AltWeeklies Wire

'Egg on Mao' Praises a Truly Brave Iconoclastnew

With the publication of Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship, Denise Chong has revived interest in the moral heroism of Lu Decheng and his friends Yu Zhijian and Yu Dongyue.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  10-19-2009  |  Author Profiles & Interviews

Les Claypool Spins Stories of Pigs, Puke and Pinotnew

After a two-year gestation period, Claypool is getting ready to release the first few cases of Purple Pachyderm Pinot Noir, his initial venture into the boutique-wine business and his seventh solo release, Of Fungi and Foe.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  06-22-2009  |  Profiles & Interviews

'Land of Marvels' Foreshadows Iraq Debaclenew

John Somerville, Barry Unsworth's archaeologist hero, is a typical Edwardian abroad. He's a wealthy Englishman who means to do well by others, but in Land of Marvels he's at sea in an ocean of stones.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  03-23-2009  |  Fiction

Woodpigeon Adds Subtle Twists to the Truthnew

Although Woodpigeon's two new discs vary wildly in sound — Treasury Library Canada is lushly orchestrated dream-pop, while Houndstooth Europa is essentially an acoustic home recording — a sense of immediacy is one aesthetic constant.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  02-09-2009  |  Profiles & Interviews

Leonard Cohen's Son Talks About His Dad's Visual Artnew

Though his son says he "doodles" every day, Leonard Cohen is only now opening his visual archives to the public.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  12-09-2008  |  Art

Lack of Diversions Led Castanets to Sonic Leapnew

The fourth Castanets CD, City of Refuge, was recorded during a monthlong stint in Overton, Nevada. Paradoxically, singer-guitarist Ray Raposa found that the area's lack of stimulating diversions led to a creative leap.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  11-11-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

'Through Black Spruce' Charts Epic Flight Northnew

Joseph Boyden's 2005 debut novel, Three Day Road, was a rare flash of literary illumination. A desperate tumble through the heart of darkness, it led us deep into the boreal forest and even deeper into the mud and muck of Flanders during the First World War.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  10-03-2008  |  Fiction

'Bedlam' Took Its Toll on Mars Voltanew

Rather than a band bio, the group's website ( offers a six-page chronicle of what transpired during the making of its fourth CD, The Bedlam in Goliath. It involves a creepy antique Ouija board and a string of catastrophes weird enough to fry at least one sound engineer’s brain.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  05-27-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Laura Veirs Sails Stormy Sea of Lovenew

As Veirs explains from her home, Saltbreakers is both a metaphorical voyage into the brine and a beautifully poetic journal describing the end of one relationship and another's beginning.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  04-28-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Padma Viswanathan Revives India's Divided Pastnew

On reading a particularly heartbreaking chapter from Viswanathan's intricate family saga, the first-time novelist's aged grandmother took to her bed, feeling upset and perhaps even betrayed.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  04-14-2008  |  Author Profiles & Interviews

Hawksley Workman Celebrates Springnew

Workman loves to talk -- perhaps even more than he loves to play music.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  03-17-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Group Toggles Between Opposite Polaritiesnew

Umphrey’s McGee can jump easily from sweet choral harmonies to set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-sun explorations
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  02-01-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Robert Bringhurst's Simple Elegancenew

Everywhere Being is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking is an assemblage of well-considered ruminations, each one distinct but also linked by their creator’s deep erudition and plainspoken literary style.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  01-11-2008  |  Poetry

Blue Rodeo Braves Collaborationnew

For Small Miracles, the veteran singer-songwriters opened up the decision-making process to bassist Bazil Donovan, multi-instrumentalist Bob Egan, drummer Glenn Milchem, and keyboardist Bob Packwood.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  01-11-2008  |  Profiles & Interviews

Tim Flannery Moves From Global Warming to Animalsnew

For Chasing Kangaroos, the Australian professor and paleontologist dives into a marsupial milieu, and its relatively narrow focus may put off recent Flannery converts.
The Georgia Straight  |  Alexander Varty  |  01-04-2008  |  Nonfiction

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