The past two years of the pandemic left some of us with a lot of downtime. With commutes curtailed, fewer opportunities for socializing or travel, and even, at odd times, absolute lockdown, now was the time to catch up on TV or movies or novels. For me, in the spring and summer of 2021, this meant re-watching The Sopranos, and re-reading Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Somehow, the TV series and the novel worked together, and not just because they were massive in scale, immersive in their drop into characters’ lives, and with a weird combination of temporal specificity and distance. Not only do you see A.J. or Meadow grow up in The Sopranos, but you also have that memorable scene in the final volume of Proust where our narrator, Marcel, thinks he is seeing his friends in disguise as themselves as older people, until he realizes that they have, quite simply, aged.
David Beers grew up in San Jose, California where his father was a satellite test engineer, and moved to Vancouver in 1991. His book Blue Sky Dream (1996) documents the utopian hopes and subsequent failures of the Silicon Valley version of the American Dream. He served as senior editor at the San Francisco Examiner, Mother Jones and the Vancouver Sun. His writing has won the American National Magazine Award and, twice, the Canadian National Magazine Award. After Vancouver Sun management fired him over an opinion piece in support of freedom of speech post-911, in 2003 he founded and was editor in chief of The Tyee, a much-awarded “progressive” online magazine. He lives in Vancouver.
Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and former video artist whose work focuses on sexual politics, aesthetics, emotion, acting out, bad behavior, and various other crevices of the American psyche. Along with her latest book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes To Campus, she’s the author of Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation; How to Become A Scandal; Against Love: A Polemic, and a few others. Kipnis is a professor at Northwestern, where she mostly teaches filmmaking.
“Hello, Canada. Tonight has been a hundred and fifty years in the making.”
With his earnest eyes and that well-tailored smile, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau speaks to Canadians through a YouTube video on the Canada 150 website. The occasion is New Year’s Eve, 2016. With Confederation’s sesquicentennial looming on July 1st, this year has been rebranded by the government as #Canada150.
In the fall of 1994 we had been in our new offices in the Lee Building at the intersection of Main & Broadway for close to three years. The old office was above Guys & Dolls Billiards, across the street, and was sort of funky. But the new premises were more impressive. Cleaner and seemingly more organized.
Before Vancouver’s Main Street became a Portlandia branch plant there really wasn’t much reason to spend any time on its sidewalks. There were no single-origin coffee shops, craft-beer meccas or faux rec-room restaurants. With the noble exception of Neptoon records, and a couple of places along Antiques Row, it wasn’t much of a shopping destination either. No shops trumpeting local designers, organic materials, locally sourced handicrafts and oddball wares. Twee was pretty much absent on Main back then. Irony too.