly photography zine, and start including drawings, interviews, design, sculpture, short stories. Same contributors, same themes, just more outlets for expression than just photography. Long term, I’d love to open a gallery/storefront. I’m not in a rush though.  ☺

TO PURCHASE ZINES & FOR MORE INFO: WWW.NOWHEREFASTCOLLECTIVE.COM

Above: Nowhere Fast spread, Issue 05; photos by A. Shaw, S. Parsons, & W. Robert Below: Photo by W. Pearson, Nowhere Fast Issue 04

ISSUE 01: MAY/JUNE 2011     

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PARTY SPOTLIGHT

LEISURE COLLECTIVE SUPPLYING THE CITY WITH THE BEST ELECTRONIC MUSIC (AND ROUNDS OF PING PONG) EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE COBALT, LEISURE’S RECENT WEBSITE UNVEILING HAS SOLIDIFIED THAT THESE BOYS MEAN BUSINESS. CHAD THIESSEN KINDLY SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON PARTY-MAKING AND CITY LIVING.

HOW DID IT ALL START?

It actually started through a conversation that Derek and I had in the hot tub at the YMCA on Burrard.  We got passes there and they quickly turned into us scheming in the hot tub.  It doesn’t exactly sound very wholesome, does it?

OBVIOUSLY YOUR FAVOURITE TRACKS AND RELEASES ARE ALL LISTED ON THE WEBSITE, BUT WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE RECORD SHOPS IN VANCOUVER?

Our computers, haha! Seriously though, Beat Street holds it down. PROS AND CONS OF LIVING IN VANCOUVER? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE

WHERE DOES THE PING PONG COME IN?

TO SEE CHANGE? 

That was part of the initial conversation, Derek had been to a night

It’s a port city and it’s largely made up of people coming and going

in Berlin where everyone played ping pong.  We thought that would

so that tends to be its upside and downside.  People tend to talk a lot

be a nice thing to do here and it’s worked.  It gives people something

about how much fun they’re not having here but it might just be the

to focus on while we goof around behind the turntables, so it’s not a

fact that they aren’t looking hard enough.  The local government has

traditional club night and people don’t have to convince their friends

been doing a lot to make this place lame with all of the venue closures

to come out and see DJ What’s His Name play records.

but all it takes is a bit of creativity.  If more people were concerned

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE AIM OF THE COLLECTIVE?

As far as the night, there’s not necessarily a concrete aim but we want

with creating fun places to hang and listen to tunes instead of making money and putting party photos on-line I think we’d all be better off.

to give electronic music more of a platform in Vancouver, especially

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? I KNOW YOU’VE MENTIONED EXPANDING INTO

the producers that we know and the records that we’re buying.  

OTHER AREAS ON THE WEBSITE, MAKING IT MORE OF A LIFESTYLE

We ultimately want to focus on all sorts of things through featuring them on the website but music has been a really natural beginning. FAVOURITE VENUES IN THE CITY?

PUBLICATION; WHAT WOULD THIS ENTAIL?

We’d like to be able to interview people from all different areas.  Actually publishing a quarterly has been something we’ve all spoken about and potentially releasing our own records.  We’ll see!  ☺

Open Studios is a great space with excellent sound and great people involved.  The Waldorf has become quite promising.  We can’t help but like The Cobalt for their support and general good vibes.

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ASCENDER MAGAZINE

FOR SHOW LISTINGS, PLAYLISTS AND MORE, VISIT: WWW.LEISURELEISURE.COM


AN ASCENDER LAW BREAKERS & MAKERS FEATURE

Vanc☻uver:

less of a party pooper? The city’s nightlife can often be summed up thusly:

ILLEGAL PARTY + ILLEGAL BOOZE SALES + OVERCROWDING = PARTY SHUTS DOWN AT 1AM.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when council kicked off the new year by considering changes that would cut the red tape for event organizers. As JOHN MACKIE reports, the days of shoving ten beers into your backpack and trying to sneak into a basement dubstep show may be over. We are fairly certain this is a good thing. ISSUE 01: MAY/JUNE 2011     

