Issue 7 December 2016
Image by Twisted Time Studios
Editor-in-Chief Katie Stobbart
Publisher Anthony Biondi
Associate Editor Nick Ubels
Ad Sales Representative Dessa Bayrock
Events Coordinator Sasha Moedt
Communications Manager Jess Wind
FRESH curators Alex Rake - Fiction Aymee Leake - Art
Anthony Biondi Martin Castro Alex Rake Laura Schneider Katie Stobbart Jess Wind
Raspberry publishes letters to the editor of 150 words or less. Letters should be sent via email to email@example.com. The editors reserve the right not to print a letter for any reason. If you have a tip for arts, culture, or community coverage, let us know.
Boardwalk Cafe passes Go in Downtown Abbotsford Darin and Gabby Graham embark on the journey of bringing a board game cafĂŠ in the growing Downtown Abbotsford.
On the cover Dinosaurs shoot their way into World War III p.24
Features gold gloom and the Abby music scene p.10
Columns December FRESH Picks p.22 Local Harvest: a review of books p.28 FRESH Fiction by Martin Castro p.31 State of the Arts p.34 Art on the Wing p.38 FRESH Art by Kenzie Dyck p.41
The Red Press Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the growth of the literary arts in the Fraser Valley; publishing works which stimulate local arts and culture, including Raspberry magazine; and promoting awareness and readership of contemporary Canadian literature.
This is our culture “… I keep this from my children. I am trying to sell them the world. Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.” —Maggie Smith, “Good Bones”
we need to defend it Raspberry Magazine
n the night of the American presidential election, I was with friends playing a game called Boss Monsters. In it, each player acts as a monster-like “boss,” and places cards to build a fantasy dungeon where heroes come to be defeated. I returned home late at night and skimmed my news feed, hoping the “boss” in the election would not prevail.
White supremacy spreads north Shortly thereafter, Canadian politician Kellie Leitch declared Donald Trump’s victory “an exciting message that needs to be delivered in Canada as well.” It’s unsettling to hear a prominent candidate for the federal Conservative leadership — along with the KKK and other white supremacists calling themselves the “alt-right” — celebrate the success of a sexist, racist president-elect. Then, in the next breath, Leitch pledges to screen immigrants for “anti-Canadian values,” which recalls the Conservatives’ proposal she supported in 2015 for a Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, complete with tip hotline.
Good news is hard to find The night of the election, I was ready to give up scrolling when a photo stood out to me. It featured two snails, one with a shell that looked askew. The headline: “Despite one-in-a-million odds, Jeremy the lonely snail has found a lover.” Amid the election news, propaganda,
despair, and vitriol on social media, Jeremy was quietly celebrating this simple, lovely thing. By most standards, and outside interested scientists, such an event seems unimportant and insignificant; it was as if the CBC knew its readers might need to be transported for a moment to a world that was truly ignorant of our politics. Perhaps this says something about journalists as storytellers.
What are Canadian values? Not long after voicing her commitment to “Canadian values” (though her definition doesn’t seem to include multiculturalism), Leitch declared that the CBC should be dismantled. Apparently her definition of Canadian values also fails to include our public broadcaster. According to the Canadian Press, Leitch “says it’s unfair that while private media companies are struggling to stay afloat, the CBC is able to rely on federal subsidies.” Considering the cuts the CBC, like its non-publicly funded contemporaries, has had to cope with over the past few decades, such a statement is unfounded. In fact, in 2012, the former head of CBC’s English services, Richard Stursberg, was quoted: “The CBC has not had any increases, it has only had decreases, in its permanent funding for 30 or 40 years” (The Tyee). Swallowing a knot of dread, I clicked to read the comments on Leitch’s declaration. At time of reading, I was delight-
"The one thing that survives all political rhetoric ... is the arts." — Richard Blanco
ed to see every commenter enthusiastically defending the CBC, and insisting we protect our publicly funded journalism.
The truth in art Another post-election boon for arts and culture was an unexpected surge of interest in poetry. The Atlantic and other prominent publications recognized poetry’s rise in popularity, and many others published lists of links to relevant poems for people searching for truth and guidance. Wired reported that Poets.org stats soared on November 8 and 9, with poem shares and retweets multiplying fivefold or more. The article, “Don’t look now, but 2016 is resurrecting poetry,” quotes Richard Blanco, the US’s fifth inaugural poet: “The one thing that survives all civilization, that survives all political rhetoric, that survives all regimes, is the arts … That’s why you see Michelangelo and see truth there, or read a poem from 200 years ago that’s still true today.”
“Post-truth” is pure wind Contrarily, there has also been a rise in a disturbing, perhaps anti-poetic term, which was named international word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries: “posttruth.” It’s an Orwellian euphemism that means “lying.” Yet “post-truth” is a lie lying about its true nature: it introduces itself not as truth’s opposite, but as what comes after truth. The next time you hear or see “posttruth” in context, consider it literally. What comes after truth? Peace or conflict; freedom or fetters; acceptance or denial. It is much easier to accept the lie than to face these antitheses — but by using the term, you become complicit in the lie and the political agenda that lie pushes forward. One of the most apt commentaries on this comes to us from George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” Either 70 years ahead of his time, or reinforcing the idea that history is cyclical, Orwell wrote: “Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties,
from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
Smoothing the holy surfaces We cannot be in a state “after truth,” because truth still exists, even if it is hard to find outside poetry, patience, and love. The world needs more of it; it needs, as the celebrated Canadian poet PK Page wrote in her poem “Planet Earth,” “to be burnished and rubbed / by hands that are loving … newly in love, we must draw it and paint it / our pencils and brushes and loving caresses / smoothing the holy surfaces.” The truth of the world needs to be loved and defended, even when it is saying what we would rather not hear. Perhaps naively, I hope to see poets, artists, journalists, and more rise as our champions, as our heroes, as — I fear — we descend into the dark.
