Stephen Harper Roundup

Stephen Harper makes a lot of guest appearances on this website, despite it being a fairly apolitical site in other respects. As we head towards another Great Canadian Election, here’s your Stephen Harper site roundup:

Get out and vote!

I’ve turned off the comments on this site.

People don’t seem to comment that much anymore — even when I get over 3,000 readers on an article, I often don’t get a single comment. Everyone wants to connect on social media now.

At the same time, spam is worse than ever. I get over 5,000 spam comments each week. Much of that is caught with various plugins, but more and more is slipping through. I have to deal with probably 20-30 spam comments personally each week. It just seems like a lot of work to maintain something nobody seems to care about.

I will tag all the posts now with an invitation to connect on social media — please do! Like this:

Do you miss the comments? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook, or send me an e-mail — and if you haven’t already, join my mailing list and keep in touch.

Thrilled to be the featured reader at Speaking Crow this month! After I read, there will be an open mic, so feel free to bring along up to three minutes of your own poetry. Admission is free.

Date: July 8, 2014
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Event: Free Poetry Reading at Speaking Crow
Sponsor: Speaking Crow
Venue: Millennium Library
Location: 251 Donald Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3P5
Public: Public

My recents spate of readings will conclude with an appearance at the Pop Montreal festival, where I’m excited to read alongside Jon Paul FiorentinoSandra Alland; and Eileen Myles! The evening is hosted by Sarah Burgoyne, Matrix magazine, and the Summer Literary Seminars (SLS).

I was the LitPop Poetry Award winner in 2008, which earned me a free pass to this festival (amongst other things), and it remains a career highlight. I saw Nick Cave! It was killer. You should definitely check this festival out.

Date: March 30, 2014
Time: 8:00-11:00 p.m.
Event: Montreal reading with Sandra Alland, Eileen Myles, and Jon Paul Fiorentino
Sponsor: Pop Montreal Festival, Matrix magazine, Summer Literary Seminars
Location: Montreal, QC
Public: Public

Thrilled about another reading that will happen soon, alongside Elizabeth Bachinsky! Bachinsky is the author of four collections of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, Curio, Home of Sudden Service and God of Missed Connections. Her work was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2006, the Kobzar Literary Award in 2009, the Pat Lowther Award in 2010 and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004. She is Poetry Editor for Event magazine.

Date: March 25, 2014
Time: 08:30-10:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg reading with Elizabeth Bachinsky
Sponsor: Manitoba Writers' Guild
Venue: Winnipeg Free Press Café
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Public: Public

A book launch where you can see FREE films that are otherwise UNAVAILABLE and talk to the DIRECTOR! What’s missing? The book, I guess. Well, I’ll take care of that. You just worry about watching some of the funniest and most brilliant films ever made in Canada … for free! That you may never have a chance to see again!

(I promise that I will not read any poetry! That’s the “Jonathan Ball difference” (TM) that makes my live events so popular with readers!)

Come join me, myself, and filmmaker John Paizs for the launch of John Paizs’s “Crime Wave” at the Winnipeg Cinematheque!

Thanks to the support of the Winnipeg Film Group and the University of Toronto Press, this launch features FREE ADMISSION to otherwise unavailable films! You may never have another chance to see Crime Wave, a masterpiece of Canadian cinema, and a comedic cult classic. PLUS two other hard-to-find short films that are masterpieces in their own right.

Featuring an introduction and Q&A with writer Jonathan Ball and director John Paizs. Copies of the book will be available for sale. 

About the Book and the Films

Writer and filmmaker Dr. Jonathan Ball offers the first book-length study of this legendary Canadian film and Paizs’s other important films from the 1980s. Exploring Paizs’s postmodern aesthetic and his use of pastiche as a cinematic technique, Ball establishes Crime Wave as an overlooked but important cult classic. In this book launch and screening, Jonathan Ball will present three of Paizs’s best films with a reception to honor this new book.

The Obsession of Billy Botski, dir. John Paizs, 1980, Canada, 25 min
This film introduces John Paizs’s important “quiet man” figure, who reappears in Paizs’s subsequent short films as Nick and in Crime Wave as Stephen Penny (all “quiet men” played by Paizs himself). Billy Botski’s fantasy of possessing Connie, an imaginary, elusive, feminine ideal assembled from gender stereotypes, comes to life and dies in the same fateful night.

Springtime in Greenland
, dir. John Paizs, 1981, Canada, 24 min
The first installment in Paizs’s The Three Worlds of Nick trilogy, is sometimes called Canada’s first postmodern film. A backyard barbecue provides the setting for a diving competition between Nick and Corny Blower: a comedy of male rivalry, intertwined with a documentary about the suburban paradise of Greenland and a commercial about the House of Tomorrow.


John Paizs’s Crime Wave is a seminal film in Winnipeg independent film-making in the 1980’s – a work of incredible imagination and inventive ideas. Upon its release in the mid 1980’s the film played to terrific acclaim at film festivals across North America. Crammed with B-movie gags and pop cultural references the movie follows the story of Steven Penny, a crime writer who wants to create the perfect color crime movie but can’t because he is only good at writing beginnings and endings, not the stuff in-between.

Date: February 28, 2014
Time: 7:00-11:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg book launch at Cinematheque
Sponsor: University of Toronto Press, Winnipeg Film Group
Venue: Winnipeg Cinematheque
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Thrilled to be reading with Paul Zits and Lori Cayer!

Date: February 13, 2014
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Event: Winnipeg reading with Paul Zits and Lori Cayer
Venue: McNally-Robinson
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Join me alongside poets Lorna Crozier, Sue Goyette, Patrick Lane and JonArno Lawson.

Date: September 28, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 p.m.
Event: Poetry Bash! @ The Winnipeg International Writers Festival
Venue: Shaw Performing Arts Centre (MTYP), The Forks
Location: Winnipeg, MB

Join me as I advocate for Struan Sinclair’s Automatic World.

Date: September 21, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 p.m.
Event: Manitoba Reads! @ The Winnipeg International Writers Festival
Venue: Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM)
Location: Winnipeg, MB