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LAW BREAKERS & MAKERS

rtists, musicians and promoters have been holding underground parties for years in warehouses and storefronts. The problem is they’re usually illegal, and when city officials catch wind of them, they shut them down. But this may be about to change. Vancouver Councillor Heather Deal thinks the city may be able to

streamline the process and relax some regulations

for temporary use. “It’s a whole different approach to regulations,” said Deal. “It’s not saying, ‘How strict can we be,’ it’s ‘What is the minimum strictness we need to apply in order to ensure health and safety, and yet allow fun, exciting, spontaneous, smaller and more flexible [events] to happen in the city?’” The city released a report identifying some of the issues last year, and is holding two open houses seeking public input this week. The first was at Mount Pleasant Community Centre Monday, the second is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today in the salons of the Queen

“DANCING WITH YOUR FRIENDS SHOULDN’T BE  ILLEGAL…[THE SYSTEM] IS SET UP FOR A SMALL  GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO OWN BARS AND CLUBS.”

Elizabeth Theatre. A staff report on “live performance venue regulations” will go to council Feb. 3. “Right now the things we are focusing on are the safety and health bylaws,” said Deal. “We’re going to be looking at the occupancy

either push culture or just have a good time with some friends, put on some music and dance,” said Wang, 25.

loads, and we’re going to be looking at the upgrades, [which] will

“Dancing with your friends shouldn’t be illegal, but it kind of seems

include things like building and fire bylaws. The bylaws right now

that they’ve made it that way. [The system] is set up for a small group

don’t discriminate between a permanent use space and a temporary

of people who own bars and clubs.”

one. If you’re just having a single event, you shouldn’t have to put sprinklers in, for instance.”

“The bureaucracy of the city is huge -- we tried to do summer parties, and doing an application for even a 50-person party outside is a nightmare, and costly,” said his friend Jordan Matt, 24.

“THE NIGHTLIFE SYSTEM IS BROKEN, THE LICENSING  SYSTEM IS BROKEN.”

Wang and Matt were among a throng of party people who attended Monday’s open house at Mount Pleasant, along with 27-year-old Michael Kushnir. “The nightlife system is broken, the licensing system is broken,” said Kushnir, who runs a monthly party called Spit at the Anza club.

Deal also would like to simplify the process.

“Because of the regulations and the late-night dance permit that’s

“Right now they have to go through multiple departments and

required, which requires months and months of advance planning,

multiple permits,” she said. “We’re trying to streamline that down

it’s very, very difficult to make something spontaneous and beautiful

to a single permit for these types of events.”

and unique.”

This is music to the ears of promoter Chris Wang.

Crystal Precious would concur.

“They’ve set up a bunch of bylaws and regulations that are extremely

Precious is a performer with the Sweet Soul Burlesque troupe,

hard to meet for young and up-and-coming people who just want to

which rented a large warehouse space dubbed The Dollhouse at 42

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LAW BREAKERS & MAKERS

West Eighth for several years. To help pay the $4,000 monthly rent, Sweet Soul would hold parties twice per month, and would get a liquor permit.

" THERE HAVE BEEN THINGS LIKE A MORATORIUM ON NEW  LIQUOR PRIMARIES IN THE DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE FOR A  LONG TIME -THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE NEEDED ANY MORE." “We were able to operate because we found a loophole allowing our properly zoned performance studio to hold two licensed events there per month,” she relates. “[But] they kept their eye on us. We didn’t have any issues there at all, but our community continued to grow. Eventually the Dollhouse became so popular, we got so many people coming to every single event [the city shut it down].” What was the problem? “I think we were technically allowed 120 people in the space, [but] I think we comfortably [could] have 200, 215 people in there,” said Precious. Precious said if the city had allowed them to do more events per month, the overcrowding problem wouldn’t have been an issue. “Because they would only let us have two liquor licences a month, we felt a lot of pressure to have these big ragers, because we would sell more booze,” she explained. “Which is hilarious. If we had four liquor licences a month, we could have done more low-key, arty events, we would have done more cabaret stuff. But we had to sell a