Softening up the Valley A conversation with gold gloom
Martin Castro Images from gold gloom facebook
Gold gloom describe themselves as “two girls from the Fraser Valley making sad dreamy tunes in their bedrooms.” While a quick, superficial glance at their bandcamp page might paint the duo as trying to mine the depths of their angst and insecurity without a focus, a more patient listen of their work reveals the purpose of the project itself. Cara Edwards and Ella Kosovic, the duo that comprises gold gloom, spoke with Raspberry about their project, and whether the Fraser Valley’s rag-tag music scene is as inclusive as we like to say it is. “I think [writing music] has been very cathartic,” Cara says. “Instead of just talking about it, it allows you to convey those feelings and what going through something like that feels like.” Ella echoes the sentiment, saying that although listeners might not “get exactly the same feeling” that the pair set out to address in writing a particular track, “it’s still something.” Most of the time, the pair explains, that feeling is angst. “A lot of my own songs are still very angsty. They’re just not yelly-angsty. [They’re] more sadangsty.” For the moment, gold gloom's unique sound is most easily found online. While live music in their hometown Abbotsford is enjoyable, Ella notes that the local scene is "not very welcoming, not something that I would want to play at." She adds that it has "a very strange, very male-dominated atmosphere." Cara and Ella both went to school together, and Cara says they’ve “always been surrounded by very feminine energy. So [Abbotsford’s music scene] is kind of a weird world to be thrown into.”
The Fraser Valley music scene is thriving, but has been characterized as overwhelmingly punk. In fact just this last week, a loud, garage-rock band was described to me as “very Abbotsford.” It’s this loudness that, in part, that alienates acts like gold gloom. “I’ve talked to a couple of people that are involved in the music scene” Ella says. “They’ll find out that I have, I guess, a band. But it’s not really a band to them; we don’t play in punk shows.” The bulk of bands and concert-goers in Abbotsford, have, unwittingly (or so it would seem), created a genre-specific structure that some artists are having trouble breaking into. “It can be very dismissive. You don’t want to call yourself ‘a band.’ And I don’t know if we consider ourselves a band,” Cara muses. “It’s more of a group or a project.” Despite their apparent disenfranchisement within the immediate Fraser Valley music community, Cara and Ella are convinced of their place within that structure, even as they go out to Vancouver and integrate themselves within the community of artists there. “I think adding that softer side to things is natural.” Cara says. “The goal is to allow femininity to be as powerful. You don’t have to be loud and yell to be heard.” This more feminine, softer approach, Cara says, would be “something new to bring to the community.” Not just new, but needed.
fun and games at the new
Anthony Biondi Photos by Katie Stobbart
Abbotsford is finally getting its own board game café, where, for a small cover charge, anyone can come in and access a vast library of board games to play, with an accompanying menu of food and drinks to order. Boardwalk Cafe is opening in Downtown Abbotsford on Montrose, right between Mad Dogs and Black & Lee. Upon opening, they plan to have two-hundred and fifty to three-hundred games. Board game cafés aren’t a new concept. They have been appearing in places such as downtown Vancouver and on the Island. With the positive growth of the Abbotsford downtown it was only a matter of time before one of these shops opened. It is the perfect blend of community and hobby that the downtown has been growing into. I had a conversation with one of the owners, Darin Graham. He showed me around the café and showcased some of the board games he will have upon opening.
What made you want to open up a board game café? Equal parts entrepreneurship and desperation. We had been to one in Edmonton and really enjoyed the experience and thought that Abbotsford could really benefit from something like this. Something that is very socially centered, something that gives people an opportunity to connect with one another. That’s one thing that we have seen in the community already with different businesses opening up. Just different ways for people to spend time with one another that isn’t just necessarily just going to watch a movie. There are limited options. We just saw this concept as something that we think could really work. So, then we decided to do it.
I think it’s a bit too tall of a task to know how to play all of them. But, most of them, I think is within reason.
That’s a nice classic Payday there. We had a bunch of games given to us, and that was one of them.
I thought maybe it was a family relic. No. Our family didn’t really play a lot growing up. We had Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Scattergories, and that was about it. We don’t really have any family heirloom games. If we did, it would be Stock Ticker, but I can’t find a copy of Stock Ticker anywhere.
Do you have to memorize the rules of all the games?
You and your wife both own this store; why don’t you tell us a little about yourselves?
I have a working understanding of many of them. And usually that’s what I do when my wife goes to sleep. I’ll stay up watching YouTube videos on how to play these games. Because, it’s important when people come in — and maybe they’re not familiar with a lot of the games — to have a bit of knowledge on some of the popular ones. So, we’ll know most of them.
Originally, I’m from the south Okanagan. I moved out to Abbotsford, about 10 years ago to go to college, and just never left. I really enjoyed it out here. My wife was born and raised in Aldergrove, and her family is still all there. We’ve just really grown to love the Fraser Valley, and love Abbotsford. So, we kinda stuck it out here.
