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THE VOL. 04 ISSUE 04 10.25.2011

THE TABLOID ISSUE

NEWS AND CULTURE FOR THE STUDENTS OF KWANTLEN POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

Dism issed IT’S OVER : KSA COUNCIL VOTES TO SETTLE CIVIL SUIT AGAINST FORMER RAF MEMBERS FOR ZERO COST TO EITHER PARTY.

PLUS:: A THIRD RELATIVE OF AARON TAKHAR AFFILIATED WITH THE KSA? PLUS ANOTHER CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Page 4

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page two | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 4

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OCCUPY VANCOUVER:

LOCAL EYES:

PROTEST SONGS:

DUST OFF:

PHOTOS PAGE 13

AUGMENTED REALITY PAGE16

TOM MORELLO AT THE VOGUE PAGE 19

THE CLASH PAGE 23


NEWS

www.runnerrag.ca | The Runner

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page three

CAMPUS NEWS

The Runner Roundup A brief run around the latest news from the world of Kwantlen and beyond.

Candid camera

Bad press

/=

Col. Gadhafi

A tech-savvy Kwantlen student managed to covertly snap a photo of the face of the man who allegedly stole his iPhone. An unnamed student from the Richmond campus reported the theft of his phone Sept. 21 to the RCMP. The alleged thief apparently texted the victim saying that he would return the phone if he was paid money. The student, however, was able to take a partial photo of the alleged thief remotely, using an application. If you recognize the face in the photo, you can provide the information anonymously to Crimestoppers for a possible cash reward at 1-800-222-8477.

Liquid diet Students who cut calories so they can binge drink are on the rise, according to new ew U.S. research from the University of Minnesota. udents Postmedia reports that the study’s findings show that “as many as one in five students ia.’” save their calories for alcohol, an eating and drinking disorder dubbed ‘drunkorexia.’” Possible motivation for drunkorexics includes saving money, weight loss and maintenance and getting intoxicated faster. The research also shows that women are threee times more likelier to suffer from drunkorexia than men. use perMedical experts caution that drunxorexia is a major health hazard and can cause saulted manent damage to internal organs, and also increase the risks of being sexually assaulted and suffering from more severe eating disorders or substance abuse later in life.

President Birdman

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) has filed another defamation lawsuit, this time against the Simon Fraser University student newspaper, The Peak. The suit claims that a Sept. 19 story in The Peak alleged, among other things, that KSA president Harman Bassi “channels Moammar Gadhafi.” Notice of a civil claim was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court Oct. 21 on behalf of the KSA and Harman “Sean” Bassi, alleging the Peak “falsely and maliciously printed” defamatory statements about them. None of the claims made by the KSA and Bassi have been proven in court. The suit seeks an injunction “restraining the Defendants from further writing, printing or broadcasting or causing to be written, printed or broadcast or otherwise publishing of the Plaintiffs the alleged or any similar defamation.” The KSA and Bassi are also seeking general, special, aggravated and punitive damages and costs.

Director quits Richmond campus director Harj Dhesi has resigned as of Oct. 14, according to an email from KSA chairperson Nina Sandhu. The issue will be discussed at the next council meeting. Tbe Runner did not reach Dhesi before deadline.


NEWS

page four | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

The Runner | www.runnerrag.ca

KSA

DISMISSED!

Student assocation settles RAF lawsuit

Kwantlen Student Association board members at the April 14 meeting of council (left to right: Jaspinder Ghuman, Nina Sandhu, Bobby Padda, Kamy Singh Dha and Nipun Pandey).

I

MATT DIMERA NEWS EDITOR

After more than three long years in court, the fight is over. The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) council voted by secret ballot to settle their lawsuit against former elected directors and staff in a closed-door session at an emergency council meeting Oct. 14. “After serious consideration and consulting with legal expertise, the Kwantlen Student Association has agreed to settle the lawsuit with a mutual release and no costs to either party. We have reached a settlement with all parties named in the lawsuit,” wrote KSA president and Surrey campus director Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi in a statement posted to the student association’s website. “Many of our members have voiced their concern that today’s students are paying for decisions made by the student association that commenced the action. We’ve heard your concerns, and have decided to dismiss

the case.” Bassi refused to comment when contacted by The Runner, Oct. 21. The KSA originally filed their civil lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court in July 2008 against five former members of the Reduce All Fees (RAF) party, including the onetime director of finance, executive adviser and de-facto group leader Aaron Takhar. Takhar and his RAF party took control of the KSA in 2005 and held power until they were ousted in a court-ordered election in October 2006. The KSA’s lawsuit alleged that Aaron Takhar and members of his RAF slate misused more than $2 million in student fees to commit mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty. Jaivin Khatri, Yasser Ahmad, Danish Butt, Jatinder “Joey” Atwal and AST Ventures were also named as defendants in the 2008 suit. A consent order was filed Monday, Oct. 17 in the B.C. Supreme Court, setting aside all of the default judgments against the de-

I think we’re happy it’s settled before the courts and now we can focus on other things.” Nina Sandhu KSA director of finance

fendants and ordering that the case be dismissed without costs to either party. Bassi is just one of several current council members who seem intent on making this settlement the closing chapter in a long legal case against former directors and staff from the Reduce All Fees (RAF) party, the final fight in a war that began as early as 2004. “This lawsuit has been a five-year process with absolutely no finish line in sight,” wrote Bassi in his statement. “Kwantlen students have already funded the battle to the tune of $800,000 in legal fees and staff time, and there was a very low probability that our council would be victorious in the case to recoup the monies that went into it.” Nina Sandhu, the current KSA’s director of finance says that there isn’t a lot she can say publicly about the now-settled suit. “There is a confidentiality clause in place,” Sandhu told The Runner in an interview in the KSA executive board office Oct. 12. “I think we’re happy it’s settled before the courts and now we can focus on other things.” ––––– Not everyone agrees that the settlement is a good thing. Former KSA official Laura Anderson was shocked when she first learned about the KSA’s decision to settle the case. “My initial reaction was somewhere between just absolute horror and disbelief,”

The student society suffered a massive financial loss . . . these people should have been held to account for their actions.”

Laura Anderson former KSA chairperson said Anderson. Anderson was one of the original group of students who challenged the RAF party between 2005 and 2006, taking them to the B.C. Supreme Court and eventually ousting them in a court-ordered election in the fall of 2006. She was also instrumental in mounting the civil suit that has now been settled. “I can’t see a reason why you would do this,” said Anderson in an Oct. 21 interview. “The student society suffered a massive financial loss as a result of the action of the individuals who were named in the suit and to just kind of toss that asunder as if it were somehow a mistake or not important is absolutely ridiculous.” “These people should have been held to account for their actions.” Cont’d on page 5


NEWS

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vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page five

KSA

Students react to RAF settlement (cont’d from page 4) Media reports at the time compared Anderson to a modern-day Cassandra for her repeated and unheeded warnings at the time that something bad was going on at the KSA. “I was like the crazy person who stands at the corner, yelling that horrible things are going on while people walk by discounting me as being crazy,” she told the Vancouver Sun in 2007. However, the results of a $100,000 PricewaterhouseCoopers forensic audit commissioned by the KSA after RAF left office, backed up Anderson’s warnings. The audit, dated July 27, 2007, documented $144,579 in unsupported payments to employees, elected officials and businesses between January and November of 2006, including Takhar, Yasser Ahmad, Danish Butt, Jaivin Khatri and Jatinder Atwal. Auditor Mary Ann Hamilton found more than $10,000 in cell phone bills and over $20,000 paid for an “After Party.” She was unable to locate any receipts or minutes showing approval for this event. According to the audit, the KSA cashed in over $620,000 in CIBC investments and then loaned $580,000 to Westlund Properties Corp. and another $40,000 to Apex Communications Inc. and Andrew Westlund. Hamilton said these investments were high-risk and prohibited by the

KSA’s own internal regulations. She also found a $1,776 payment to Dolo Investigations for “surveillance work.” Hamilton expressed further concerns about the accuracy and legitimacy of payroll payments made by the KSA, writing that “given the lack of payroll records, employee files and other records to support these payments I could not verify whether certain individuals, paid by the KSA, actually performed duties for the KSA.” One year after the audit was completed, the KSA filed the suit against Takhar and the other defendants. ––––– Anderson is not the only one unhappy with the current board’s decision to dismiss the RAF case. Student Derek Robertson says he too doesn’t understand the logic behind the settlement. He also questions how Bassi calculated the cost of the RAF suit to be $800,000. According to Robertson, the KSA’s entire legal budget over the last four years is close to that number, but that includes multiple other legal cases and spending not related to the RAF case. Robertson is a veteran of Kwantlen student politics, having been elected to several different positions for multiple terms, including stints as the KSA director of external affairs, and as a student representa-

Former KSA executive Derek Robertson at the April 14, 2011 council meeting. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER

tive on both the Kwantlen board of governors and the Kwantlen senate. “My reaction to hearing of the settlement was utter disgust; absolute, utter disgust,” said Robertson. “The fact is that a lawsuit that was started after a forensic audit that implicated these parties in allegedly mismanaging money from the students at Kwantlen, and this board of directors then sees fit to dismiss a case where we have default judgments.” Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s director of marketing and communications, Joanne Saunders, has been fielding questions about the university’s connection to the KSA since the summer, explaining that the student association is a separate society and acts independently from the school. “In regards to the settlement the university can only say that this was something between the student association only,” Saunders told The Runner. “We were unable to get involved in any form at all.” “The only other comment that I would make is that it is public knowledge that there was a default judgment against Mr. Takhar so that may come across as a little bit puzzling to people reading that the lawsuit is settled.” Vancouver lawyer Jeremy Rusinek was not involved with the RAF case and says that only the plaintiffs are aware of the

The fact is that a lawsuit that was started after a forensic audit that implicated these parties . . . and this board of directors then sees fit to dismiss a case where we have default judgments.”

Derek Robertson former KSA executive reasons behind their decision to settle, but he offered some possible explanations as to why a plaintiff might choose to settle a case where default judgments had already been won. “If the defendants have a good reason for why they were unable to respond, or why they were unable to get a lawyer, then it’s possible to get a default judgment overturned, and at that point you’re looking at diving headlong back into the case,” said Rusinek. “Just because the default judgment is there, it’s not the same as getting a judgment at the end of a trial.” Cont’d on page 6

Former KSA chairperson Laura Anderson at the 2010 Welcome Week event on the Surrey campus of Kwantlen. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER


page six | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

NEWS

The Runner | www.runnerrag.ca

KSA

RAF lawsuit dismissed (cont’d from page 5)

Justine Franson poses for a photo outside the Kwantlen bookstore in spring 2011. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER

He also suggested that the finances of the defendants could have also come into play. “Even if the default judgment stood up to scrutiny and they weren’t able to overturn it, if the defendants don’t have any assets you can go after, then like the saying goes, you can’t get blood from a stone.” Robertson says that according to estimates given by KSA legal counsel in the past, the case was approximately between

These were some of the darkest years in the history of the Kwantlen Student Association, during the RAF years in office . . . This is students’ money that’s been misused. Unsupported payments that were made out of student fees and we’re now not going to collect that money. Students should be very, very concerned.”