Above: favourite underground venue for the better part of a decade, the Peanut Gallery closed its doors in 2010 after a series of party busts. Nothing has quite measured up to it since.

certain amount of liquor to make our rent.” “We’re going to be asking staff to update our whole liquor law system,” said Deal. “In general. We share that with the province, but the city needs to review what we allow. There have been things like a moratorium on new liquor primaries in the Downtown Eastside for a long time -that may or may not be needed any more. “I am really interested in pursuing the idea of various small venues that are liquor primary in neighbourhoods, so that there [could be] a small neighbourhood pub ... “This would be an opportunity to go to a place that wouldn’t be overly loud for a neighbourhood, that wouldn’t stay open ‘til three in the morning, but would provide the opportunity to go out in your neighbourhood.” ☺

Proposals for the new venue changes are modelled after Berlin’s notorious nightlife scene and lax drinks laws.

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CITY SNOOPING

BI-MONTHLY DESCENDERS GUILT & COMPANY 1 ALEXANDRA ST. HIDDEN BENEATH GASTOWN’S CHILL WINSTON WITH ONLY AN ETCHED, 19TH CENTURY HAND POINTING THE WAY LIES GUILT & CO., A THEME/NON-THEMED DEN SPECIALIZING IN MIXED DRINKS, SMALL EATS AND OLD WORLD CHARM. CHECK THE LISTINGS FOR LIVE MUSIC HAPPENING AT LEAST FIVE DAYS A WEEK, AND GET NOSTALGIC OVER THEIR BOARD GAME SELECTION. IT SEEMS LIKE THERE’S A MISHMASH OF THINGS GOING ON HERE, BUT THEY’RE FUN IN THAT “RELAXED SENSORY OVERLOAD” KIND OF WAY.

♠ WHAT

TO DRINK:

Named after the Stone Roses track, the

“I Wanna Be Adored” cocktail is a hit: soho, lime, cucumber & soda all playing together. $9

♦ WHAT TO EAT: The Fraser Valley cheese plate is a steal with 5

LUCKY'S COMICS 3972 MAIN STREET DON'T LET ITS BRIGHT, LEPRECHAUN-LAIR EXTERIOR FOOL YOU - THIS PURVEYOR OF ALL THINGS UNIQUELY GRAPHIC AND LITERARY IS SOMETIMES THE PLACE TO GO FOR LIVE THRASH METAL SHOWS AND WILD ART OPENING PARTIES. ARGUABLY THE SMALLEST VENUE IN THE CITY, LUCKY'S WILL OPEN IT'S BACK DOORS FOR PARTY SPILLAGE SO YOU CAN BREATHE NORMALLY.

local and international cheeses, house made tapenade and mango

♠ WHAT

chutney, flat bread and artisanal crackers. $16-$22

promoting zine culture and alternative reads, Lucky's is stocked full

♥ PROS: Peep the Board Game Menu for a childhood treat. Playing Snakes and Ladders with your

TO BUY:

One of the few places in the city actively

of gems that range from mainstream graphic novels to something your neighbor photocopied in 1999. They're also stocking the

adult friends is way better whilst tipsy.

records du jour which you can

Or meet some new friends over a game of giant

ask to preview before buying. In

jenga, where each piece is the size of a brick. ▶▶

store now: Everyone Poops by

Maybe best of all, there's no TV to watch the game.

Tarō Gomi. ◀◀

♣ CONS: Depending on your music tastes, you might want to check the live show listings ahead

♥ PROS: Everything about it. ♣ CONS: Nothing, except for the

of time or you may suffer in Nu-Jazz hell. And

fact that they didn't hire me five

for some reason the servers are all dressed in

years ago even though I asked 4

fedoras and suspenders in some kind of attempt

times in three weeks.

at a uniform. (Note biased hate for fedoras.)

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ASCENDER MAGAZINE

-MELANIE KWAN


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