You’ve mentioned you looked to this business in Edmonton for inspiration. What’s your takeaway from that? And what do you plan to do differently? We’ve seen a couple of different models, from the one we went to in Edmonton to the one that’s happening on Vancouver Island. There’s a really good one in Victoria. Even different places in Vancouver are kind of pursuing this sort of thing. They all approach it a little bit differently. But, the key things that we’ve had at the centre of our idea is to make this place as accessible as possible. [Board gaming] can be a challenging hobby to get into, and I think a lot of people have some misconceptions about board gaming and tabletop gaming. Either that it’s boring or that it’s especially nerdy. The truth is, more than anything, it’s just a lot of fun. It’s just a way to connect with other people. That’s why we valued having a high visual aesthetic. We want it to be an appealing place for people to spend their time. We want it to be central in the community itself. That’s why we tried to find a location much like this one. We tried to brand ourselves in such a way that isn’t intimidating, or isn’t a turn off. As well, we’re pursuing getting our liquor licence. We think that is important, but pursuing it in such a way that this place is still accessible to minors and teenagers. So, we’ll be having our food-primary liquor licence which allows us to have minors on the premises.
What sort of time frame are you looking at for opening? We’re hoping for early December. We haven’t really set a final date for that. It’s just kind of dependant on a number of things falling into place. Getting our washroom finished, and that sort of thing, is pretty determinative. Also, giving ample time to our kickstarter campaign is pretty important to us. We have some rewards to that that are tied to our opening. So, we want to have that finished before we open.
What are your hours going to be like? Are you going to be an afternoon lunch place, or an evening hang out? More evenings. We anticipate that throughout the week — so Tuesday through Thursday — we will be open from two or three in the afternoon to about 10 or 11 at night. Then on Fridays
we’ll be open until midnight. Saturdays, probably 10 a.m. until midnight. Sunday will be some variation on that. We will have food that people could eat for lunch, but that is not the primary purpose of our existence. We want people to connect outside of those meal times, maybe. But we want to make sure that we’re open late, because there are really very few options for what to do after dinner time.
How has your experience been opening this place? It’s had its ups and downs for sure. Overall it’s been a very positive experience. We’ve had a lot of people that have come alongside of us and encouraged us, and walked with us on the journey, but there have been many challenges. There’ve been times when we’ve just been really exhausted and asking ourselves, “what are we doing” and “why are we doing this,” but right now we’re just really ex-
cited. We’ve just turned some corners and been able to tie some things up, and really get towards the goal.
This building is starting to look pretty close to a finished product. Yeah. It got real when we made the chairs. Tables are one thing. Having all the light fixtures changed was another. Having the games was great. But, having chairs in here, and seeing it look like a place where people would come was incredible. The first night, when we had all the chairs, I went around and flipped them all upside down and put them on the table, and realized that this was the next chapter of my life. Just flipping these chairs over and sweeping the floor, and it was really exciting. Even when we got our first resume, or first inquiry for employment that was from someone that we had no mutual friends with on Facebook, that’s when it became a little bit more incredible to us. It was moving beyond our normal spheres of influence.
Well it’s great for the hobby too. Sometimes board games can be expensive to buy, especially if you’re not familiar with the game. But, here you can come in and pay the cover and try anything. We see that. In the greater hobby of board gaming there is slowly becoming a large conglomerate of companies, owned by a company called Asmodee, and they own a lot of the other board game publishers. Which, has kind of created for them a “Monopoly.” What it results in is
the price of board gaming as a hobby is getting higher. So is the cost of living. So you have to make these choices of where you’re going to spend your money. So, we think, even from that standpoint, we are going to be able to provide a service to people, where those games that they would want to play but can’t necessarily afford, or would purchase if only they knew if they would like it. I think that we can help with that.
It can be hard sometimes to find good comprehensive reviews of board games. Even if you watch a couple videos on Youtube, and kinda get an idea. I’ve had it: we’ve had a game on the shelf here, Smash Up — I watched these videos, I read about it, and I went out and purchased it, and I really like it… No one else that I play games with does. I spent all this money on this game and two expansions and I don’t even get to play it, because nobody likes it.
Hopefully someone, someday will come in and pick it up. Absolutely. But, when you’re going to go out and spend your hard-earned dollars, it’s important to know that what you’re spending it on is going to be a good investment.
There are a few board game shops in town, including Nerd Haven games just around the corner: what kind of relationship have you built with the local gaming shops?
We haven’t necessarily, from a business standpoint, done that. But I’ve bought many games from them, and some of them are sitting on our shelves. Same with the Phoenix Nest, which is the other board game shop on Clearbrook. Ultimately, I think, we can benefit one another. We’re not going to start with a retail section here, so people can’t, at this point in time, purchase games here. But, we sure hope that they do purchase them from the stores here in town. And, I hope that when people go to those places and say, “oh, I’m interested in buying this game but I don’t know if I’d like it,” that they’d recommend that they come here to try it out. I hope that we can have a symbiotic relationship with them. We want to have a good relationship with those guys. They’ve been here longer than we have, and they’ve invested in this community already. So, we want to see them do well. And I think, honestly, that a rising tide lifts all ships. The more people that are shopping downtown, the better it is for all the businesses that are down here.