Christopher Girodat Kwantlen Senate rep & non-voting council member

90 and 95 per cent completed. “This was not a matter of ‘oh well we’re not sure if we would have won or not,’” said Robertson. This was a matter of having default judgments against every last one of these people and getting money back on behalf of Kwantlen students.” Current Kwantlen senate representative and non-voting council member Christopher Girodat agrees. These were some of the darkest years in the history of the Kwantlen Student Association, during the RAF years in office,” says Girodat. “For us to dismiss a case that we had already won against those former directors, it essentially gives anyone the clear to say ‘you know what if we’re going to mismanage the KSA, we’ve now set a precedent that we’re not going to come after you or that we’re not going to take it seriously.’ And I think that students deserve better than that.” “This is students’ money that’s been misused. Unsupported payments that were made out of student fees and we’re now not going to collect that money. Students should be very, very concerned.” Girodat believes that Kwantlen students have good reasons to distrust the current KSA board given the news that was broken earlier this summer. ––––– Nearly five years after the original RAF

Former KSA director of operations Justine Franson (far left) and her first cousin KSA director of finance Nina Sandhu (far right) at the April 14 KSA council meeting. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER

scandal made headlines across the country, the Kwantlen Student Association found itself back in the news this July when The Runner uncovered direct family ties between current board members and defendants in the RAF civil suit. The Runner’s investigations revealed that Justine Franson, the KSA’s then-director of operations, was previously-known as Justine Takhar, Aaron’s sister. Franson is her married name. Nina Sandhu, the KSA’s current director of finance, was revealed to be Aaron’s cousin. Sandhu’s and Takhar’s mothers are sisters. At the time the family connections were made public, the RAF lawsuit had recently been put on an indefinite hold after the current executive board took office April 1, 2011. On the first day of their term, the executive board of directors (EBOD), including Franson and Sandhu, fired long-time KSA lawyer David Borins and his firm Heenan Blaikie. They directed Borins to “cease all activity pertaining to the RAF case until further notice.” They also instructed him “not to schedule a date for the case management conference until further notice.” Surrey campus director Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi was also present during the April 1 in camera session. At that meeting, the executive designated Franson to “be the sole liaison with KSA legal counsel and represent the views of

EBOD [executive board of directors] to legal counsel and report back on any issues.” They also decided that if any council members had legal concerns they were to direct them to Franson. In an interview with The Runner, the director of operations and then-chairperson Franson maintained that the change in legal representation was due to a conflict of interest with Borins and former general manager Desmond Rodenbour, because the two had attended the same high school and university. At the time, Franson made no mention of any possible personal conflict of interest of her own. In the same interview, Franson suggested that there had been “a lot of frivolous spending” on legal matters by previous boards and staff, as well as a “lack of transparency.” ––––– Franson never publicly addressed the news that she was Takhar’s sister, but resigned a few weeks later. Sandhu remains the KSA’s director of finance. Former council member and current student Matt Todd was only able to receive direct confirmation from the KSA of the Takhar connection after sending a legal letter through his lawyer. Cont’d on page 7


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NEWS

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page seven

KSA

Third Takhar relative revealed (cont’d from page 6) In his written response, dated Sept. 14, KSA lawyer Sean K. Boyle confirmed the familial connections and advised that “the conflict was communicated to KSA’s Council at the first Council meeting following the issue being raised.” Boyle concluded his letter by advising that “for future reference, the minutes of Council are publically [sic] available to all members.” None of the KSA minutes reviewed by The Runner show that Franson or Sandhu ever explicitly declared to council that they were in a conflict because they were related to Takhar. Questions about who on council knew about Franson and Sandhu’s close familial connection to Aaron Takhar and when they knew, remain unanswered. Sandhu has refused to comment publicly about her relationship to Takhar, saying only that she doesn’t talk about her personal life. The KSA president and the remaining members of the executive board declined or did not respond to requests for interviews before deadline. In an Aug. 8 written statement, Bassi wrote the following: “The Director of Operations and the Director of Finance, respectively, understand the appearance of a possible conflict. Both have, and will continue to abstain from any decisions pertaining to the civil actions against former directors.” According to Sandhu, she has never had any involvement with the RAF case. “I’ve always never been a part of it anyways,” she said in an Oct. 21 interview. “There was nothing done for the RAF case so I wasn’t removing myself in August. It was just openly declared of removing myself, but since then I’ve never been involved in the process whatsoever.” At an Aug. 17 meeting the KSA council took steps to deal with the “appearance of a possible conflict” by passing a motion. The motion upheld the earlier April 1 decision of the executive board to fire lawyer David Borins and “to cease all activity pertaining to the RAF case until further notice.” It was a near-exact copy of the original motion initially moved by Nina Sandhu that stopped action on the case in April. The main difference being that the new motion specifically noted that Franson and Sandhu “have had no involvement in this decision making process.” This time however, Franson and Sandhu left the room before the vote. Anderson said the revelation of Sandhu and Franson’s connection to Takhar showed

“a massive conflict of interest.” “I’m not at all impressed with the fact that Nina and Sean and the new group of RAF here have decided to try and rewrite history by passing a motion that retroactively Nina and Justine weren’t going to have anything to do with the case, when clearly they did for months before it was discovered that Justine was Aaron Takhar’s sister and that Nina was his cousin,” said Anderson. Senator Girodat is equally adamant that the family connection is still an issue. “It was a story broken by the media and when students started to ask questions and express outrage all of a sudden it was time to declare a conflict of interest on decisions that had already been made,” said Girodat. Their conflict of interest didn’t suddenly arise when they voted on a motion . . . that conflict of interest has existed since their

term started, they should have abstained on April 1, argued Girodat. “[Nina] and Justine had no place being involved in any of those decisions from April 1, not just when students found out about it.” ––––– Runner investigations have now uncovered that a third member of the extended Takhar family also ran in the last KSA election, albeit unsuccessfully. Harman Mann, who ran for Langley campus director but lost in February 2011 is Aaron Takhar’s brother-in-law. Mann’s sister Raman is married to Aaron. Raman Mann was herself once an elected official in the KSA, serving as a Surrey campus representative between 2005 and 2006 under the RAF party. Harman Mann declined to speak to The

Runner when reached by telephone at his home Friday, Oct. 21. According to Runner investigations, current-KSA president Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi was also a guest at Aaron Takhar’s wedding to Raman Mann. Photos obtained by The Runner show that Sandhu also attended the wedding.

“It leads me to wonder if there’s anymore that are related to Aaron Takhar who have not declared the conflict,” Derek Robertson former KSA executive

Harman Mann was first elected as a Surrey campus representative and served as a voting member of council between October 2008 and March 2011. Both Raman and Harman listed the same Surrey address as their place of residence in KSA society records filed with the B.C. Corporate Registry. When The Runner asked Nina Sandhu in a Oct. 21 interview about Harman Mann and his connection to Aaron Takhar, she denied any knowledge of it. “I am not aware of any relation that he may have to Aaron Takhar . . . I don’t speak about our personal relations and that’s not something I can comment on. I don’t feel comfortable commenting on something to do with Harman because it’s not my place,” said Sandhu. “Harman, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t really involved in the student association much anymore.” The KSA’s council meeting minutes, however, tell a different story. Since leaving office in March 2011, Mann has remained involved in council decisions, holding proxy votes at multiple meetings this term. Mann held a proxy vote at the April 6, May 11, Aug. 3, Aug. 17, Aug. 24, and Aug. 31 meetings of council. At the Aug. 17 in camera council meeting, when Franson and Sandhu left the room because of their conflicts of interest, the KSA’s minutes show that Mann remained in the room and voted on the RAF-case-related motion. Aaron Takhar’s brother-in-law Harman Mann outside the Aug. 3 council meeting shortly after Franson and Sandhu’s relationship to Takhar was revealed. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER

Cont’d on page 8


page eight | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

NEWS

The Runner | www.runnerrag.ca

KSA

RAF lawsuit dismissed (cont’d from page 7) Mann again held a proxy vote at the Aug. 31 meeting of council where he voted on a motion giving the executive board authority to “determine fully the outcome of the lawsuit against former directors, including but not limited to any form of settlement.” According to the minutes of that meeting, Mann did not abstain from the vote nor declare any conflict of interest. Nowhere in the KSA minutes is it recorded that Bassi, Franson, or Sandhu ever pointed out Harman Mann’s familial connection to the Takhar family, even when he was voting on motions directly linked to the RAF case. ––––– Upon learning of Mann’s connection to the Takhar family, Robertson is outraged. “It leads me to wonder if there’s anymore that are related to Aaron Takhar who have not declared the conflict,” said Robertson. “Because up until this point, relatives of Aaron Takhar have not declared their conflict of interest until being informed of their conflict of interest by The Runner. It’s a very concerning thing to see, based on the fact that all three of these relatives of Aaron Takhar’s have been directors of the KSA.” Girodat is equally stunned. “Harman Mann had run for Langley campus director unsuccessfully in the last KSA election,” said Girodat. He would have been a director had he won. There would have been three relatives playing leading roles on this council.”

“For [Franson and Sandhu] to remove themselves from consideration of RAF case issues, but knowingly leave behind Aaron’s brother-in-law, a family insider in those discussions is absolutely outrageous,” said Girodat. “To remove yourself, declaring a conflict of interest, knowing that you still have someone left behind who shares that conflict, it makes no sense, that information should not have been withheld from the board of directors. ––––– Derek Robertson says that the B.C. Society Act is very clear about potential conflicts. “When it comes to conflicts of interest, you must remove yourself from any aspect of the conflict so that involves being present for discussions, giving any guidance to legal counsel, giving advice to other elected officials in the matter, voting on the matter,” said Robertson. “It is your duty, if you are in a conflict of interest to remove yourself from that conflict.” KSA minutes from a closed-door in-camera March 31 council meeting place Aaron Takhar’s sister Justine Franson, cousin Balninna Sandhu and brother-in-law Harman Mann in the meeting where the RAF lawsuit was discussed. The record of that meeting shows that neither Franson, Sandhu nor Mann publicly disclosed their relationship with Aaron Takhar, a defendant in the case being discussed. According to those minutes both Franson and Sandhu actively participated

Concerned student Christopher Girodat sits in the KSA-run GrassRoots Cafe. RUNNER FILE PHOTO

in the discussion of the case. Minutes from a June 17 in-camera meeting of council mention that the executive board, on which both Franson and Sandhu sat, had been reviewing RAF documents. No mention of a conflict of interest was

disclosed to council in either meeting, either from Mann, Sandhu or Franson. Cont’d on page 9

EXCERPTS FROM MAR 31 COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES “Justine was curious if there was anyone who wanted to speak about the RAF case. ... Nina said [KSA auditor] Wozny mentioned we need to take a look into this. He cautioned that we should look into if the spending is worth it, ask if the KSA is really going to collect anything. ... Nina said as she understands that the suit went right to the default judgement so she doesn’t understand where the discovery came from. As she understands it they never showed up to court. ... Justine wanted to clarify that the incoming executive intend to investigate everything themselves since opinions can’t always be relied upon. She does appreciate hearing everyone’s opinions on the matter. ... Nina just wanted to ask how everyone felt about the possibility of RAF counter suing the KSA.”

EXCERPT FROM JUNE 17 COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES “In response to a question the Executive said they have been reviewing the RAF documents and they will be discussing the direction of the case with Council in the next month.”

Sealed boxes returned from the RAF-lawsuit sit in KSA accounting offices. JEFF GROAT/ THE RUNNER


NEWS

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vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page nine

KSA

Former RAF-party official visits KSA (cont’d from page 8) Though council didn’t vote on the case until Oct. 14, the settlement deal was made weeks earlier, according to Franson’s replacement, the KSA’s newly-appointed interim director of operations, Nipun Pandey. Pandey told The Runner that the decision to settle was made before he was appointed on Sept. 28. Bassi’s statement announcing the settlement is dated Sept. 30, though it wasn’t publicly posted until after the Oct. 14 council meeting where council made its decision to settle.

When asked about the former RAF member’s presence, Sandhu said that he had made an appointment to meet with Bassi, but that she didn’t know what they were talking about. “He came in here just to introduce himself and to say that ‘I would like to engage in some talks with the student association.’ I think he knows the student association and might be willing to offer some advice to us,” said Sandhu.

“I think it’s always an interesting perspective: people who’ve gone through the council before,” she said. “Whether it was in a negative light, a positive light; they’ve obviously gone through stuff and a lot of people for example have compared us to them and so I think it would be interesting to see you know if they can offer help or advice or share from their experience. I think it’s a great idea.”

––––– Seven days after the KSA council voted to settle the RAF case, an old KSA official stopped by to sit in an executive board meeting held on the Surrey campus of Kwantlen. Danish Butt, a former KSA president and one-time staff member, and one of the defendants in the now-dismissed RAF case, joined the meeting in progress, sitting quietly to the side. After the meeting, Butt told The Runner he was a student at Kwantlen. He was later seen meeting Bassi, Sandhu and other members of the KSA executive in their private executive office.

