Hungry for WordFest

With only a little over a week until WordFest 2012 begins, everybody is undoubtedly planning like mad, trying to figure out what events they’ll be attending over the six days.  With so many events, but only a limited amount of time, decisions must be made.  But really, this is one of the most fun parts of attending WordFest.

I like to start by looking at the schedule and seeing what events I consider ‘can’t miss.’  I’m starting with the Banff Distinguished Author Series with Martin Amis.  The Banff event is one of the premier events of the week, and Martin Amis is an author I’ve not only read previously, but also an author whose featured book I’ve read, Lionel Asbo: State of England.  And, last year I was lucky enough to watch Guy Vanderhaeghe at the same event from the comfy confines of the green room, where wine and cheese were served; a very nice treat indeed.

Back in Calgary during the week, there is a nightly showcase on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The benefits of the showcases are two fold.  First off, they feature a variety of authors talking about their work.  This year will include Linda Spalding, Mohammed Hanif, Jian Ghomeshi, David Bergen, and Susan Swan.  Secondly, they’re held at the Vertigo Theatre Centre, which is a nice location and close to other WordFest venues like The Art Gallery of Calgary, and the John Dutton Theatre.  It doesn’t bother me that it also happens to be where the volunteer lounge is, the site of last year’s sandwich massacre, by me.

Now before you go pointing a critical finger in my direction, I am not deciding to attend events based on the opportunity for food and drink.  The fact that these events happened to provide that is merely coincidental.  Quite frankly, I don’t care for the accusation, and assure you I am not some cartoonish oaf, so easily influenced by the promise of free nourishment.  But it is a nice perk.

The next event I’ll be sure not to miss is “Cures for Hunger” with Deni Béchard, Wednesday, at lunchtime.  Naturally this is an event I’d like to attend…having just finished his book this past week.  It’s also being held at The Art Gallery of Calgary, which I find to be a great, intimate venue for WordFest events.  And it doesn’t have anything to do with food.  That’s right; the event with ‘hunger’ in the title, being held at lunchtime does not involve food.

There’s also an interesting event taking place Tuesday, October 9th, at The Auburn, “This Really Happened.”  It’s billed as an open-ended and open-minded live storytelling event, where artists present their best, without notes or cues.  Live and unscripted make for a great combination as anything can happen, which always provides a performance with a little more of an edge to it.  Of course this is also the night of WordFEAST, which although I’m not scheduled to attend, I was asked to fill in at the eleventh hour last year, like a seat filler at the Oscars.  If the opportunity arises again, I’ll need to be ready.  WordFEAST is a great event featuring a live auction, local authors and as luck would have it, food.

Now this doesn’t complete my schedule by any means, it’s just the start.  Next is phase two of my scheduling, deciding on the events that don’t conflict with those mentioned above.  My festival guide is already in tatters from being flipped through so much.

This Really HappenedOctober 9th, 8:00-9:30pm – The Auburn – $8
Wednesday Night ShowcaseOctober 10th, 7-9:00pm – Vertigo Theatre Centre – $20/$10
Thursday Night ShowcaseOctober 11th, 7-8:30pm – Vertigo Theatre Centre – $20/$10
Friday Night ShowcaseOctober 12th, 7-9:00pm – Vertigo Theatre Centre – $20/$10
Banff Distinguished Author Series Presents Martin Amis
October 13th, 7-8:30pm – Margaret Greenham Theatre (Banff) – $20/$10

– Bryan


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