Do you ever plan on hosting any major events here? We’ve talked about doing different events, and we’ll probably keep them centered around “events” rather than around games. I know that many people have asked if we’re going to do different tournaments or what not, and we’re probably going to stay away from that. There are other stores in town that already do that, and do them really well.
We don’t want to infringe on that. We want to work on getting as many people into this hobby as possible. Having that accessible atmosphere works better if we’re not doing tournaments for games, but we are definitely going to be having some special events. We are looking at doing our grand opening. We’ve also seriously discussed doing singles nights, and that sort of thing. We want to do a family games night, on a regular basis, where it’s easier and cheaper for parents to bring their kids out to play games. I think that that’s very valuable for families. There’s no better way to connect with someone than to do something tactile together. There are some really good cooperative games where families can come in and work on something together. We would love to do something for New Year’s. We wished we had been open for Halloween, because we could have had a rockin’ Halloween party. We’re definitely into doing those special events. Some of them we’ve already talked about doing them as a way to support our community. We really value the work that the Cyrus Centre is doing in Abbotsford. Fighting against youth homelessness, which is an issue that we don’t talk about very much. We want to do something to partner with them. We had a friend that worked there, and took us to their auction, and we really just fell in love with what they’re trying to do. So, we really want to work something out with them that can benefit our community. That’s important to us. We’re nothing without our community.
"The first night, when we had all the chairs, I went around and flipped them all upside down and put them on the table, and realized that this was the next chapter of my life." What does success look like for you, in this business? We’ve measured it in two ways, or at least I have, in my head. One branch of success for us is if we can pay off our small business loan. If we can do that, and if we fold the next day, I guess that’s okay. But, more than anything, success for us, is establishing a place that people can connect with one another, and where we can connect with them. That’s really been the primary focus of what we’re trying to do. How we measure that is really difficult, but I think we’ll know when we know.
Those are very noble aspirations. It’s nice a to see a business focus on community driven imperatives. Well, we could have done other things. I could have gotten another job, but we saw that this could be something that
benefits our community and benefits us. Every person that comes in here and leaves having had a good time, is a pat on the back for us.
You’ve mentioned before that you weren’t ready to release your menu yet. Do you have any sneak previews for us about what you’d potentially be serving? Definitely. We’re doing probably just three sandwiches that are quite simple. All of which will be as locally sourced as possible. So, we’ve been talking with Lepp Farms about getting a lot of product through them. We’ve been talking to the Mt. Lehman Cheese Company to get cheese from them. Hopefully all of our bread will be brought in by A Bread Affair, which is out of Langley. So, really, all of our stuff comes back to community. We don’t want to get stuff from Costco. We’re going to do three sandwiches. One will be a ham and swiss. I’m real-
ly excited for our turkey sandwich. It’s going to be turkey with cranberry, and it’s going to taste like Thanksgiving dinner. We’re going to do a meat and cheese board, like a charcuterie. Again, that meat’s all going to come from Lepps, and that cheese is all going to come from Mt. Lehman Cheese Co., with some pickled vegetables, and it’s going to be delicious.
You’ll be doing local craft beer too? That’s right. We’ve connected with Ravens and Field House. We’re looking at who else to get in for that. We’re also going to only host BC wines as well. That’s something that’s important to us. My family coming from the south Okanagan, just about all of them work at wineries.
Even the non-alcoholic drinks we will be providing are as locally sourced as possible. We’re still deciding on who to get for coffee. But we have Good Drink, which is based out of Langley. They have some incredible bottled teas. We’re partnering with a relatively new company out of Chilliwack called New Moon Tea. They’re going to be providing all of our tea. For baked goods, we’re partnering with a woman named Linda Baker, which is a fitting name. She’s going to be doing some baking for us, which is pretty exciting.
Boardwalk Cafe plans on opening in early December, following their Kickstarter campaign, which recently surpassed its goal of five-thousand dollars.
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fresh picks Music Rockland Moran at Crimson Cafe
December 2 at 9:30 PM
Cover is by donation. Come enjoy Rockland Moran doing a solo show. Food and drink will be served with $3.75 Lucky on tap. Crimson CafĂŠ 33790 Essendene Ave, Abbotsford
Blues Night with Blue Moon Marquee December 3 at 7PM - 9:30PM
Quoted as a gypsy-noir duo, Blue Moon Marquee comes to Chilliwack all the way from Alberta. Step into some inspiring blues music for an evening at the Tractorgrease Cafe. Tractorgrease Cafe 48710 Chilliwack Lake Road, Chilliwack
Community December 3 at 1 PM - 4 PM
Break the Silence, Stop the Violence 2016 Come in rememberance of a the 14 women who were gunned down at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal in December of 1989. The event will host guest speakers, music, and a poetry recital by local high-school students. It is encouraged to bring used shoes and toiletries as donation for women in shelters. The Reach Gallery Museum 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford
December 2016 Army of Sass Fall Show: The Grinch The Goddess Movement is writing their own version of the Grinch, modernizing the classic Christmas tale into a sassy, edgy show with "killer music, high heels, hot hip hop, street jazz, and saucy hip rolls."