I think he knows the student association and might be willing to offer some advice to us . . . Whether it was in a negative light, a positive light; they’ve obviously gone through stuff and a lot of people for example have compared us to them and so I think it would be interesting to see you know if they can offer help or advice or share from their experience.” Nina Sandhu KSA director of finance on former RAF-lawsuit defendant Danish Butt

One-time KSA president and former RAF-lawsuit defendant Danish Butt speaks to Runner reporters after a KSA executive meeting Oct. 21. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER

Nickname Roulette

For the media outlets covering the latest KSA developments and for readers following the story it has been difficult to keep track of all the players on the KSA council, partly because several of them use multiple names and aliases. During her term-and-a-half on council, current director of finance Nina Sandhu has also gone by Balninna Sandhu, Ninna Sandhu, and Nina Kaur. KSA president and spokesperson Harman “Sean Birdman” Bassi is the most prolific. Bassi at different times has also used different variations of the following names including when signing emails and press releases: Sir Sean Mix-a-Lot Birdman, Sean Penn Birdman, Sean Connery Birdman, Obama Bassi, Sean Prince Birdman, Sean Pac Birdman, and Diddy Birdman. In a written statement dated Aug. 17 posted to the KSA website, Bassi addressed his proclivity for name changes. “The fourth issue is that of the Presidential nickname, “Birdman”. The President can call himself whatever he wants,” wrote Bassi. “This is a pathetic attempt to discredit the President now that his position is more prominent. You have been forewarned that the name may continue to change, without notice, in the future.” Kwantlen Senator Christopher Girodat says he doesn’t know why Bassi and other directors keep changing their names. “I can’t speculate as to why they’ve been changing their names once every few weeks,” said Girodat. “To a Kwantlen student from the outside looking in all of these name changes might look like a way to distance their real identity from all of the controversy and criticism that’s following them in the KSA right now.” “Sean Bassi’s name changes are embarrassing for Kwantlen students and it makes a mockery of our student association. It makes us a laughingstock among other student associations across the country.”


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Max Hirtz was an extra in the influential 2003 film Agent Cody Banks, where, from a distance, he thinks he saw Frankie Muniz tie his boots. Max’s life has gone downhill since then, but he’s been trying to keep busy. His favourite band of all time is, and probably always will be, the Magnetic Fields. Two of his favourite directors are both named David. One of them directed Blue Velvet, and neither of them is David Fincher. This officially just turned into a puzzle. How fun! Take a look at Max’s concert photography on page 20 and visit his website crunchybanjo.com to see more.

Production Editor / Antonio Su production@runnermag.ca / 778-565-3806 Media Editor / Matt Law media@runnermag.ca / 778-565-3806

facebook.com/runnerpaper Brendan Tyndall began his love affair with the written word at the age of six, when his family travelled a long and arduous trip from Halifax, N.S. to Vancouver by way of schooner, traversing westward by way of the Arctic Sea. He honed his craft by carving his memoir into the side of his ship’s cabin with a rusted knife. In addition to writing, his interests consist of rock-and-roll music, leftwing politics and the cinema. Read Brendan’s article about the The Simpsons on page 22.

RIP OFF KWANTLEN SENIOR WRITERS: Senior Culture Writer / Chris Yee Senior Entertainment Writer / Mike Shames Senior Features Writer / Lliam Easterbrook CONTRIBUTORS: Jared Vaillancourt, Jacob Zinn, Marco Horna, Katya Slepian, Brendan Tyndall, Max Hirtz Cover Art: Antonio Su

BUSINESS DIVISION: Operations Manager, Ads, Classifieds DJ Lam ops@runnermag.ca / 778-688-3797 Office Co-ordinator / Victoria Almond office@runnermag.ca / 778-565-3801

Funds are collected by the university and channelled to PIPS via the KSA.

runnermag.ca

vimeo.com/runnerrag

Jacob Zinn is a fourth-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and a concert critic for The Runner. He likes his rock hard, his metal heavy and his guitars electric. He appreciates gross-out comedies, professional wrestling, cartoons, video games and other lowbrow entertainment. Read Jacob’s new column Stuff Your Dad Likes on page 21. Follow Jacob on Twitter @jacobzinn and check out his website for great photos and musings jacobzinn.com

Culture Editor / Kristi Alexandra culture@runnermag.ca / 778-565-3804 News Editor / Matt DiMera news@runnermag.ca / 778-565-3805

on the web

MATT LAW / THE RUNNER

Holy Smokes. Another corporate logo has popped up on a Kwantlen Polytechnic University campus. This time its Jessica Simpson’s face on a Bay ad on Surrey campus. What’s next Kwantlen? Will we be seeing, “Your degree brought to you by McDonald’s” when we graduate? How many more ads are in the works? And why are tuition fees still climbing if our school is selling its soul to advertisers? I guess it really is about the all-mighty dollar after all.

@runnermag


EDITORIAL

www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

EDITORIAL

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page twelve

STREETER

OUTRAGE

Did Occupy Vancouver get its point across? Translating the protest north of the border.

The suit against Reduce All Fees party members has been dismissed, and students should tell president Bassi how they feel about it. ITHE RUNNER On Friday, Oct. 14, KSA council voted to dismiss a civil suit against five former members of the Reduce All Fees (RAF) party, including the onetime director of finance, executive adviser and group leader Aaron Takhar. Council voted to dismiss the default judgment and settle for zero cost to either party. In August, after the KSA had decided to freeze the case, The Runner reported that two directors at the time were related to Takhar: Justine Franson, Takhar’s sister, and Nina Sandhu, their cousin. Franson resigned Aug. 13, while Sandhu still serves as director of finance. Even though Sandhu’s abstentions are regularly noted on all-things RAF (although trying to erase a conflict after the fact accomplishes nothing), many things are still unclear at this time, especially the decision to dismiss the case so far along in its lifetime. It is clear, however, that students should be outraged. In a presidential update on the KSA’s website, Harman “Prince Sean Penn Connery Diddy Birdman” (did we get that right?) wrote in a presidential update on the KSA’s website that, “this lawsuit has been a five-year process with absolutely

no finish line in sight. Kwantlen students have already funded the battle to the tune of $800,000 in legal fees and staff time, and there was a very low probability that our council would be victorious in the case to recoup the monies that went into it.” It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that there was uncertainty in collecting the owed money. It doesn’t matter that thousands of dollars had been poured into this case over five years – five long years. And it apparently doesn’t matter that default judgments had already been found and that the only thing left to do for the KSA was to go to court to tally up the damages. The finish line had already been crossed, Mr. Bassi – the Kwantlen community, the tireless runner, was waiting anxiously to hear the results of the marathon. This case had long passed the notion of being about money. This case was about justice, about holding former directors to account for their questionable practices – it was about students’ rights for accountable student government. Kwantlen students – past and present – should be outraged that the RAF suit was settled. Accountability and students’ sense of closure has been spit on, and somewhere, Mr. Takhar is laughing.

NORMA SHEANE GENERAL STUDIES

KRISTEN UNGER JOURNALISM

I didn’t go to the protest, but I was downtown at one point and I saw people camping out with tents and stuff ... I think it’s a good idea that they’re trying to even things out, but I don’t know if camping out is going to do things about that.

I did go to Occupy Vancouver on [Oct.] 15, yes. I think there were too many points to get across, and I think they didn’t get across very well. I think most of it was just people not knowing why they were there, and not being able to get a sense from the speakers of what the actual points trying to be presented were, and I think most of the people there for a sense of community spirit and something to do on a Saturday.

CONNOR DOYLE CREATIVE WRITING The protesters at Occupy Wall Street have a direct purpose that they need to get across, but for Occupy Vancouver it was more the solidarity of it, it was more the fact that people got together and agreed on the discomfort, or the qualms they [Occupy Wall Street] had with Wall Street and the division of power between the classes. So, I think they got their point across in that they showed up, and I think they conveyed the message of unhappiness with the way things are working.

TYLER HAMMOND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT -Have you heard of... [Occupy Vancouver?] (Laughs) No, I haven’t. Is that a problem probably, if I don’t know what it is? -Yeah. OK, sorry about that.


www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

FEATURE

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page thirteen

PROTEST

The protest comes to Canada Max Hirtz takes us onto the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery for Occupy Vancouver’s first week. On Wall Street in New York City, people are protesting the sour American economy and the excesses of the top “1 %” wealthiest people, claiming the rich have benefitted from bank bailouts and bonuses paid for with public money, while house foreclosures and the unemployment rate continue to climb. In Vancouver, it’s unclear just how things will take shape. Will it last?

ALL PHOTOS MAX HIRTZ/THE RUNNER


www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

FEAT

GLOBAL PROTESTS

#occupyvancouver a big-tent political movem


TURE

ment

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page ďŹ fteen


page sixteen | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

CULTURE

The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

LOCALEYES

LocalEyes: Fine Arts faculty tackles augmented reality in new installation

ARTWORK BY PAULO MAJANO

Paulo Majano and his second-year digital media students experiment with augmented reality using a new technology that can be accessed through an iPad or iPhone app. The installation will show in the Surrey library atrium starting Oct. 25.

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KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR

It’s 2011 and many still aren’t familiar with the idea of augmented reality. The reality of it –– no pun intended –– is that the techonology has been around as early as 1957, when cinematographer Morton Heilig created and patented the “Sensorama,” a machine that simulated a multi-sensory experience (visuals, sounds, smell and movement) when a person would sit down to watch a film. Heilig’s initial film for the Sensorama simulated a bike-ride through New York’s Brooklyn, displaying “stereoscopic 3-D images in a wideangle view, provide body tilting, supply stereo sound, and also had tracks for wind and aromas to be triggered during the film,” according to a

Wikipedia article. This experience was one of the first that introduced the idea of virtual reality. 40 plus years later, the technology is still astounding and underutilized. Kwantlen Fine Arts instructor Paulo Majano wants to change that. He and his second-year interactive art and the web class are experimenting with augmented reality by creating art pieces that will trigger moving 3-D images when hovering an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet over the image. The technology works with a free app called Junaio, which, when connected to the right channel, shows overlayed digital information on a print or static image. The image then becomes a multi-media ex-

perience. “With some smartphones, you can point it at a street and you can see different signs pop up of things being advertised, like ‘there’s a café here’ or something. That’s one way that [augmented reality] is being used already,” says Majano. “What we’re going to have,” Majano says of his digital media arts class, “is an exhibition of images –– some people have books or magazines –– when people download the app, they can use their iPod and point it at it and see what was used as an overlay to that.” He explains that an image will trigger a video, and if used correctly, the image will begin to move on the page. He beams when describing some of the work that will show in the exhibit. “One student is doing a photo of Chief Dan George and having an overlay of a video with

modern-day native issues,” he says. “Others are doing things a little more playful. Someone is doing a lego scene and that scene becomes an animation. There’s quite a range of different things that people are doing.” The Augmented Reality Festival will be displayed at the Surrey Campus Library atrium from Wednesday Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 4. An opening reception and demonstration will take place on Thursday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Try Augmented Reality yourself with this image. 1 Download the free Junaio app for iphone, ipad 2 & ipodtouch or for Android Smartphone/Tablet 2 Open the app and SEARCH for the channel: Capriccio 3 Click on the Channel and select SHOW IN LIVE VIEW 4 Point your phone camera to the image


The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

CULTURE

page seventeen | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

SCARY

Tour de horror reveals real hauntings Vancouver Trolley Company’s two-and-a-half hour halloween trolley tour touches on the city’s bloody history.

