An excerpt from an article I wrote for Maisonneuve:.
Here, the small producers are always at the mercy of the larger fan machine. Melanie Audet, who stands behind a wall of handmade stuffed monsters (creations from her company Curious Little Bird) thinks that this year’s event layout has hurt her sales. Attendees have to pass by the cheaper, mass-produced merchandise before heading over to the Artist’s Alley, where smaller creators are set up. “The toys made in China, that shouldn’t be the first thing people see,” says Audet. When fans make their way to the Artist’s Alley, they’re thrown off by the price.
Adria Lynn Filion of Wasteland Artisan—whose primary wares are handmade leather masks, sometimes featuring long, Venetian-style noses or Cthulu chin tentacles—was happy to be placed in the vendor’s section instead of the Artist’s Alley. “Nobody sees you back there,”she says. But even still, she wishes there was a separation between vendors who resell purchased merchandise and those who, like Filion, make their products by hand. Customers come to her booth and ask her why her wares cost so much. The answer? “Well, because I pay myself almost minimum wage.”
Lau, speaking while putting together floral arrangements, says that she was in the middle of cooking dinner when she got the call about her shop. She biked over in her pajamas to find that “everything was game over.” As she stands in a gutted room with exposed beams and insulation, her plants—the only thing her insurance would cover—are darkened by the plywood-covered storefront.
But things weren’t as hopeless as she thought: News of the fire spread quickly, and local resident Nora Butler Burke and some friends began an online fundraiser—with word spread primarily through Facebook—to help Lau with the rebuilding costs. The campaign reached its ten thousand dollar funding goal in under 24 hours. A Vancouver resident, who hadn’t lived in the Mile End for nine years, felt compelled to help out. The Royal Phoenix, a local bar, raised money as well, and a supportive tweet from the quintessentially Montreal band Arcade Fire certainly didn’t hurt. As Burke told CBC’s Daybreak, Lau is “really institutional to not just Bernard Street, but to the neighbourhood.”
Feature spread for Reader’s Digest.
A short webcomic review I wrote for Bitch Magazine's Pulp issue:
Now that Susan the secretary has been kidnapped from Earth, her life will never be the same! Drawn by Megan Gedris, the webcomic I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space follows Susan as she falls in with the swashbuckling Janet McSapphic and her crew of lady-loving ne’er-do-wells as they take on cannibals, kings, and a string of nemeses from here to Lesbos-1. Drawing inspiration from campy musicals and old pulp novels, Gedris brilliantly lampoons everything from 1950s culture to golden age cartoons in the twice-weekly comic, and in the process gives us panels full of modern wit and retro-pop flair
The beginning of my piece on the CRTC for This Magazine's Year in Review special issue:
In the fall of this year, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made waves when it refused Bell Canada’s bid to purchase Astral Media Inc. The CRTC deemed the purchase, which would have cost Bell $3.38 billion and given it nearly 34 percent of the English market share, and just over 24 percent of the French one, “not in the public interest.” Given the commission’s past laissez-faire attitude, no one had expected the CRTC to take such a strong stance. The Astral/Bell decision, however, was only the beginning. With the help of its new chairperson, Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC aims to focus on public rather than corporate interest, putting “Canadians back at the centre.” Whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen, but here are four decisions you may not have heard about from 2012:
The new watchdog
“I am pleased to announce the creation of the position of Chief Consumer Officer and the appointment of Barbara Motzney to this position,” said Blais in a press release late this summer. Motzney, who assumed her duties on October 1, will provide the CRTC with a better understanding of the concerns of Canadian consumers, ensuring that “consumer issues are integrated into all aspects of the CRTC’s work.” With changes like these, the CRTC hopes to, as the Globe and Mail’s Rita Trichur puts it, “win back the trust of a cynical public, which has come to regard the CRTC as a champion of big business – or, worse, an archaic institution that has outlived its usefulness.”