December 3 at 1 PM - 4 PM
The Goddess Movement 1919 Sumas Way, Abbotsford
What Islam Is All About Come to learn and discuss Islamic culture in order to clarify any misconceptions about the religion and culture. International speakers Daood Butt and Tasneem Ghauri come to educate the community, and answer any questions. Abbotsford Legacy Sports Centre #4 3270 Tretheway Street, Abbotsford
Christmas Masquerade Ball Hosted by Suburban Swing, the 16th annual ball kicks off with live music by the Bruce James Orchestra. There are beginner dance lessons at 7:30 until 8 p.m., but will include social dancing and ice skating during the event. There is a formal dress code, and tickets are $45 with discounts for students and early-bird purchases.
December 11 at 5 PM - 7 PM
December 18 at 7PM - 12 PM
Abbotsford Centre 33800 King Road, Abbotsford
World War III! Dinosaurs with guns!
Social issues! Alex Rake
Images from: extinctionag.com
"But how old do I look?" “Somewhere between 20 and 30, I guess. 25?” My answer is so broad it couldn’t possibly be wrong. He smiles. He shakes his head. “I’m afraid not,” he says. Mario Funderburk is the 19-year-old leader and head developer of Twisted Time Studios. Currently, they are developing a game called Extinction: Archaic Genesis (EAG), a tactical shooter that pits humans against gun-toting dinosaurs in a world gone wrong. His team consists of artists and developers from all over the world, including Mexico, India, and our very own Fraser Valley. This is their first project.
The game itself, according to Funderburk, will be “a semi-realistic tactical approach … a mix between Battlefield, Overwatch, Ark, and Crysis.” It will be primarily multiplayer, with a co-operative story mode added some time after the initial release. One of Funderburk’s hopes for the game is to use the medium to tackle social issues affecting the world today. In an online developer’s blog entitled “Battling Stereotypes,” Funderburk writes that “it is indeed exciting to be fighting a five-metre-tall biting machine with guns (or to be that five-metre-tall biting machine with guns) but that is not as deep as it goes.” “We want to use it as a way of expression,” Funderburk tells me, “to share messages with the audience in a way that they would appreciate, whether that be by sharing people’s stories or interesting issues affecting the world today. “We’re trying to connect with the com-
munity in a more humane way. I mean, yes, there’s combat and gore, there’s action, but there’s also this more humane area [of storytelling] that I feel a lot of games are lacking. Usually there’s a villain, but it’s very flat, and usually there’s nothing more than pressing a couple buttons.” I ask whether he thinks of video games as an art form. “Yes,” he says. “I also think video games have been focusing a little too much on trying to achieve real life, and real life is not necessarily artistic on a day-to-day basis. You don’t experience every artistic experience in real life — or at least, I haven’t had the chance to. “I think that’s why the video game industry was so successful in the first place,” he continues. “You could get into a life full of art and experience the full range, and I think that’s something we need to get back to.” Growing up a fan of the Mario and Zel-
da franchises, I wonder if these are the kinds of games he’s talking about. I’m not far off. “Interestingly, almost all of these [artistic games] are single-player. I have played very little multiplayer games that have tried to focus also on the immersion of the story and have tried to provide the player a deeper meaning about what they’re actually doing in this world they’re put into … From the artistic and compositional perspective, I strongly think we need to get a little bit more in terms of connecting to the player.” The diversity of the Twisted Time Studios team, recruited through such disparate methods as Facebook and Craigslist (“Craigslist was a fun ride,” laughs Funderburk), is one of the ways they have been able to keep storytelling at the forefront of EAG’s development. “It can be a challenge, putting so many different cultures together,” Funderburk explains, a little exasperated. “But [our team] is not only from different cultures but from different sides, different locations of the world! So that’s given us a good overview of what’s an issue, what’s an exaggeration, and most importantly what is needed to be addressed.” Beyond artistic vision, the game’s development is apparently going according to schedule. I tell Funderburk it sounds like he’s got things on track, and that’s
when he asks me to guess his age. “You’re running all of this as a 19-yearold!” I look over at the week-old pile of dishes in my sink and question my own life choices. “Yup, it’s been tough. But it’s fun!” he says. “I started programming when I was 13, started messing around with Unity [a game programming tool] when I was 15, and I started getting into little projects just to get a little more experience when I was 17.” Now creating EAG with his own company, he expects it to be a success. “From what we’ve play-tested so far, we’ve got some pretty positive feedback. Also we’ve gotten pretty good content acceptance, like most people who I tell it’s a third-person shooter, dinosaurs with guns, night setting, they’re like, ‘Can I try it?’” An open beta of Extinction: Archaic Genesis launches January 2017. Time will tell whether Twisted Time Studios is successful in their mission to bring socially-conscious storytelling into the world of multiplayer shooters. Either way, there will be dinosaurs. With guns.
Local harvest Home grown Westcoasters Dessa Bayrock and Jess Wind bringing you some local literary flavour. We review works set in the valley, written by authors from the valley, or that have that British Columbia, Fraser Valley vibe. Come back each month to see what the Fraser Valley has to offer.
Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor “It wasn’t a question of being opposed to imported ingredients, but of preference, of allegiance, of knowing what goodness came from the earth around you, from the soil under your feet.” Timothy Taylor’s Stanley Park is one part food writing, one part social advocacy, and one part artist’s journey. It unfolds gently, only revealing itself to you in memories and moments until, like Jeremy, you’re in over your head. Jeremy returns from culinary school and apprenticeship in France with a dream to open a restaurant in Vancouver that is Vancouver. Local ingredients, local decor, local talent. We meet him when he has already established his business and is juggling the workload of head chef and business owner. He’s ragged and inspired and we recognize his stress as the perks of being a working artist. I get it Jeremy, right now more than ever. You have this thing you believe in with your whole self. You throw yourself into that thing, surround yourself with people who believe in it too. You think you plan for it and all it’s growing pains. But you’re wrong. It’s bigger than you, it eats you up, chews on you a little bit, and then spits you out all broken and damaged. Now what.
Jess Wind Taylor’s Stanley Park nudged me to consider insecurities in my own passion and creativity that I hadn’t even realized existed. When Jeremy swipes a nearmaxed credit card, borrows from one to pay the other, anxiety for my own financial situation creeps in. When he admits the defeat of his dream and becomes what the industry wants him to be, I take a hard look at the kinds of jobs I’m applying to. Taylor asks about the relationship between success and stability, and passion and artistic fulfillment: what is gained, and what is lost? Jeremy’s vision for a West Coast menu speaks to the connection of food to place. He develops recipes from the roots of the land, appreciates the soil from which the
ingredients originate, and serves it back to those responsible — “high-end urban rubber-boot food.” Full circle. Set nearly 20 years ago, Stanley Park exists in a time before the locally inspired food trend that now pervades this area. If The Monkey’s Paw Bistro opened now, Jeremy would have a whole localised industry to compete with, not simply the displaced, disconnected palates of Vancouver’s diners. Only after reconnecting with his estranged father, The Professor, does Jeremy learn what a connection to place really means. His father explains why his decades-long research has him living in the woods of Stanley Park with its homeless inhabitants. “It’s about roots and place. It’s about how people relate to the land on which they stand. In our rootless day and age, our time of strange cultural homelessness—and worse, our societal amnesia about what used to constitute both the rewards and limitations of those roots…” The Professor gets it. It’s why we do what we do as artists and creators; why we pour ourselves into our creativity; why we embrace the struggle and the ramen noodles; why, perhaps, I have come back to this place, despite uncertainties. Short of a direct call to action, Taylor’s
Stanley Park addresses the project of so many artists, researchers, social activists: the story is here, the work is here, on the paths we tread every day. Look up. This is where we go to work. The story is as much Stanley Park’s as it is Jeremy’s. The park functions as a character of its own. It moves, it grows, and it experiences conflict and resolution. We see its vulnerabilities, its secrets, its ability to give and to take. We feel for the park as we might feel for a nostalgic, tragic character. Taylor’s establishment of place feels so genuine and honest that you recognize the park, not from your own memories, but from Jeremy’s or his father’s. Taylor’s honesty continues throughout the novel. His characters are raw, flawed and uncommunicative. More is said in between lines of dialogue, in the character’s thoughts and perceptions of the world around them. While not a cautionary tale, he navigates the vulnerability of Jeremy’s situation and the imbalance of power it leads to with
the protectiveness of a good mentor. He pulls back the salal bush curtain of a well-trodden Vancouver hotspot and shows us what we do not see. Stanley Park brought more to the table than I expected of it and I’m lucky for it. If you’re looking to feel rooted to your work and to this place, pick up this book. If you’re looking for a story of triumph over the corporate giant, pick up this book. If you’re looking for some drool-worthy West Coast culinary writing, pick up this book. “If it has gone well, the moment of understanding about what has been accomplished arrives just before the crest of the hill, just before your objective. Then you reach the summit and for a while there is nothing but the summit. No ascent behind you. No descent ahead. It’s all finished and the finishing is everything.”
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fresh fiction A selection of three poems by Martin Castro
funerary afterparty Lean on the brown ledge looking out or maybe at the prism dew suspended on the windowpane count brown leaves struck down by rain. Mesmerized by the violence of it all. in white hands an empty ashtray, the veins protruding up the wrist. cradle hands on knees, ashtray pulling at stiff cotton. behind me she creaks a step forward and drapes a hand by my neck
can I have a drag?
can I borrow your jacket?
Image by Kat Northern Lights/ flickr
I find myself drawn mostly to the women who remind me that caring is not a one-time indulgence when convenient or a decision to be proud of. She says, it is our finest vice. But Iâ€™ve walked through salt wind naked long enough to know that calloused hands do not condition; dipped in honey they remain as rough. Whoever told us love was universal read it blind on the cracked bleeding lips of a boy raised mute in a brothel. I tell her this through a shared cigarette outside, she ripples by the moon. Holds me for the first time. As we walk back in her breathing deafens me.