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KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR

If you really want to get scared this halloween, skip the Stanley Park haunted train ride. Skip Playland’s Fright Nights. Skip the haunted nursery horror houses. That’s kid’s stuff. Go for the real hauntings; visit the bloodiest parts of the city where unspeakable acts have taken place; visit the graves of the horribly murdered. And if you don’t know how to stake out those places, then hop aboard the Vancouver Trolley Company’s Haunted Trolley Tour. The two-and-a-half hour excursion will take you to the city’s most notorious haunts, from unsolved mysteries like “the babes in the woods,” a pair of twin boys who were axed to death in Stanley Park, to the infamous Kosberg family murders where 17-year-old Stephen Kosberg drugged his parents and four siblings and hacked them to death in their sleep on Christmas eve of 1965. A trip to the Vancouver Police Museum shows the axe from the Kosberg family murder, still with actual blood and a single strand of blonde hair hanging from the blade. The trolley picks up passengers at Canada Place and circles the city, first starting with

the Fairmont’s Vancouver Hotel. The Fairmont Vancouver is home to one of the best known local ghosts, “the lady in red.” The legend behind the lady in red goes that the woman was a frequent patron of the hotel, until she died in a car accident infront the hotel in the 1940s. Since then, she’s been seen wandering the 14th floor and making stops along the elevator, appearing in hotel rooms to guests. For those who don’t know, the 14th floor of all hotels is really the 13th, as elevators skip from 12 to 14, avoiding the unlucky stigma of a 13th floor. The lady in red is known to be a benevolent ghost, but eternally stuck in the Hotel Vancouver nonetheless. The trolley moves along afterwards to Stanley Park, where much of the land is a Coast Salish burial ground –– like the cricket field often used by families on the weekends. But where the park’s most prominent paranormal activity happens is the spot where the “babes in the woods” were found. Two small skeletons were found in Stanley park in 1953, wearing aviator caps and toting tin lunch-boxes. The skeletons were found by a parks board gardener, under piles of leaves and a woman’s oilskin coat. Beside

The “haunted” trolley is packed with scared souls on a foggy Wednesday evening as the ghostly tour guide regales true, horrific stories. BRITTANY TIPLADY/THE RUNNER

A practicing pathologist lectures the tour crowd on how to carry out an autopsy in the Vancouver Police Museum’s autopsy room. BRITTANY TIPLADY/THE RUNNER

the skeletons was a woman’s shoe, leading investigators to believe the murder suspect was a female. Apart from that, compromised DNA tests revealed that the skeletons were a boy and a girl, one around eight-years-old, the other 10. In 1998, when new DNA tests were done, the children���s teeth revealed that both of the murder victims were male. The babes in the woods murder still remains unsolved. As does the murder of 22-year-old Janet Smith, who died in one of four possible locations around Vancouver’s Shaughnessy. The trolley takes passengers around the Shaughnessy neighbourhood, where several stops are made at lavish-looking Victorian houses and buildings. Smith is rumoured to have been murdered by drug-smuggler Frederick Baker at a Baker houseparty (the Baker’s were a wealthy family of playboys), and then her body to moved to different locations after her actual death. The murder weapon, a gun, was compromised after the first policeman to see the body touched it, making fingerprint-

ing impossible. The trolley stops at the graveyard where Smith is buried, and passengers go pay respects to her grave. But the eeriest stop on the trolley tour is that of the most haunted house in Vancouver: a large home on the corner of King Edward and Cambie that is built on an ancient native burial ground. The house, indefinitely haunted, has driven out many families who’ve lived in the home –– it was even stigmatized enough to continually be a bargain home. Stories of babies mysteriously being placed on windowsills, ghosts packing resident’s bags and other warnings have led the home to only be able to be occupied by Buddhist monks. Monks who can restore peace and deflect negative energy felt by the past patrons of the home. The Vancouver Trolley’s horrifying-buteducational tour stands a test that no other halloween-themed attraction can: the stories aren’t seasonal. Vancouver is haunted allyear-round.


page eighteen | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

CULTURE

The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

FILM

Jackie Chan’s 100th film captures epic historic event in 1911 I

MIKE SHAMES SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER

Grade: A

History is a far better writer of drama and epic events than anything a Hollywood writer could create. One of the most dramatic and significant moments in world history was the end of Imperial China, an empire that existed before Rome and lasted until the early 20th century. This October is the 100th anniversary of the rebellion that ended this 2000-yearold institution and 1911 attempts to capture the epic nature of this event, with the help of Jackie Chan in his 100th film. One of the main problems with a movie trying to capture such a huge event is time. This film runs just a little short of two hours. As a result, the film jumps around a lot and can be confusing to watch, even if you speak Mandarin — yes, the film is Mandarin with English subtitles. The Chinese exchange student that accompanied me was almost as lost as I was, and equally annoyed at all the explanatory text. These served to fast forward the events in the movie, but at time it seemed to simply gloss over events –– which confused us more and left us wondering on several occasions “what happened?” Granted this isn’t an exclusive problem to this film, it’s the curse of many historical dramas. The events are usually so expansive that it’s impossible to do it justice in a two or three hour movie. The look of the movie is grand and epic, while still having a sense of realism of the tragedy and the significance of what was achieved. The tragic part is interesting since the movie is aimed partially at a Chinese audience. But the version China will see will be edited by the Chinese Communist Party censors. The battle scenes aren’t overly graphic but still remain gritty and realistic. The film and its sets are beautiful and,

though limited, still convey the national scope of the revolution. Again it can get confusing as to where all the players are at any particular time, even with the help of supplementary text. The other problem is the sheer amount of characters, though this may be due to the fact that I speak English and have to read and watch at the same time. Even so, there were two main characters that I could easily identify, and one was Jackie Chan. Winston Chao portraits Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the first President of the Republic of China and Jackie Chan is Huang Xing, a key military figure in the revolution. Chan is greatly downplayed in every scene, he is rarely the main focus. Chao is followed the most, and Chao commands the screen so well, even stealing the show from Chan. Chan does get to show off some of his signature moves, but even this is restrained to one brief scene. Despite this, Chan shows a great depth and understanding of a dramatic role. When he is on the screen with anyone else, it’s him who is firmly in the spotlight. Both actors make the roles come to life and connect with the audience. You really feel like you’re in the presence of greatness. There are some liberties taken by the director, but unless you know your Chinese history, these aren’t too distracting. With the exception of the one American, who’s acting was so bad it was torture every second he was on screen. It’s like reading a great novel and then some one slaps an ad in the middle of a plot point –– you’re completely torn out of the experience. Fortunately his scenes are few and very far between. The rest of the cast can be slightly over-dramatic at times but never too much to make it cheesy. For

OFFICIAL JACKIE CHAN WEBSITE

the most part they are also excellent. Although 1911 is trying to encompass a huge moment in history, it does it well. Confusing plot, but the cast is strong, and the writing solid.

The general feel of the movie is restrained grandeur, from the sets to the acting and violence. With a few hiccups, this movie is definitely award-worthy.


www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

CULTURE

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page nineteen

REVIEWS

Tom Morello peacefully occupies Vancouver

The 47-year-old liberty rocker Tom Morello, also known as the Nightwatchman, brought Occupy Vancouver protestors — “friends on the guest list” — to the historic venue for a frenzied live show that brought awareness to local and global issues. JACOB ZINN/THE RUNNER

I

JACOB ZINN CONTRIBUTOR

He might perform under the moniker of the Nightwatchman, but it was Tom Morello who got the Vogue Theatre chanting and raising fists in unison on Wednesday night. The 47-year-old liberty rocker brought Occupy Vancouver protestors — “friends on the guest list” — to the historic venue for a frenzied live show that brought awareness to local and global issues. Opening for the Nightwatchman was Thousands, an acoustic duo from Seattle. Their fast, capoed finger-picking was practiced, but their lyrics resembled high school creative writing poetry. Morello kicked out the jams with “One Man Revolution”, the title track of his 2007 debut solo record, and riled up the Vancouver audience with strumming fury, bluesy harmonica and an impassioned voice of the people. It wasn’t long before they ignored security’s pleas for reserved seating and bum-rushed the stage. Morello then played the rather fitting “It Begins Tonight” to a chorus of stomping and clapping.

“One thing I like about the slogan, ‘We are the 99 per cent,’” he said between songs, “is the odds are 99 to one.” He came with new material from his 2011 album, World Wide Rebel Songs, including the Spanish guitar-styled “The Dogs of Tijuana”. Then he busted out his Arm the Homeless guitar for “Save the Hammer for the Man” and made it scream two electric solos with his trademark whammying style. Carl Restivo of the Freedom Fighters Orchestra (Morello’s backing band for larger performances) joined him for the blue-collar rally cry of “Union Town” and “Black Spartacus Heart Attack Machine”, a “feverish love ode” to Morello’s new acoustic guitar of the same name. However, when several manic pixie girls tried to get onstage, Morello stopped mid-song to assure them that later on in the show, they would be allowed up to party. Two of the same girls unsuccessfully tried to jump onstage again, but were met by security and humourous remarks. “I thought we had a deal,” Morello said with a grin. He followed the disruption with the first-ever live performance of “The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse”. Then

he dedicated “No One Left” to the international victims of the Iraq War and “Saint Isabelle” to his late aunt, both of which got strong crowd responses. He moved into a slower, unplugged version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio” and a high-voltage rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with an over-under tapping solo and also picked a few notes with his teeth. “I’m not going to go offstage and pretend that I might not come back,” he said before the encore. Morello convinced the raucous crowd to stand in silence during the soft, heartfelt “The Garden of Gethsemane”, then had them on their feet for “The Road I Must Travel”. As promised, he let fans onstage for the final song (which emptied half of the orchestra section) during a sing-along of “World Wide Rebel Songs”. Some fans might have expected more Rage songs like “Bulls on Parade” or “Killing in the Name”, but they ought to keep their fingers crossed for a Rage Against the Machine tour in 2012. What better place than here. What better time than now.


page twenty | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

CULTURE

The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

REVIEWS

Friendly Fires puts other bands to shame I

MAX HIRTZ CONTRIBUTOR

I generally try to avoid physical activity at all costs, but lo and behold, I had sweat in my hair walking out of the Commodore Ballroom on Oct. 18. Theophilus London and Friendly Fires, with their physics-defying acrobatics and lightning-fast sprinting, made every other band in existence look like a bunch of overweight walruses. Friendly Fires’ frontman Ed Macfarlane dove into crowd during, like, the second song. The only person not losing his shit was a uncharacteristically emotionless cardboard cut-out of Michael Jackson. Strange, because he’s usually pretty good. Check out Max Hirtz’s photo gallery of Friendly Fires and Theophilus London at: runnermag.ca Friendly Fires frontman Ed Macfarlane gave an electrifying performance on Oct. 18 at the Biltmore Cabaret. MAX HIRTZ/THE RUNNER

INTERVIEW

Rising Canadian star Alyssa Reid hits the road I

KATYA SLEPIAN CONTRIBUTOR

Alyssa Reid’s career has been insane ever since she made her debut in the summer of 2010. The Canadian singer-sonwriter, these days, has been busy touring to support her album, The Game, which counts among its tracks the platinum-certified hit, “Alone Again”. The Runner caught up with Reid recently, and asked a her a few questions about how it feels to be where she is now. Katya Slepian: Your song “Alone Again” hit platinum recently. How does that feel? Alyssa Reid: It’s crazy, especially because it was my first single and I didn’t even know how anything worked. I got gold, and then a month later and the song went

platinum. It was very overwhelming. Now that I know I’m capable of reaching [platinum], I’m going to shoot for that or more every time. When I released “Alone Again” I didn’t really have any expectations for the song and when I realized what it actually did and the magnitude of the song, it definitely set the goals for my album and what I’m going to do next. KS: You just started your tour on Oct. 1. How does it feel to be on tour again? Is it different this time around? AR: It’s very different. The first time I came on tour it was the Much Music Soda Pop tour and I opened and hosted the shows, I got to ride on a tour bus and the shows were packed every single night. Then the second time I went [on tour] it was with Danny Fernandes and JRDN. This time

it’s my first time co-headlining. Neverest and I are pretty new, so it’s very different to come out and be standing on our own two feet. It’s nice to get this opportunity and to do it with people who are in the same boat as I am. Though being in a van is not as wonderful as a tour bus. KS: What’s your favourite part about touring? What’s your favourite type of venue? AR: For local shows, it’s making friends and meeting all my fans. I do a lot of shows in Toronto so I have a select group of fans that come to absolutely every single show and it’s nice to get to know them. And with touring, I get to meet fans from everywhere and not just Toronto. For venues, I really like the really grungy-looking clubs that are packed

with people. KS: What’s the coolest thing your fans have ever done for you? AR: On my birthday, I received a scrapbook from 15 fans. They contacted my family and my best friends and everyone sent in letters and messages for me. They gave it to me on my birthday and it was the sweetest thing. I bawled my eyes out. KS: With such a dedicated fan base behind you, where do you see your career going from here? AR: My wish for my career is that I can accomplish what I accomplished in Canada, worldwide, in America, Europe and all over the world.


www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

CULTURE

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page twenty one

REVIEWS

COLUMN

Stuff your dad likes: British rock Jacob Zinn isn’t old enough to give you fatherly advice, but he’s old enough to sneak you into R rated movies.

