Sword & Mythos – Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles

These genres have been inherited by writers who don’t build their fiction on fear of other races, who are themselves diverse, and who view women very differently. As the Introduction says, “we are not the same writers they were.” This book has redeemed genres that I loved but which felt so tainted by their forbears that I had trouble reading them. From Iceland to Indonesia, Mexico to China, these stories lit up my imagination.

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Fierce Fest 2014 Punk Brunch – October 4th – The Old Foundry – Bellingham, WA

FIERCE FEST is a radical queer and feminist D.I.Y. festival dedicated to dismantling oppression, building community and empowering marginalized voices. Because we can use art and music as tools for empowerment, reclaiming space, solidarity and education. Because we refuse to accept unsafe, oppressive conditions for marginalized people in our communities and the underrepresentation of trans, queer and female artists.

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Accordion Noir Festival Speakeasy – September 13th, 2014 – Russian Hall, Vancouver, BC

The “I Hate My Landlord” song went down well in the landlord’s paradise of Vancouver, and everyone was singing along, “Hypocrite, oh hypocrite, I’m not hip to your hypocritic shit.” They had loads of folks dancing, especially for some excellent covers of Tom Waits “Chocolate Jesus” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. No, really, they did a great job on Toxic, and the fiddle handled the electronica parts well.

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Accordion Noir Festival Rendezvous – September 12th, 2014 – Russian Hall, Vancouver, BC

I always try to sit by the sound folks. The sound is designed to be perfect from the middle of the hall, but it inevitably is just a bit better from where they’re sitting, especially in any show with a lot of people in attendance and instruments changing all the time. It’s also a secondary source of entertainment and, occasionally, a way to learn new and original swearing. That said, damn fine job, dude. That was the hardest working sound person I’ve seen in ages – he put on mileage making sure everything sounded good.

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The Matadors – September 4, 2014 – Funky’s, Vancouver, British Columbia

For those who know, I’ve been writing music and album reviews for Bucketlist lately. My review for The Matadors, though, was removed and re-edited. They felt it was too political (after two editors passed the review to go online), and Hooch, the frontsman for The Matadors, felt it was a personal attack. Due to this review, I was asked to “step down” from Bucketlist for a while.

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DakhaBrakha – August 31st, 2014 – Rio Theatre, Vancouver, BC

DakhaBrakha had the most unique approach I’ve seen to Vancouver theatre audience punctuality. They were set up and ready to go while folks were still milling about in the aisles chatting… so, they dove straight in with the pounding drums of their first song. Afterwards, Marko introduced them – “Hello, everybody. We are DakhaBrakha, from free Ukraine,” and the crowd erupted in applause and cheers.

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Bride & Groom – Self Titled

If you’re a cynic, this is not the album for you. I’m not a fan of love songs, myself – they tend to be too sad, too sappy, or both at once. This album hits a happy medium. It’s sweet, sometimes bittersweet, but never too much. I even liked the lyrics, which is where a lot of indie folk loses me.

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