Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Preview of Canzine 2011

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Canzine 2011

This Sunday, Canzine, Canada's largest festival dedicated to zine and DIY creative culture, will take place in Toronto. Since it's humble beginnings way back in 1995, Canzine has offered a communal platform for the most independent of authors, publishers and artists to showcase their talent outside of the mainstream publishing marketplace. This year, dozens of vendors will fill out the pleasant environs of the Community Arts Centre at 918 Bathurst Street. Expect to stumble upon carefully considered and constructed zines, chapbooks and art objects, as well as readings, speakers and delicious food options. Each room at Canzine will also be individually curated with an art installation piece, just to give you something extra to be overwhelmed by as you make your way through the menagerie of handcrafted offerings.

Apart from stating the obvious — that is to say, expect the unexpected at Canzine — let's start with a new addition for this year's festival: a food market! In a brilliant move, the Canzine organizers decided to partner with Toronto Underground Food Market, which is a collective of DIY chefs that will be offering a wide variety of dishes that sound as impressive and diverse as the list of zine vendors. Just a few items from the menu include: Elle Cuisine's roasted beet & fried goat cheese with balsamic reduction, basil & mint puree, frisee lettuce; West Side Beef's West Side Po'Boy Sliders; Bistro Filipino's deep fried quail eggs; Sullivan & Bleeker's assorted flavours of mini cupcakes & cookies. Big Smoke Coffee will also be on hand for those in need of a latte or shot of espresso to push on through the afternoon.

As with past editions of Canzine, this year's event will feature the 1-2 Punch Book Pitch, which pits would-be authors/creators against each other in a creative death-match, where they are to concisely plug their project to a panel of distinguished members of the independent publishing community for evaluation. This year's jury consists of Coach House Books' Evan Munday, illustrator and graphic novelist Fiona Smyth and Open Book: Toronto's very own Executive Director Amy Logan Holmes. A word to the wise: this feature of Canzine may not be for the faint of heart! Nevertheless, it will no doubt shed much light on the mysteries of successful idea pitching and project development for independent authors and artists. A must-attend event if you have a project in the works.

Also a perennial favourite, Canzine is again hosting the Radical Readings Series. Every year, the event invites a group of high quality authors published by independent presses within Canada to read from their groundbreaking works. This year will feature South African Danila Botha (now living in Halifax), who will read from her collection of short stories Got No Secrets (Tightrope Books), Montrealer/Torontonian cartoonist Ethan Rilly, who will discuss his work Pope Hats (AdHouse Books), and Jonah Campbell, a "gonzo food writer" and the blogger responsible for Still Crapulent After All These Years.

Canzine is of course all about tactile, aesthetically pleasing products of human creativity, and the event itself will reflect this with a series of visual art initiatives. The film collective Trash Palace will curate a "Mental Hygiene" room, which will feature projections of educational, found and bizarro films. The "Typewriter Orchestra" room will be just as it sounds: a room of 12 poets clack, clack, clacking out poetry on the spot, with the intention of using the physicality of their writing devices to produce rhythmic staccato music.

This year's special panel has selected the theme "Mental Health" and it's relationship both as genre in independent works and as a current topic that has touched the panelists personally and professionally. Canzine has invited Dave Cave, Maranda Elizabeth, Alex Jansen, Ellen G. Levine and Lindsay Gibb to participate in what will surely be an enlightening discussion on an extremely relevant and complex topic.

Last but certainly not least, there are the nearly 200 vendors that will occupy the tables on the floor of the community centre. Every imaginable type of independent production will be represented by this, the largest gathering of zine and DIY publishers and creators in Canada. Take a look at Broken Pencil's website for mini-profiles on some of the author and artist vendors and participants at this year's event.

One thing is for certain about Canzine: from the decadent and delicious new food market, to the impressive line-up of speakers and panelists, to the crowded floor of the vendor marketplace, every aspect of this important cultural event proves that there still a place for that which is well-made.

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