Boris fails to capture Vancouver

Boris fans were in a psych-haze on Tuesday, Oct. 11. KRISTI ALEXANDRA/THE RUNNER

I

KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR

FLICKR/RYAN WOODLAND

I

JACOB ZINN CONTRIBUTOR

Ever since the British Invasion of the mid‘60s, rock ‘n’ roll has not been the same. It’s been better. That wave rolled into North America like a tsunami and came with electric guitars, mop tops and reckless, six-o’clocknews-worthy misbehaviour. And your dad loved it. It started with The Beatles versus The Rolling Stones, but soon spread to include other big acts like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Cream. Imagine being in high school when “Stairway to Heaven” or “Another Brick in the Wall” was first released. If you can’t imagine that, ask your dad—he was a teenager once too, you know. Maybe your dad was born a bit later and grew up when punk pioneers like The Clash and Sex Pistols were rampaging on London streets. Or maybe he preferred the founding fathers of heavy metal, like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Motörhead. He might’ve even worn a Union Jack shirt with the sleeves cut off, just like Def Leppard. Whatever the case, Vancouver has several big-name British musicians coming

through, and this may be you and your dad’s last chance to see them. On Oct. 27, Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, will play a solo performance of the band’s 1969 rock opera, Tommy. The estimated 90-minute set will cover all four sides of the double album, including such classics as “The Acid Queen”, “I’m Free” and “Pinball Wizard”. Just remember that if he sings “My Generation”, he’s talking about baby boomers and flower children. That same night, renowned instrumental guitarist Jeff Beck plays a sold out Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, sure to feature “Scatterbrain” and some famous covers of other rock peers and idols. If your dad grew up in the ‘80s, he might appreciate a little law-breaking, after-midnight-living heavy metal from Birmingham’s Judas Priest. They perform with Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society on Oct. 30 at Rogers Arena on Priest’s farewell Epitaph World Tour. British rock ‘n’ roll is arguably the largest influence on American classic rock bands. Your dad surely has a Beatles record in the house, so ask him how to use the record player and give it a listen.

The Biltmore Cabaret, with its dark enclaves, maniacal trophy-headed bucks and near-medieval-inspired furniture, seems the perfect venue for a doompsych party — and playing host to famed Japanese psych-sludge band Boris, along with guests Tera Melo and the Master Musicians of Bukkake, expectations were high. Well, to be quite honest, a line-up of the above bands and their reputations doesn’t exactly elicit clear expectations — anything could happen — but you at least know that when you spend $23 on a three-band freak-metal bill on a Tuesday (Oct. 11), it’s going to be good. At least you’d hope it would be. Unfortunately, the freakiest part of the entire night is that it wasn’t satisfyingly freaky at all. Save for the seven-piece Seattle band Master Musicians of Bukkake, who opened the evening with their brand of synthy psych-fuzz and tropic-sounding percussion that evokes images of a voodoo cult takeover, the evening was a snooze. Tera Melo’s disjointed, uncoordinated songs had audience members wondering if their lack of timing and musicality was purposeful. One particularly miffed

crowd member yelled toward the stage: “why do you guys hate music?” The California band’s set failed to engage the crowd with its poor execution, sounding at times like a cheap, dissonant imitation of Built to Spill. By the time the anxiously awaited Boris took stage just before midnight, the crowd was both bored and loaded. The Japanese psych-rockers kicked off their set with “Riot Sugar”, a heavy fuzzed-out song that meanders into a slow, melodic jam. They followed it up with “8”, a surprisingly pop-rock-y tune. The band kept the audience mostly captivated through atmospheric favourites from“Attention Please” to “Spoon”, which had most male fans drooling over vocalist-keyboardist Wata. Still, Boris’ low-key performance could have been taken for laziness, as about a third of the audience disappeared throughout the band’s set. Struggling to keep the crowd entertained, Boris kicked back into the sludgepunk “1970” from this year’s release Heavy Rocks. It was a steep wind-down to “Aileron”, which starts out dangerously minimalistic and develops into a slow, droney triumph. By the end of the evening, Vancouverites had enough of the freakishly tame event and shuffled out of the Biltmore into the brisk-but-familiar streets.


page twenty two | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

CULTURE

The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

TELEVISION

An open letter to FOX: Kill the Simpsons I

BRENDAN TYNDALL CONTRIBUTOR

Like many of you reading this, I was raised on The Simpsons. I still remember when I was a nine-year-old kid, watching the show back when it was on only once a week. This was back around 1994 or so, and there was something almost risqué about The Simpsons. It’s hard to imagine it now, as the show seems pretty tame by today’s standards, but according to my mother, The Simpsons was corrupting my impressionable nine-year-old brain. I couldn’t get enough of it. When I watch an episode from the golden years, I catch myself chuckling at the jokes I’m anticipating in my head before the characters onscreen say a word. When Sideshow Bob steps on the rake for the 35th time in a row, each time uttering the same exasperated monotone grumble, I still laugh as if it’s the first time I’ve seen it. So, as you can image, news that the show was in danger of being cancelled was a big surprise to me. The show’s been around for so long, its almost impossible to imagine The Simpsons not being on the air. To put this into perspective, for many of you reading who are recent graduates of high school, there has never been a point in your life when The Simpsons has not been around.

Many of you who have been watching it for as long as I have should aware of the sharp decline in the quality of the show. The early episodes of the show were arguably the best comedy television ever produced. Then came the slow decent in mediocrity. After about half a decade worth of consistently brilliant work, The Simpsons began to let the occasional bad episode slide. The episode that started it was towards the end of the eighth season, an episode called “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase”, which aired on May 11, 1997. The episode was a series of vignettes revolving around several of the show’s lesser characters. The ninth season also had a few mishaps; “All Singing All Dancing” –– in which the plot of the entire episode is exactly what the title describes –– comes to mind. Overall, the season was decent. When the tenth season of the show came around, about half the episodes were garbage, and the other half were good. From there on each season’s ratio of quality to crap became skewed more heavily in favour of the crap category. Now, twenty-three seasons in, there’s hardly one decent joke per show, let alone a good episode. What went wrong? First of all, in the old episodes, famous people would play people other than themselves. Think of

how great Kesley Grammer was as Sideshow Bob, Phil Hartman as Troy McLure and Lionel Hurtz, Albert Brooks as Hank Scorpio, or Jon Lotivz as about fifteen different versions of the same slightly effeminate, eccentric New York type. The guest star’s role would also be relevant to the plot of the episode. Now the show consists mainly of celebrities playing themselves merely for the sake of throwing a celebrity into the show for advertising’s sake. Is there any living celebrity who has not appeared on The Simpsons by now? Most importantly, all of the clever writing has disappeared. Modern episodes have lost the satirical content, and consist mainly of the characters getting themselves into one zany situation after another with little regard for reality and no sign of social comment. The charaters suffered too. Homer did a lot of stupid things, but in earlier episodes you got the sense he was always trying to do the right thing, but always failing miserably. Perhaps emerging shows like Family Guy, with its crude humour that beats the viewer over the head with obvious visual gags and pop culture references that do not pertain to the plot of the episode whatsoever, had forced The Simpsons to change its show in order to keep up with evolving consumer tastes. Or perhaps the show’s writing went downhill around the time when creator Matt Groening began work on Futurama in

1999, a show that was much smarter than what The Simpsons had become, even if it lacked the audience. The Simpsons has come to the point where it has been terrible for longer than it ever was good. When any show has been on the air for a quarter century, it has the potential of becoming stale. Fox would have been wise to follow the example set by Seinfeld: go out while you’re on top and people will always remember your show as being great. The Simpsons would’ve been wise to do the same thing. Unfortunately for them, it’s far too late. The show’s reputation has been tarnished. The decision to prolong the show’s life for another two years is merely a waste of time and money. Someone please pull the plug and let The Simpsons die.

FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

OPINION

3-D remakes cash in and play it safe I

MARCO HORNA CONTRIBUTOR

It seems today that all we see in movies are re-makes, reboots, and we are now starting to see a rise of re-releases – and why do they all have to be in 3-D? I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kwantlen film professor Dorothy Barenscott about these trends in film. A little background: 3-D film has existed since as early as the 1930s, but was popularized in the 1950s. Barenscott attributes that rise in popularity of 3-D films to the threat of TV to

the film industry. Similarly as the YouTube culture and movie piracy –– now at an all time high –– this presents a similar threat to the film industry. So what does this have to do with 3-D? In these times, the film industry relies on selling an experience to get people to go to the movies. If people can feel like they are immersed in the film that is likely to get people back in the movie theatres. Barenscott also mentioned independent film makers trying to create a meaningful use for 3-D; hopefully we’ll get to see some of that in the future. So how does this relate to the three Rs,

reboot, re-make, re-release? According to Barenscott, the ongoing threat of movie piracy combined with the current economic recession has forced studios to play it safe when it comes to making movies. Sure, we could have a movie that would make us question everything we thought we knew, but the movie might not sell as well as say the new Batman movie. Franchises are another way to guarantee that you keep the audience coming back. Re-releases, however, are all about the nostalgia factor.

The idea in itself is safe, because you know the movie already did well once. We definitely saw this with the Lion King 3-D, which wound up being the top grossing movie of September. Hopefully though, in the future, we’ll get to see less rehash of the same thing we’ve seen over and over. Movies that will be re-released in 3-D in 2012 include Beauty and the Beast (Jan. 13), Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (Feb. 10), Titanic (April 6), Finding Nemo (Sept. 14).