looking inside a house eleventwelve dim streetlight rushing past like silk walking around a house, looking inside windows, seeing the light on, nobodyâ€™s home. eleven twelve p m all the houses are asleep except apparently this one Eastern window linoleum chipped crumb plate by the sugar living room sofa silhouetted in the distance the grass still wet with the rain from 4 hours ago but lush! green! shuddering under porchlight the siding with moss sofa crumbs all too plastic. This is what happens i am out
State of the Arts
Examining histories and futures for the Fraser Valley at The Reach Gallery Museum Laura Schneider Executive Director & Curator The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
2017 will be an exciting year across Canada as the country celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. Our history as a nation has been fraught with the complexities inherent to colonial activity. For this reason, The Reach Gallery Museum is using this important opportunity to reflect on Canada’s 150th year with exhibitions and programming that will address concepts of decolonization and re/conciliation. In the words of Justice Murray Sinclair: “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem, it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.” Using The Reach’s identity as a Gallery Museum, many of its upcoming exhibitions will combine artistic and historical content to address the legacy of colonialism in the Fraser Valley. Projects by both settler and Indigenous contributors come together to consider the myths of civilization and progress that underpin Canadian identity, suggesting that the destructive impacts of our shared colonial heritage must be assessed through a closer examination of institutions and ideologies that inform our history. In the 2017 Winter/Spring season, four significant exhibitions will consider the framing of colonial history, and address cultural continuity in Indigenous communities. These projects are rooted specifically in the Stó:lō territory now known as the Fraser Valley. The Reach is honoured to host Sq’éwlets: A Stó:lo-Coast Salish Community in the Fraser River Valley, an exhibition that marks the launch of a significant Virtual Museum of Canada online experience by the same name. The online project is the culmination of a major interdisciplinary, cross-cultural
collaboration. The project team writes: “Our project at Sq’e´wlets is the work of community leaders, anthropologists, historians, media specialists, and other content experts. It stems from a collaborative relationship formed 25 years ago between Chief Clarence Pennier of Sq’e´wlets, Archaeology Professor Michael Blake of UBC, and researchers at Sto´:lo Nation. Based on several decades of community-based archaeology, oral history, and ethnohistorical work, and the recent production of short video documentaries, the website … presents a long-term perspective of what it means to be a Sq’e´wlets person and community member today.” The exhibition will bring together a large-scale photographic installation, a documentary video screening space, and installation elements representing ancestral history and present day community to highlight Sq’éwlets’ perspectives on self-representation and ownership of cultural heritage. In Grand Theft Terra Firma, settler artists David Campion and Sandra Shields appropriate the visual language of digital gaming to reframe the colonial settlement of Canada as a complex heist masterminded by criminals in London and played out on the ground by a gang of thieves. Combining photography, installation, and performance, the work utilizes gaming and humor to tackle settler responsibility and contest the celebratory versions of colonial history. Large-scale photographic portraits of game characters—archetypes like The Royal Engineer, The Pioneer and The Whiskey Trader—subvert our understanding of their role in the conquest of new lands and point to the ubiquity of these archetypes in the narrative of Ca-
Left: Carrielynn Victor, Ts'usqun, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x40 in.
nadian history. A series of photographs mimicking “screen shots” represent decisive game play moments for the characters, which are also key moments in local history. Achieved in collaboration with members of Stó:lō Nation, these photos portray the perpetrators in period costume while Indigenous people wear contemporary clothes, emphasizing the impact of past events on present-day communities. Installation elements, like a reproduction of the backdrop used by an early Fraser Valley photographer that appears in the game character portraits, connect the photographic works to the gallery. Blending fictional characters with elements drawn from historical record, the artists create an ambiguous space where audiences are asked to consider their own relationship to colonial practices. Emerging Coast Salish artist Carrielynn Victor will present Poison, Pattern, Paradigm. The artist has created this new body of work utilizing traditional formal elements from Stó:lō culture—the crescent, the trigon, and the chevron— in a series of vibrant paintings that recount aspects of Stó:lō stories and worldview, while simultaneously drawing from her lived experience and our collective immersion in popular culture. Victor is an artist, fisher, plant harvester and medicines practitioner whose work fuses ancestral knowledge and a deep connection to her culture with contemporary techniques and styles. Her practice considers gender and sexuality, community, interconnectedness, land, and sustainability. Victor has been active as an artist for over a decade, and this exhibition will be the first solo presentation of her work.
Lyndl Hall’s Stretchers, Headers & Footnotes examines the role of the red brick building in colonial expansion. Hall’s research is based on two case studies: the Clayburn/Kilgard brickworks of the Fraser Valley, and the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, the largest red brick building in the southern hemisphere. These disparate sites mirror the establishment of British rule through industry, bureaucracy, and architecture. Brick is both a literal and figurative building block for an empire fashioned out of the clay of foreign lands. The exhibition consists of a series of drawings, a book work, and installation elements that consider the materials that document and stand for the processes of colonization. Like Grand Theft Terra Firma, historical documents are the groundwork for artistic expression and underscore The Reach’s function as both an art gallery and museum. Hall’s works draw heavily on the Archives of the Reach Gallery Museum as well as the Pietermaritzburg Archives. We invite all members of our community to join us for these exhibitions, opening January 26 and running until May 7, 2017. The projects offer an exciting glimpse of the important work being done by artists, scholars, and community members in the region to reconsider settler and Indigenous relationships. The Reach is proud to begin the next 150 years of our history as a nation with exhibitions that attempt to further the conversation about how we can actively participate in decolonization as individuals and as a community.
David Campion & Sandra Shields, The Royal Engineer, 2015, Inkjet print, 30 x 40 in
Art on the Wing An examination of human communication Anthony Biondi
Carly Butler Verheyen’s “Love Letters + Text Messages” is a wall filled with mail correspondence between her English, war-bride grandmother and her Canadian grandfather who wrote to each other daily for several years following the war. The letters stand in juxtaposition against text message correspondence between Carly and her husband, showcasing the differences in how we communicate now that information can be shared instantaneously. Carly is composing a book about the letters, which she hopes to publish soon.