The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

CULTURE

page twenty three | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

SONIC ARCHAEOLOGY

Vinyl Dust-off: The Clash’s Sandinista! The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable.” —Leon Trotsky

“ I

LLIAM EASTERBROOK SENIOR FEATURES WRITER

5/5 records

Arab Spring, unrest in Greece and Rome, anarchy in Britain, anti-capitalist protests in New York and Boston, and now, a widespread bloom of grassroots protest movements all across North America. It seems Trotsky was on to something. Perhaps the Occupy protests aren’t nec-

PHOTO BY MICHAEL BROPHY

essarily a socialist or communist movement, but they are, at the pith of it all, about people — all people. They are the result of a generation finally snapping their eyes open, lifting away the veil of corrupt authority and institution, shedding the fetters of consumerism and corporatism, inequality and nationalistic jingoism, and replacing the plastic windows of their television screens with a real picture in a frame — a window overlooking a world of imperialism, hedonism, and miry consequence. The protests are a long overdue slap in the face to our generation’s complacency regarding corporate greed. They reflect the desires of people all over the world, to relinquish their apathy when it comes to kyboshing the perpetuators of climate change and inequality. If for nothing else, the Occupy protests seem to be calling for egalitarianism, once and for all, in the form of a unified all-for-one-and-one-for-all élan. The borders gone, walls fallen, nationalisms tossed aside. What remains is terse solidarity: for change around the world. Make no mistake, this is what could happen: a revolution to “occupy” the world. At any rate, it should happen — if humanity wants to save face before it’s too late. The Clash began their assault on the music world by thrusting gritty, ugly, politically charged rock and roll at the throat of the masses. With classic albums like their self-titled debut, The Clash and the iconic London Calling, the Clash — once hailed as “the only band that matters” by Epic Records’ Bruce Harris — shed their punk rock skin and its limitations at the height of their popularity, opting to explore more diverse musical territories they had only hinted at on previous albums. Sandinista! would turn out to be the most politically conscious and artistic album the band would produce before their demise in 1986. It anticipated the world music trend of the 1980s, and also drew opus-like comparisons to the Beatles’ White Album. Incorporating diverse musical textures such as reggae, jazz, calypso, gospel, rap, dub, folk, rockabilly and punk, Sandinista! was put out by the Clash as a triple LP for the price of a single LP. Joe Strummer, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the British quartet, became

increasingly interested in foreign political movements in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also explored his affinity for diverse music, opting to transform the band’s image from in-your-face political punkrockers to world-conscious egalitarians, a new punk archetype that could adopt new musical forms while still maintaining credibility and attitude. Sandinista! takes its name from the Nicaraguan socialist group the Sandinistas (the Sandinista National Liberation Front, or FSLN), who overthrew political leader Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. They instituted policies of mass literacy, health care, and gender equality. They were opposed by Contras, CIA-backed militant groups that repeatedly attacked state and civilian targets in Nicaragua — despite the electoral victory of the FSLN. Strummer was sympathetic to the FSLN and their movement toward social reform. If Strummer were still alive, he would be involved in the Occupy protests. Sandinista! is a quintessential political album by a quintessential political band. The first of many around North America, the Wall Street protest, situated in Liberty Square, New York, has been engaging the “99 per cent” — the dissatisfied masses and enraging the corporatist “1 per cent” since Sept. 17. Vancouver’s response to Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Vancouver, began on Oct. 15 at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the heart of the City’s financial district. Like the New York protest, Occupy Vancouver is a public reaction to the growing disparity between rich and poor — what is quickly becoming the dissipation of the middle class. For me, the morning of Oct. 15 began like any other. I woke up, ate breakfast, tied my shoes, let my dog out, and packed my bag. The only difference, aside from the air of excitement hanging just above my head, was that I painted the back of an old pizza box with white paint, a sign that read, “I’m a surfer, not a serf,” a variation I would hoist proudly above my head in solidarity with countless others across the world. I also listened to Sandinista! — in particular “The Magnificent 7”, arguably the first politically charged rap song ever recorded. “Don’t you ever stop long enough to start?/ Get your car outta that gear!” Strummer sings...


vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page twenty four

CULTURE

www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

SONIC ARCHAEOLOGY

Lliam Easterbrook, sonic archaelogist, brings you his latest finds from excursions into ancient record bins. This week, Lliam writes about The Clash’s Sandinista! and the Occupy protests.

CONTINUED ...questioning the sense of the 9-5 rat race. And after missing my bus by seconds, I pointed my thumb skyward in a last ditch effort to make it from White Rock to the downtown core by 10 a.m. Unexpectedly, the very first car pulled over, and I hopped in. “Heya mate,” the driver exclaimed in an easternAustralian accent: “Name’s Ken. Howrya?” We went through introductions; he asked where I was going, and he said he would be happy to drive me. He asked what my sign was for, and what it read. We talked about all the great surf spots in Eastern Australia, how Surfer’s Paradise is ridden with overhanging apartment buildings, high-rises and corporate infrastructure that looms over the beach, creating a thick shadow-blanket in the daytime –– and how, in contrast, Byron Bay has grown organically to be one of the best natural surf spots in the world. He was on his way home to pack his stuff for a permanent move to Canada. He said he would have liked to join the protest, and that it was for a good cause. He mentioned social change, awareness and community — and that he hoped it would be peaceful. I told him I agreed with him. He dropped me off and wished me luck. I thanked him for caring about a stranger. He said we weren’t strangers any longer, and that was that. I met up with my two friends. We grabbed coffee and walked to the art gallery, smoking and wondering along the way why we were the only people carrying signs. We thought, momentarily, that the whole thing was a bust—that nobody was going to be there, and that our hunches regarding Vancouver’s idiotic, booze-fuelled riot having resulted in factional dissymmetry and a general disdain for anything even remotely resembling a mob, were true. Boy was I wrong. We turned the corner and immediately heard the loudspeaker, the uplifting murmur of hundreds of voices, and a stoic air wrapping the whole shebang in a bubble of optimism—Christ, even the police were smiling. Oh enigmatic Vancouver … I lifted my camera from my bag and began taking pictures—children with signs, dogs wearing signs and people of every class

LLIAM EASTERBROOK/THE RUNNER

— high-class suits, no-class boots and everything in between. It was everyone supporting everyone else — everyone hearing everyone else, instead of simply waiting for his or her turn to speak. Then my camera jammed on me. Being an old Canon from the early 1980s: the film must have slipped or torn. An older man came suddenly skipping by with a sign that read, “a compassionate world begins with you.” He stopped, looked at me, and then blurted, “Hey, you there, take my picture!” I told him my camera was jammed. “I have the same camera, friend. May I?” He took the camera, fiddled with it for a moment, and then said, “Mine did the same thing twenty years ago. Tell you what … my name’s Ken, and my wife’s name is Gail. If you head across the way to the kid’s station, I have an extra disposable camera. Tell her Ken sent you for it.” I thanked him and walked through the throng of people in the direction he had pointed, found Gail who immediately smiled over a hot cup of tea, rummaging through her bag for the camera, which when found, she handed over like it was nothing. I thanked her, and said I would make good use of it. It was a day of Kens — literally. And with people all over the world suddenly becoming politically motivated — catching fire like a spark in dry brush, the range of Kens,

as it were, has been figurative too. As we ventured on, more smiles, more signs, more music, more photos and more community. An old hippie had set up a mat to the edge of the crowd. He challenged anyone to a game of Twister. He claimed he was the 1 per cent, and anyone who dared challenge him was the 99 per cent. I took up the challenge with more bravado than Donald Trump at a hair loss convention. His record was 6 wins and 0 losses for the day, and after 20 plus minutes of performing strange and excruciating limb contortions my body hadn’t composed since elastic infancy, I won, and he shook my hand. If only all of this social change business were that easy—or better yet, could be decided once and for all by a game of Twister: crotchety establishment vs. newfangled generation. With a line drawn in the sand, we’re making a dogged stand. But anti-capitalist leanings aren’t enough to give these grass roots movements the fuel it needs to burn. Without any clear rhetorical platform on which to stand thus far, the Occupy movements are merely anti-capitalist fodder, and will not invoke change in the masses. That may be okay for now, but a consensus between protestors and their cities needs to be established — a consensus that goes above and beyond nationalistic borders. The movement needs

to transcend country and enter the human sphere — the world sphere — the “I am of this earth” sphere. Unfortunately, the world movement is going to take longer than 20 plus minutes, and it’s surely going to be much more difficult than a simple game of Twister — no matter how vexing the positions are. The players — old against new — are the same; and this is our chance. An emotional Strummer poignantly uttered a simple statement during “London Calling,” his radio show for the BBC World Service: he said, “so now I’d like to say—people can change anything they want to; and that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks. I am one of them. But we’ve all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail . . . People are out there doing bad things to each other. That’s because they’ve been dehumanized. It’s time to take the humanity back into the centre of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed: it ain’t going anywhere. They should have that on a big billboard across Times Square. Without people, you’re nothing. That’s my spiel …” It appears we’re finally listening, Joe. Let’s hope it’s not too late. Play it loud. Play it proud.


www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

CREATIVE

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page twenty five

FICTION

Diaries of the affected I

JARED JARED JARE D VA VAIL VAILLANCOURT ILLA LANC NCOU URT CONTRIBUTOR CONT CO NTRIBU BUTO TOR R

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Christie can’t, can n’t,, ei eith t er er. At A dinner din inne nerr to toni nigh ghtt she she either. tonight wass awfully quiet. t I keep kee eep having havi ving ng to to remind remi re mind nd my yself that she’s goin ng th thro roug ugh h a tough to oug u h time time myself going through breaking up up with with Matt. Mat att. t. Either E sh he that or she didn’t lik ke my ccasserole. asse as sero role le.. It It’ss not m y fa aul ultt I’ I’m ma like my fault vege geta tarian an,, I’ve I’ve just jjus ustt ne neve verr had d th thee urge urge to buy y vegetarian, never meat me at!! Ma Mayb ybee I do p put ut the the odd odd sste teak ak o orr pa pack ck of of meat! Maybe steak hott dogs ho dogs iin n my ccar artt and and so some meho how w it m anag ges cart somehow manages to stay staay at the the bottom bot otto tom m beneath bene be neat ath h the the bread. b ea br ad. No No big bi g deal deal – the the restaurant res esta taur uran antt serves serv se rves es a great gre g reat at fillet fillle lett mign mi gnon onet ette te,, I’m I’m to told ld. mignonette, told. I as aske ked d Kr Kris is ttod oday ay iiff he w was as g gay a . I do ay don’ nt n’ asked today gay. don’t thin th ink k I’ll I’ll ever eeve verr hear hear anyone aany nyon onee laugh laug la ugh h that th hat hard har ard d think ever ev er aaga gain in!! He said ssai aid d no no,, an and d re rema ma ark rked ed d tthat hat ha again! remarked II’m I’ m a ma marr rrie ied d wo woma man n an aand d sh shou ould ldn’ n’tt be sstraytray ymarried woman shouldn’t ing in g from from M Mar ark. k. W Whe hen n I to told ld h im m aabo bout bo ut C hrris is-Mark. When him about Christie, ti e, however, how h owev ever er,, he got got really rrea eall lly y quiet. q ie qu iet. t Apparently t. App ppar aren entl en tlly he’s he ’s g got ot a ccru rush sh o on n Sa Sama mant ntha ha, of aall ll p eoplle! e crush Samantha, people! I ca can’ n’tt se seee wh why. y..... sshe he’s ’s n not ot rrea eall lly y ni icee aaround roun ro un nd can’t why... she’s really nice men. me n. M May aybe be ttha hat’ t’ss hi hiss th thin ng, but but either eit ithe herr way w y wa Maybe that’s thing, thee talk th talk made mad adee me rrea eali lize z II’ve ’v ve be b een e tthinking en hink hi nkin nk ing in g realize been too to o fa farr ah ahea ead. d. B Bette ter let Christie Chri Ch rist stie ie cool ccoo ooll do down wn ahead. Better and an d co come me tto o te term rms wi ith h erse er self lf b efor ef o e I st or sstart artt ar terms with herself before spou sp ouse se-h -hun unti t ng n for for o h er. Ju er Juli lian an’s ’s eecstatic csta cs tati ta tiic to spouse-hunting her. Julian’s have ha ve a n anny an n , anyways! anyw yways! s! nanny, Oc Octo tobe ber 15 5th h, 20 2021 21 ---October 15th, D earr d iaary ry,, I di didn dn’t ’t k now no w th they ey m adee ro ad robo b t bo Dear diary, didn’t know made robot mode mo els l of th thos osee al alie iens ns fro ffrom r m th thee te tele levi e isi sion on. I on models those aliens television. saw sa w on ne wa walk lkin ing g ar arou ound nd G Gra ranv nvil nv ille lee IIsland slan sl and d one walking around Granville with an wi n escort esco es cort rt o off li like ke ttwe went ntty army army officers. off f ic icer ers. s. twenty W Wo uld d it b bee called call ca lled ed w wal alki king ng on on those thos th osee lo long n tenng tten en-Would walking tacl c es es?? I ha have ve tto o ad admi mit, t, it’ iit’s t’ss a mu uch b ette et terr ro ro-tacles? admit, much better b bo than my my vacuum vacu va cuum um m – it it was was picking pick pi ckin ing g up trash ttra rash sh bott than ffrom fr om m tthe he ssidewalk idew id ewal alk k an and d st stuf uffi fing ng g iitt in into t a pouch. pou p ouch ch.. stuffing Mayb Ma y e the the CBC CBC wants want wa ntss to o have hav ve so ssome mee ffun un b eMaybe befor fo re rrevealing evealiing g the the city’s city’ y s ne new w st stre reet et cleaners! ccle lean aner ers! s! fore street That Th at w o ld ou db be fu unn ny, I admit. adm dmit it. would funny, C Ch rist ri stie told ttol old d me sshe he ssaw aw o one ne ffrom rom ro m th thee wi winnChristie dow do w to tod day. I cchecked day. heck he ck ked d tthe he n new ews an and d sa saw w th that at today. news th hes esee “aliens” “alien “a ns” ” aar re exploring exp explo lori ring ng the the world w wit ith h the the these are with cons co nsen entt of tthe he U N. I w won onde derr ho how w lo long ng iitt to took ok consent UN. wonder fo or th them em tto o piece piec pi ecee to toge geth ther er stock sto tock ck footage ffoo oota tage ge from fro rom m for together Soma So malia, F ranc ncee an and d Ja Japa pan? n? E Edi diti ting ng tthi h s one Somalia, France Japan? Editing this mu ust h av ve be been nan ight ig htma mare re.. Someone’s Some So m one’ e’s jo joke ke must have nightmare. is goi ing to t pay pay off off big bi time. time ti me.. Still, Stil St ill, l, Christie Chr C hris isti tiee told told going me the he sight ht of of the the thing th g disturbed dist di stur urbe bed d her, her, like lik ke she kn sh knew it was from outerr spa pace ce. Sh Shee wa wass so space. dist tra raug u ht that Julian was crying g when whe I got got distraught home ho me and it to took kM Mar ark and I an hour to o ccal alm m Mark calm th hem both bot o h down. Maybe M ybe I’ll move my reser Ma rthem reserv ati tion o at the Cactus us Club C tomorrow vation ahead to tomorrow nigh ni ght, she could cou uld use a g ood drin nk. kA n Julian nd night, good drink. And co oul u d use a ba b bysi by s tter who who isn’t isn’t emotionally emotiionally could babysitter unstable right ht now. now ow.

Spea Sp eaki king ng of of emotional emotiona em nall instability, inst in stab abil ilit ity, y, Kris Kri K riss was was Speaking jo joki king ng about aabo bout ut the the Halloween Hal allowe ween en story ssto tory ry to to Sam Sam totojoking day. da y I ccou ould ld h hea earr th them em ffrom rom ro m my o off ffic ice. e Id don on’tt could hear office. don’t know kn ow w wha hatt the th he heck heeck happened hap h appe pene ned d out out there, ther th ere, e, but but what Sam Sa m we went nt hom h omee wi with th ttea ears in n he herr eyes. eyes ey es.. Did Did home tears th hey fight? fig ight ht?? Did Did he tell ttel elll her her he had had a crush ccru rush sh ho on n they h he r? M r? May aybe be I sshouldn’t h ul ho uldn dn’t ’t m med eddl dle. e. IIff th thee st stoc ock k her? Maybe meddle. stock figu fi g rees ar gu aren en’t ’t correlated cor orre rela late ted d by the the end end of of the the figures aren’t mont mo nth h we we’l ’lll ha havee a llot ot of un unha app p y investors invest in stor orss – month we’ll unhappy aand an d th they ey won’t won w on’t ’t ttak akee it as as a Halloween Hall Ha llow owee een n prank, pran pr ank, k take eith ei herr. either. Oc Octo tobe berr 16 16th th,, 20 2021 21 --October 16th, Dear De ar d dia iary ry,, ok okay ay – I aadmit, dmit, I’ dm II’m m ge gett ttin ing ga diary, getting litt li ttle le scared sca care red d my myse self lf.. Bu Butt it it’s ’s eeas asy y to rremember em mem embe berr little myself. easy that th a this thi h s is is all all just jjus ustt a st stup upid dH Hal allo lowe ween en p pra ank stupid Halloween prank th he CBC CB BC iss p layi la ying ng.. There’s Ther Th ere’ e’s no ssuc uch h tthing hin i g ass the playing. such aaliens, al iens ie ns,, it it’ss aall ll C GII aand nd rrob obot ot models. mod m odel e s. S till ti ll, on ne CGI robot Still, one o tthose of h see tthings ho hing hi ngss wa w ass sp spea eaki king ng tto a crowd of was speaking th hos osee UF UFO O nuts nu uts on on Broadway Broa Br oadw dway ay sstreet tree tr eet today. y those Traf Tr affi af f c wa fi wass ba back c ed u ck up p fo forr an h our. ou r. IIff th this is iiss Traffic backed hour. just ju st a sstu tupi pid d pr pran ank, k, they’re tthe hey’ y’re re really rrea eall lly y going goin go ing g over ove stupid prank, thee top th to op to pull pul p ulll it off. off o ff.. Also, Also Al so,, they they could ccou ould ld wor ok work on n tthe he robot’s rob obot ot’s ’s aacc ccen ent. t. IItt so ssounded unde un ded d li like ke iitt wa wass accent. fflushing fl lus ushi hing ng dry dry leaves llea eave vess do down w a ttoi wn oile let. t. toilet. Chri Ch rist stie ie told ttol old d me aatt the the restaurant rest re stau aura rant nt that tha hatt the the Christie “v vis i it itor ors” s” w wan antt to m mee eett as m man any y pe peop ople aass “visitors” want meet many people they th ey can. ccan an.. There’s Ther Th erre’ e’ss a lo lott tter ery, y, so so I asked aske as ked d Ma Mark rk if lottery, he’d he ’d eent nter er u us. s. II’d ’d llik ikee to ssee ee h how ow ssophisticated ophi op hist sticat ated ed enter like thes th esee things thin th ings gs really rrea eall lly y are; are; whoever who w h ever er made mad adee them them these coul co uld d be m mak akin ing g a lo lott of m oney on ey aaft fter er tthe h 331s he 1st, t, could making money after 31st, and an d I do don’ n’tt th thin ink k su such ch a ccompany ompa om pany ny w ould ou ld b don’t think would bee an unwise unw u nwis isee in inve vest stme ment nt.. Maybe Mayb Ma ybee if I won won I’d I’d investment. take ta ke Julian JJul ulia ian n with with me me – Mark Mark said ssai aid d he he’ss w ay ttoo oo way busy bu sy preparing pre p repa pari ring ng for for the the holiday hol h olid iday ay season. ssea easo son. n. Last Las L astt as year ye ar Kris Kri K riss nearly near ne arly ly got got into int nto o a bar bar fight figh fi ghtt with with some ssom omee ghou gh ouls ls aand nd a d dem emon on p rinc ri nces ess. s. W hy tthe hey y do don’ n’tt ghouls demon princess. Why they don’t brin br ing g back back prohibition pro p rohi hibi biti tion on I’ll II’l ’lll never neve ne verr know. know kn ow.. bring I ta talk lked ed with wit w ith h Samantha Sama Sa mant ntha ha today tod oday ay and and she she told told tol d talked me sshe he w was as sscared. cared. ca d. H Har ard d to b bel e ie i vee a ffailed aile ai leed Hard believe bask ba sket etba b ll player playe p yer could co b scared. scare r d. But Butt looking loo oki king ng basketball be up aatt her, herr, I never he never er thought tho tho h ug ught I’d see something g othe ot herr than than a scowl sco owl on o he herr face. f ce. So fa ome m thing did dd di other Something happ ha ppen en between bet b etwe ween e her her and nd Kris, K I’m ’ ssure u e of it. ur t happen I’m Now No w if I ccou ould ld jjust ustt fi figu gure re o out ut w wha hat, t, I’lll be sset et.. could figure what, set. They Th ey’v ’vee bo both th bee b en alone a on al ne for fo so o llong, ong, on g, h her er and n They’ve been him. hi m. IIff so som meth hin ing g co coul uld do star arti ting ng tto o ha happsomething could orr is st starting pen pe n between betw be twee e n them, them th em,, it’s it s miraculous mir i acul ulou o s it d idn’ id n’t didn’t happ ha ppen en sooner. ssoo oone ner. r. happen Oc Octo tobe berr 17 17th th,, 20 2021 21 ---October 17th, D De ar d iary ia ry,, th thee new new Internet Inte In tern rnet et sure ssur uree as heck hec h eck k Dear diary, w wo rk ks fastt – JJulian ulia ul ian n and and I we weree ssel elec ecte ted d to toda day. y. works selected today. I fo ffound und out du d ring ri g lunch ch w ith it h Kris Kris aand nd S Saaduring with m ma ntha. That was a llittle ittle trick tric ick I’d I’d seen seeen n work wor ork k mantha.

on tel ttelevision, elev visio on, iinviting nvittin ing both bo oth t perspective perrsp s ec ecti tive lovers loverrs sseparately se para pa rately and nd then t sllip i ping ng away discreetly d screetly di slipping s tthey so hey he y can ca an talk lk k. The Th notice n tice I’d no d won nw as tim med e talk. was timed almo al most st p per erfe fect ctly ly, comi ming n right after aftter e things thi hing ngs almost perfectly, coming bega be gan n to get get awkward. awk w wa ward rd. They Th y were weree chatting chat ch a ting ng began when wh en las lastt I checked, chec ch ecke ked, d, sso o I’ II’ll ll ttake akee th ak that at as as a good good last sign si gn.. sign. Chri Ch rist stie ie w was as q qui uiet et this tthi hiss evening. even ev enin in ng. g She She looks lloo ooks ks Christie quiet so n nat atur ural ral w itth Julian Juli Ju lian an in in her her arms. arms ar ms.. I ca can’ nt natural with can’t imagin ne so some meon one wh who o he help lped e rrebuild eb build i d tthe he imagine someone helped L Li on n’s ’ G ate Br at B idge id ge w antiing tto an o be a mother. mot m othe her. Lion’s Gate Bridge wanting Mark Ma rk w was a mor oree op open en ton nig ight h , to too o – se seei eing ng more tonight, seeing Chri Ch rist stie ie w wit ith h Julian Juli Ju lian an reminded rem min nde ded d hi him m of u Christie with uss in thee hospital, th hosp ho spital al,, just just last llas astt year. year ye ar.. Itt has has been bee een n a while wh sinc si ncee we we’v ’vee cu cudd ddle led d an and d sl slep ept a go good od n ight ig ht’s since we’ve cuddled slept night’s slee sl eep. ee p. I w onde on der wh what at k kin nd of fflowers lowe lo wers rs C hristie sleep. wonder kind Christie llikes? li kes? ke s? S he d des ser e ve vess so some me ffor... or.... we or well l , for ev ever e yShe deserves well, everyth hin ing, g, I guess. gue uess ss. thing, Tomo To morr rrow ow’ss m my da ay of o f. The h ccontest o te on t stt had Tomorrow’s day off. aske as ked d us u ffor or our ur earliest co cconvenience, n enience, so I’ll be nv asked head adin i g down wn to city hall to meet the t e “aliens” th “aaliens” heading then th en. I didn’t d dn di n’t ’ g ive this iv t is prank th pra r nk as much m ch credit mu credi d t as then. give I’d I’ d thou ugh ht – the th idea of of something s mething so g out there th here thought that’s smarter th sma m rt r err tha han us iss a litt tle frightening. friigh ghteeni n ng. I than little on nce rrea ead a bo book calle l d Th The Ki Kill llin i g St S arr, an and d once read called Killing Star, it had h am uch uc h di d ffferen e t ideaa off how w aliens much different woul wo uld d react to m eetiing humans. s. N ow that would meeting Now was scary! I’ll ha have ve fun tom mor o ro ow either way. tomorrow Afte Af ter al aall, l, I d on’t b elieve in al el aaliens. iens ns. After don’t believe Oc Octo tobe berr 18th t , 20 2021 21 ---October 18th, Dear De ar d iary ia ry.... oh oh, sw swee eet mercy. y I cal alle l d Kr Kris diary... sweet called and an d to told ld h him im tto o pr prop pos osee to S Sam am rrig ight h awa ay. y propose right away. Chri Ch rist stie ie aalso lso ls o go gott on onee he heck ck o spee eech c from Christie off a sp speech me o ove verr di dinn nner er aabout bout bo ut ffin indi ding ng a mate mat atee and and but b t bu over dinner finding soon so on.. Af Afte terr I’ I’m m do done ne w wri riti tiing tthi his, s, II’m ’m g goi oing ng tto o soon. After writing this, going latc la tch h on onto to M Mar ark k and and ho hold ld o on n as ttig ight ht as as I can. can. latch Mark tight No w way ay,, no w way ay,, no p pos o si sibl blee wa way. y. T he C CBC BC way, way, possible The wasn wa sn’t ’t p pok oker er-f -fac aced ed aall ll aalo long ng. Th Thos osee th thin ings gs,, wasn’t poker-faced along. Those things, thes th esee vi visi sito tors rs aare re h hon ones estt-to to-g -goo oodn dnes esss re real al!! these visitors honest-to-goodness real! I me mett on onee to toda day. y. I ccan’t an’t an ’t b bel elie ieve ve w wha hatt I sa saw. w. I today. believe what was in the wa he m mid iddl dlee of ccit ity y ha hall ll aand nd tthe here re w was as a ssma mall ll middle city there small crowd of o p rett re tty y mu much ch eeve very ry d emog em ogra raph phic ic iin n Va Vann pretty every demographic couv ver e . Bu Butt th then n tthe he army aarm my pe peop ople le came ccam amee ou outt an and couver. people w g we ot to meet me thee aliens. aali lien ens. s. I was w s there tthe here re almost alm lmos ostt all all got d da y. When it was m y tu turn to to meet me one one n privately, pri riva vate tely ly, I day. my was still co wa cconvinced nv vin nce c d th they were ju ust ccle lean anin ing g ro robo bots ts.. just cleaning robots. Up p close, I un u dersta tand nd w hatt Ch ha Chri rist s ie sai id ab abou out. t..... understand what Christie said about... about... knowing kno k nowi wing ng they’re the h y’ y’re re from ffro om another anotthe h r world. worl wo rld. d. I’ve I’v ’vee never be b en more mor o e te err rrifieed in my life fe. It’s too oo m muc uch h been terrified life. much to think thi hink nk about, abo bout u , too too much much to to understand. un ndersta t nd nd. They’re They Th ey’r ’ree he ere re, they’re they th y’rre benign... b ni be nign... and an nd they’re th hideeous. s. I really rea eallly here, hideous. must mu st w atch at ch thee news newss again. Forget Halloween Halllow owee een n– watch this com th omin ing g ye yearr iiss go goin ing g to be a hell h ll of a lot he lot more more coming going inte in tere rest stin ing. g. interesting.