Dis://connections, according to coordinator Kate Bradford, reflects on how technology impacts our lives, in how we communicate with one another, and how that can affect humanity as a whole. The show features six Emerge artists: Darby Arens, Carly Butler Verheyen, Mallory Donen, Julie Epp, Kendra Schellenberg, and Rachel Selinger. Opening night on Thursday, November 24 saw a full house, with viewers crowding around paintings, sculptures, and photographs, discussing the works on display with the artists. The works will be on display at the Reach Gallery until January 8. Varied approaches to the theme punctuate the room with walls decorated in letters, or tall banners of overlaid images. A flesh-covered television haunts one corner, alongside a series of paintings and a collection of kaleidoscopic images followed by a series of photographs. The show opened in conjunction with Emerge’s Art on Demand series, coordinated by Chantal New, featuring painters Chelsea Brown and Rachael Gingell. Themed on landscape, the works portray harsh minimalist horizons paired with rich photography.
Julie Epp has a history of creating clay sculptures of abstract body parts. “Extensive Measures” is a visceral combination of body and technology. She wanted to combine the two in such a way that both would be rendered totally useless. Entirely constructed while watching television, Julie felt inspired by the idea that humanity is so involved with technology that it makes us incapable of living our lives.
Darby Arens’ “Icarus is Not Here” began with a collection of feathers, which hang between the tall printed images. It is inspired by the ideas that Icarus’ fall was just the start of a new journey, that his wings were a form of technology, and that our interactions with technology don’t always go as we plan.
Mallory Donen’s Digital Pattern series discusses the artist’s relationship with technology as she creates artwork in the digital medium.
Kendra Schellenberg’s “The Landscape of Our Times (#venividivici)” was inspired by her trip to Europe, where she found herself viewing the world through her phone’s camera lens. She felt she missed so much of the world around her. After joining Instagram, she found that the photos on there were all the same: people sharing unique experiences of travelling through identical photos.
Rachel Selinger’s “Cyborg I + Cyborg II” is a multimedia work blending digital and analogue art in a way that makes it impossible to tell the difference between the two. She based the piece on a TED Talk discussing how humanity has become cyborgs for how they engage with technology.
Kenzie Dyck Kenzie Dyck has lived in Chilliwack, BC for her entire life, enjoying the beautiful wild landscapes it has to offer. Her passion lies in creating fantasy worlds, designing whimsical lands and powerful characters. She is often inspired by the rugged terrain of B.C. When she is not drawing, Kenzie is either downhill mountain biking or snowboarding. She sees these activities as a great way to experience nature. Kenzie is a member of the Chilliwack Community Arts Council. She has been drawing for as long as she can remember and loves learning new ways to create artwork. Kenzie puts enormous amounts of thought into her pieces, from creating the right texture to displaying the perfect emotion-- her art is a way to get all her ideas and emotions out of her head. The most amazing thing about being an artist is that you never cease to grow.
Interested in having your FRESH art featured in Raspberry magazine? Visit raspberrymag.ca/Fresh-submissions to view our submission guidelines.
Our contributors Alex Rake is a musician from Mission, where he has a great view of the mountains and eats poems for breakfast, which is said to be beneficial to one’s level of metaphor in the viscera. He recently masqueraded as Shakespeare dragging a corpse. Alex did not write this bio, but gave us permission to make stuff up. We didn’t. Anthony Biondi is an artist and writer living in Abbotsford. He has been previously published in The Louden Singletree, and served four years on The Cascade’s editorial board as Art Director and Production and Design Editor. He is a humourless crab, and fundamental contrarian, whose cholesterol may be higher than his IQ. Katie Stobbart is a writer and editor from Abbotsford. She has edited The Cascade newspaper, Louden Singletree literary magazine, and the Pacific Rim Review of Books. She is also a member of the PWAC (Professional Writers Association of Canada) Fraser Valley chapter. A selection of her poems will appear in a co-authored chapbook soon to haunt local library shelves, dentists’ offices, and hotel lobbies: It looks like a chicken. Katie is also working hard to improve her patio gardening game. Jess Wind somehow managed to earn two degrees by writing about zombies. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from UFV and an MA in Communication from Carleton University in Ottawa. Jess is an ex-editor of The Cascade, is published in The Louden Singletree and has been known to blog about entertainment media and culture. She likes her coffee black, her video games retro, and her sports local. Nick Ubels is an editor, musician, and event planner living in Abbotsford with his wife and two cats. He loves black coffee and tennis but is terrible at both. His life story served as inspiration for the events of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Martin Castro is an emerging poet and proud purveyor of hip-hop, rap, and music generally. He hails from Mission, which, in the glow of sunset, is perhaps perfect fodder for a Bob Ross painting. Martin is the current Arts in Review Editor of The Cascade, the University of the Fraser Valleyâ€™s student newspaper, as he completes his Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
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Raspberry magazine is a monthly Fraser Valley magazine devoted to arts, culture, and community life. Established in June 2016, Raspberry publishes reviews, event coverage, and other arts-friendly content online as we work toward our goal of publishing in print. You can follow us on social media for updates on our progress, information and insights on the Fraser Valley arts and culture scene, and fresh arts coverage.
Featuring art by Kensie Dyck and poetry by Martin Casto. Our December issue features our interview with Darin Graham of Boardwalk Cafe, a lo...