CULTURE

page twenty six | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 04

The Runner | www.runnermag.ca

POETRY

The pumpkin patch

I

KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR

When I was eight I went to the pumpkin patch with my third grade class

they sat side-by-side

and decomposed beside the

I checked my pumpkin everyday in the windowsill

glossy, gleaming, gutted

we carved our pumkins and placed them neatly on the windowsill of Mrs. Heron’s classroom

where there were tiny little incisions, mysterious fresh stabwounds in my pumpkin’s flesh

glossy, gleaming, gutted

until it caved in entirely

gems that were my peers’

ART BY ANTONIO SU

POETRY

Satori in Cadavers I

LLIAM EASTERBROOK SENIOR FEATURES WRITER

Cadavers is not a peak in Sri Lanka, Cadavers is not a peak in Sri Lanka, Cadavers is not a peak in Sri Lanka, for some reason, was found ruminating in his high school notebook. Now he listened to the rainfall on the sinking tarp fashioned above his head. Lackluster-like, beneath a tumbling. Mumbling sky. He wanted honey and he wanted to press the thigh of a woman under his thumb. A thigh of ruin, he thought. Creamy thighs of ruin. Those creamy thighs of endless ruin. My writ… He looked up from the black borehole clutched by his hands, lowering the cup and raising his eyebrows slightly to allow that extra modicum of frame into view, the way men do when they’re being bothered, to view the shadow before him without raising his face from the shimmer of his potation—clouds reflecting on the undulating liquid—like a shroud in still eyes, he thought. “Adam.” Echoed that voice from the damp, slithering alley walls. “I see you, Adam.” He threw the cup madly against the slick-coated brick and listened to it pink and punk as it clamored to a standstill… Some raven shifted its stance on the banister above, its plumage ruffling sheen, its claws mimicking the punk of the pink below, its eyes sharp for carrion. “Adam.”… He apportioned his eyes. He made his gaze. He loned. Her felt her braids. Ran his lengthy fingers over her braids. Thought about those braids. All he ever heard was “Sin bravely, my son. Sin bravely,” before he made his nightly raids. Before he dipped them in honey and watched the thick string-drip to his boots. The rain melted down the walls. Shined down the walls. Raptured down the walls. It was more than rain, though; it was the semblance of a new flood. It was yesterday, here. Now. And then tomorrow, there. Gone. It was something un-

speakable because it was made up of vast contradiction, he thought. It was everywhere vested in repetition. It was an inexcusable excuse for synergy. Do what you will, he thought, this world is a fiction. He looked up, through, out the funnel, to the moaning street: swing to the bee-bop like a champagne bubble pop pop pop he hit the street fresh and clean new shave, old face, no grace—the mean way he unties her border lace she musks his haste with a rarefied mace out the back door like a shout runing into the arroyo with a pocket full of casino nickels like a treasure trove inside child’s room following her into the slope of machine gunned starry nights like a groom being summoned by church bells like dashboard mysteries of automobile death like forehead mysteries in sketchy time lines like spleens aging on display in a polished store window case silk petals and mambo music, neon lamps, the dull ominous moan that is glow: acid rain outside; sunshine on television Fool’s gold and carnival anthropology dreaming of new ways to behave while pulling ropes of loud gravity and infected tear-duct nimbus clouds like being pinned down by The Shroud of Turin embalmed in samsara dins like the eternality of a footprint or skull in bedrock ‘Lucy, I’m home.’ wherein they were happy without unoriginal thought or semblance of… —He pictured a head of lettuce exploding from the clutch of a tightening vice. No, he thought, it would only crush apart and descend—like a bust of Grecian antiquity— He waved for a cab. (the pitter patter). He caught another. (pitter patter, patter pitter). He whistled for a prostitute. He grabbed another. To pat her and pit her.

There was a long staircase that wrapped its coils around the ribs of the building. They were old and hollow sounding—as if the marrow had been scraped out with a sickle probe long before, and having eons of gyring orgasm to hint of: blemishes spotting the sheets from repeated bleaching, beds creaking like the joints of frail women, dents in the wall from the smacking bed frame, window curtains re-stitched at the rings, nail marks on the hardwood, cigarette burns marking every supple surface, the lack of a common reflection in the fluorescent bathroom mirror. Like a pop-up book of endless boners. Like the nightstand overflowing with packets of hypo-allergenic lubrication. Like the paper bag filled with tepid mayonnaise and congealed ketchup next to the dumpster. Like the firmament truculently silenced by the slick black ceiling. Like a forty-day walk to the lineup behind Jesus Christ… “Adam…” a voice whispered from somewhere in between the walls. In between the nights. The door bolted easily enough. It was the ghoul-creak of the door closing, not her enlarged silhouette that made him worry. That always never made him worry. And he was never more worried than when he was out of the apartment and thought he had left the stove element dialed to max— for he had a vast array of photographs and photo albums collected and arranged numerically from all of those placid yesterdays. Photographs of himself beyond another form, holding a photograph of him beyond another form… “Do you fear the cold, cold ground?”—He slowly allowed his face to make the form of a smile, as if he was gradually amused by the rampant taciturnity beneath him … He didn’t listen to the response, and so I can’t tell you. It might have been something cathartic like shame on you, but shrouded behind the musty curtain of chloroform and cigarette smoke, punctuated by the canal of her thigh leading to his last river: the peak of it all: satori in cadavers and The Fall of Man. It’s great when you find ham under your plate, he thought to himself, and sloughed off to the nearest diner to find her.


PROCRASTINATION

www.runnermag.ca | The Runner

vol. 4 issue 04 | October 25 2011 | page twenty seven

WELCOME TO BABYCAKES

HOROSCOPES

SCORPIO Oct. 24 - Nov. 22

TAURUS April 20 - May 20

Your lucky number is a bakers dozen. Halloween costume ideas: spider, lobster, anything “pinchy.”

Eat more fruit. Halloween costume ideas: The Golden Girls (only if you have friends).

SAGITTARIUS Nov. 23 - Dec. 21

KYLE LEES – THE ARGUS (LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY)

GEMINI May 21 - June 20

SMART ZONE Don’t sleep, shriners want to eat you. Halloween costume ideas: something revealing, but ironic enough to not be deemed slutty.

Your hair is plotting against you again. Halloween costume idea: two-headed dog.

CANCER June 21 - july 23

CAPRICORN Dec. 22 - Jan. 20 A large windfall is coming to you. Only it’s meteorological and not financial. Halloween costume ideas: the entire cast of Lost.

Do us a favour, get the surgery. Please. Halloween costume idea: Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.

AQUARIUS Jan. 21 - Feb 19

God will tell you the meaning of your existence, but in a thick, unintelligible accent. Halloween costume idea: something offensive.

LEO July 24 - Aug. 23

Your next Career: Mime Halloween costume idea: mime, or just anything that doesn’t talk. Shut up. (CUP) — Puzzles provided by BestCrosswords.com. Used with permission.

PISCES Feb. 20 - March 20

VIRGO Aug. 24 - Sept. 23

Someone will spit in your taco. Halloween costume ideas: mermaid, the ogopogo, a piece of nigiri sushi.

ARIES March 21 - April 19

To repeat, a prolapsed anus is NOT normal. Halloween costume ideas: a court jester, Kenny Powers of Eastbound & Down.

Feel free to run in place like a child. Halloween costume idea: a communist. You barely even have to dress up.

LIBRA Sept. 24 - Oct. 23

You will be mistaken for a celebrity you detest. Halloween costume idea: the Old Spice Guy, or Fabio, the other Old Spice Guy.

Across 1- Pillar; 5- Wimp; 9- Actress Anouk; 14- “The Time Machine” race; 15- Actor Estrada; 16- Stylish; 17- Denomination; 18- New Orleans is The Big _ ; 19- Feudal estate; 20- Capital of Estonia; 22- Divert; 23- Facial expression used by Elvis Presley; 24- Surmise; 28- Crimson; 34- Deficient in pigmentation; 38- Coal scuttle; 39- Consumer; 40- Post; 41- Christian festival; 43- Don of talk radio; 44- Russian fighter; 47- Thespians; 48- Magical incantation; 51- Olds model; 52- Extent; 57- Israeli desert; 61- Lee side; 63- _ there yet?; 64- Monogram ltr.; 66- Work like _; 67- Type of sanctum; 68- The sacred scriptures of Hinduism; 69- Travel on; 70- Get to know; 71- Farm females; 72- 24 hour periods; Down 1- Nuisances; 2- New York city; 3- Plinth; 4- Name; 5- “Pure Guava” band; 6- Pertaining to a rare element; 7- Bro’s counterpart; 8- What’s up; 9- Capital of Eritrea; 10- Muslim elder and prayer-leader; 11Hindu lawgiver; 12- Archer of myth; 13- French 101 verb; 21- One of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”; 25- Slangy denial; 26- To and _ ; 27- Make beloved; 29- Usual; 30- Finely powdered earth; 31- Analogy words; 32- Not e’en once; 33- Blows it; 34- Capital city of Western Samoa; 35- Leg or arm; 36- Make indistinct; 37- Ingrid’s “Casablanca” role; 42- Without _ in the world; 45- Chemical ending; 46- Needlefish; 49- Bat abode; 50Fireball; 53- Give merit; 54- Gymnast Comaneci; 55- Sleazy; 56- Borders; 57- Arrest; 58- Fish-eating eagle; 59- Actress Rowlands; 60- Large jug or pitcher; 62- Greek letters; 64- “_ had it!”; 65- Fresh;


page twenty eight | October 25 2011 | vol. 4 issue 4

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